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My 3 y/o with ASD has turned into a super runner lately.These are the biggest issues.

He jumps all of our baby gates and runs up the stairs, then waits for me to run after him and starts jumping down the stairs at me.

He runs away, specifically from me, in public places and avoids me catching him while laughing the whole time.

He thinks this is all hilarious and doesn't understand any sense of danger. Yesterday he was running into people and they were spilling food/drinks, but he just kept going while laughing and making sure that I wasn't fast enough to catch him. He eventually got out of sight and I had to hunt for him in a fire station.

I have him wear a harness at grocery stores, but what do you do in other situations like a kids' birthday party and is there any way I can get him to stop going up the stairs and jumping down them?

by on Apr. 14, 2014 at 6:57 AM
Replies (21-30):
by Melanie on Apr. 15, 2014 at 12:07 PM

If you have a YMCA close you may look into that. We have had good luck with our local y and they have a karate class that my son loves. His behavior on karate night is pretty much guaranteed since he doesn't want to miss.

Quoting bigmessylife:

Unfortunately I'm limited in that department. In the very rare event that my husband is able to go somewhere in public with us he has his hands full with his service dog.

We have to leave the gates up for our other children, but I do long for the day when we can take them down. I'm looking into sports options for him because the only open gym time for kids is during his school/therapy hours :(

Quoting emarin77:

I always made sure I was with my husband when in public with our son.  I used his harness waiting for the bus at school and after.  I would take away the baby gates since they are not working and is a safety issue.  Is there any way you can find a gym for him to go to to get his energy out?  This can tire him out when he is at home.

When my son got older at 4.5 he learned on his own that he can run to his bedroom when angry and that is when he stopped being a runner outside of the house.

by Melanie on Apr. 15, 2014 at 12:09 PM
Quoting tiffyhamm:

Aidan would run into oncoming traffic as well, if we weren't holding onto him.  He also has headphones that he loves and pretty much wears everywhere, but he'll still cover his ears when there are too many people and noises, I think he does it out of habit and it somehow calms him.  I have noticed that lately Aidan has been wanting to take this stuffed dog to places with him, and it actually seems to help him out.  So I think I'm going to have to bring that stuffed dog along. 

Quoting rhiannonaisling:

Not usually. He would run into oncoming traffic. I finally explained to the dr. that they could either approve the wheelchair or I would sue for malpractice when he got hit by a car.  However, he does do better with the wheelchair. Use noise canceling headphones as well because it sounds like noise may be a big problem. Also having a stuffed animal helps my son. We are getting him a weighted one soon. The wheelchair we have is a convaid cruiser with harness and foot straps (this is to prevent his kicking...)

Check amazon for weighted stuffed animals. They have some that go around the neck and some that sit on the lap and are supposed to be very very good for keeping kids calm. My do. Is getting one soon...a dolphin one for his neck and a turtle or dog for his lap.
by Darby on Apr. 15, 2014 at 7:42 PM

Hugs mama...these ladies have some good advice.  You can also ask his doctor if you can get the form to obtain a handicap placard so you can park closer and it will be easier to manage him in public parking lots.  

by Bronze Member on Apr. 15, 2014 at 10:14 PM

We  put Jayden in behavior therapy and in less than 6 months she got him to stop

by on Apr. 16, 2014 at 11:16 AM

Thank you for the ideas, after talking to some local mommies I think we might just avoid parties for a bit until we get this more under control (if we ever get this more under control). I'm definitely getting a gps tracker of some sort after looking into them and we're going to use the harness more religiously while we still can.

We will also be hitting up the local PD and speaking with them soon. We only have 3 police officers for my village so it shouldn't be too hard for them to get to know my guy and make some notes.

Quoting loreenjh:

I have a seven year old runner.    When he was three we used a harness that looked like a backpack, so he just wore the backpack every time we went out anywhere and I put the handle when needed. 

There are really no easy answers.  You just have to constantly keep him by you, which is exhausting.  I used his harness basically all the time. If it was a chaotic environment I usually brought a device to entertain him or distract him and we cut our visits short.

Now that mine is seven, he can get oustide if he really wants to no matter how hard we make it, so we have to slow him down at least to give us more of a chance to get him.  FIrst we have signs on every door with a stop sign that says he has to hold a hand (he reads well).  Then, we use several locks on each door.  We also stress to everyone that he does not understand danger and that if they see him alone that they should take his hand as fast as they can because it can be a matter of life and death for him.  He also has an ID bracelet with his name and a note that he is non-verbal and our number.  Lastly, we have this device that we use, especially in the summer.  ( You can set it to beep when he gets too far from the home unit and you can ask it to find the tag on your child and it will tell you which way to go (if he/she is relatively close).  It gives you some false alarms if he goes to a certain area where the signal doe not reach, but I'd rather have false alarms than have him get out (which happened a couple of time before we had this).

I remember that in my son's preschool the SLP told us that she had good luck with social stories and videos for runners (a video showing what the child was and was not supposed to do that they made just for that child).

One more thing - I took him to the police station and they have him in a book of kids that are at risk for running with special needs.  I hope that something here is helpful for you! 

by on Apr. 16, 2014 at 2:04 PM
Mine only runs away when mad or if I disappear from his sight.
Sometimes he wanders when he gets interested in something at the store he will just walk off, not run easier to follow.
He ALWAYS holds hands.
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by Member on Apr. 16, 2014 at 2:20 PM
1 mom liked this

The jumping downt he stairs thing may be him needing to get energy out and he may want to play with you at the same time. I went through that with my son and I taught him that he could scoot down the stairs instead. I did it with him a few times to show him how "FUN" it could be and he is allowed to jump off the last step only. We usually do the stairs together because I can watch him and be his safety net. If there are stairs in another persons home I warn him first and tell him he only gets to do that with mommy at mommys house. He listens really well after that and it lets him move around, get that gross motor thing going that he needs. Its like our own built in therapy equipment. Boundries. Show him you have boundries when you go down and up and he will learn too. It takes more than one time to say it and with autistic children they need visuals too. As for the running away I had taught my son at a very young age to always hold my hand. I got rid of the stroller as soon as he could walk. I practiced around the house and in our neighborhood with him learning to hold my hand, and then once he got it (because he does not like his hands being touched it was a bit of a process) we ventured out to opened places such as stores and parties. He is very good at staying by my side BUT since he has turned 3 he has started to RUN as well. The moment he does I get him and I hold him till he is ready to try again. He will do this randomly so I warn him before going in or to places "if you run from mommy you will hold my hand instead of play by yourself" and I keep my word. The first time he runs he has to hold my hand. Sometimes we have to go outside till he calms his body but he learns and then I can let go when he is calm and he listens the rest of the time we are there. It is not easy. I have been doing this since he was little so he is use to it and knows my punishments are concrete. If a harness is what you will need to keep him safe till you can teach him to cross a road or hold your hand or stay by your side, then maybe its the best thing. Better safe then sorry. My son does not understand danger either. Its very scary but I have spent more time teaching him things like that instead of shapes colors and letters, he will learn that in school. I would rather him know how to be careful and understand dangers and rules first. Just so I know when he is NOT with me, he is safer than if I never taught him at all.Patients. It sucks but its worth it. GOOD LUCK!! I know how scary it is to watch them bolt off!

by Bronze Member on Apr. 16, 2014 at 10:24 PM

 Have you tried ABA Therapy ? My daughter is also a runner, but she usually does all the jumping and running when she is sensory  seeking. She uses a weighted vest. This helps her to calm down and stay under control . Have you tried a weighted vest too.?

Yamilajigsaw ribbonamerican flag ribbon

by on Apr. 16, 2014 at 10:30 PM
Kaaden has a great idea.

Quoting tiffyhamm:

I'm going to follow this thread to see if there are any suggestions that I can use with my son.  He is a runner big time, only thing is, he is a strong, tall, seven year old.  Harnesses will not work for him and he is FAST!  He giggles when he runs away, he thinks that it is a game and doesn't understand the dangers of just running off.  It's up and down, back and forth with him.  He is sometimes difficult to handle at family member's homes and parties.  I really do not know what to do in regards to his running.  Usually when he has those days where he just runs and runs, we put him outside and we run him til he wears out and that helps, but that just isn't possible for us to do all the time and for every situation.  So like I said earlier, I'm going to follow this thread for some answers.  Good luck to you, hopefully some of these wonderful ladies can help you out. 

by Bronze Member on Apr. 16, 2014 at 10:58 PM

here in the u.s service animals are not covered by our goverment.

Quoting Kaaden:

Hi there,

something I have seen in NZ is a autism dog.  The child is harnessed to the dog- usually something like a lab as they are heavy and lazy.  They are trained not to let the child run.  In NZ the cost is covered by the govt.  good luck

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