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HELP from mommas with special needs kids, PLEASE. At my breaking point.

It's been a long time since I've been on here. But I know that there are a lot of mommas here with kids who have special needs and might be able to help me out. My oldest DS will be 5 in June. His behavior has gotten to the point that this evening, I broke down and cried because I just didn't know what to do. He won't listen to a word anyone says... he obsesses about the time something will happen, how many days until, he'll fight sleep until he just passes out if we screw his bedtime routine up. He's so, so smart that it's hard to challenge him academically, but he won't really interact with kids his age. He'll play games with younger kids and get frustrated when they don't follow the rules. Recently, he has pushed a boy down the stairs, thrown rocks at his teacher, and actually BITTEN another kid. What almost five year old bites another kid? He has melt downs that you can't snap him out of. 

As for discipline, we've tried so many methods... yes, long enough and consistent enough that if it were to work, it would have shown some improvement. Totally ignoring any and all "attention seeking/"bad" behavior and enthusiastically rewarding good, removing toys and priveledges and having him earn them back, even spanking (which had absolutely NO effect on him), time outs... time outs that were timed kept him occupied because he would count ticking. Time out otherwise didn't work because short of actually restraining him, I couldn't make him STAY in time out.

I work a lot to support my family, but I want what time we have together to be quality, fun time. I have a younger son turning 2 and honestly, I feel like all my mommy time is spent being frustrated beyond belief. My husband is on IV therapy twice a day (a total of seven hours a day) and still working between doses. 

Has anyone else gone through this? What do I tell his pediatrician? What can I expect to happen? What questions should I ask?

by on May. 17, 2013 at 8:13 PM
Replies (41-48):
by Taco Bell Princess on May. 29, 2013 at 1:23 PM
1. Get him assessed by a behavioral psychologist. Google "autism spectrum disorder clinic" and find one nearby to take him. This is going to make your life worlds easier.

2. Contact your districts special education department and request an "IEP". You may not get one till a month or so before school but its essential. Having a diagnosis in hand helps tons, but isn't required.

3. As for his behavior. Really sit and observe him. Take notes of what he's doing. Learn what triggers meltdowns and you can develop a plan to ease them. If he is sensitive to a bedtime routine, work to weed out the parts that require you so he can complete the whole routine independently. But one VERY critical skill (one my ds is working on now) is being able to deal with disappointment. Sometimes he can't have his routine, he needs to learn that. It will take time. With ds we just had to let him scream it out and not react to him. Talk him through it. Distract him. It can be done but you need to not react.

4. Praise him for the tiniest improvement. Just melting down in a lesser manner is a HUGE thing.

5. It's not easy. I'm 2 years into the wacky world of autism and I'm not 100% adjusted. I had expectations of ds that have now had to adjust or discard. I see kids playing little league and I get a little sad because I wanted that for him. He can, but he has to have an aide. He actually expressed interest in it a few weeks ago so I'm going to get grandpa out to help teach him. Maybe next year. Its that kind of thing. Special education isn't a bad word. It's just a different flavor.
by on May. 29, 2013 at 1:34 PM

See a developmental pediatrician and/or a psychiatrist. However, biting is fairly normal for boys at that age...especially if they have a younger sibling that is still in/just entering the biting stage and so is pushing (at that age they don't consider things like stairs) and rock throwing. Log everything!!! before seeing his ped so that you can go in there and say this is not normal and I need him tested. If the doctor says it is normal tell him that he needs to be tested anyways because right now he poses a danger to himself and others. But this sounds like it could possibly be a case of high functioning autism so you definitely want to mention the meltdowns to the dr and figure out the trigger(s) that set him off.

by Joy on May. 29, 2013 at 1:45 PM

 take him to his ped. get referrals for evaluations if you havent already , ;;;; have you tried Melatonin for sleep , or other meds for behavior issues,,,, has youyr school district evaled him -if not get that going - a kid does not have to be in school yet to be evaled by your school district

by mom of 2 boys on May. 29, 2013 at 6:09 PM

 hugs i been there with my all most 11 year old son he has adhd and odd and he had it since the age of 5 and a mental health doctor is the one that said he had it   and he goes to mental health  once a month    and i had my 5 year he was just born at the time

by on May. 29, 2013 at 6:13 PM
I know how it is my daughter has autism. Her sleep schedule is strict she cnt take a nap during the day and I hve to give her melatonin for her to sleep at night. It tough but a routin everyday is very important for any kid
by mom of 2 boys on May. 29, 2013 at 6:24 PM

 that  is a great idea  my son has some faces with sad and all the other faces on a stick  they are printed on paper and glued on the sticks

Quoting NDADanceMom:

Go through magazines and cut out emotions. A woman crying, a man laughing, a child that is angry. Talk about what zone they are in. Talk about how the face makes them feel. Unless your child has a particular disorder associated with autism he can be taught how to read people and send off the message he intends to send.
"This man looks angry. What do you think he wants to do? How does that make you feel? What zone is it? What are things he can do to get to yellow zone?"
Read up on emotional intelligence. It's something many kids and adults struggle with.

Quoting lyranightshade:


He has trouble identifying emotions... and some trouble identifying what facial expressions mean. He's gotten "smile means happy" and "frown means sad" but that took practice. Emotionally, he's not with others in his age group, that I DO know. 

We HAVE had 'acceptable' and 'unacceptable' behaior talks. Like, it's okay to be mad or disappointed that we couldn't go to the movie, but it is NOT okay to throw chairs or break your lamp or bite your arm. And we've had those conversations when there isn't an active emotional blow up impending and when he's calmed down after a melt down, we have a talk about why it happened and what the result of the melt down was. (Did throwing things get your toy back? Did punching someone mean that your building was put back together?) 

I'll look into weighted blankets, but he doesn't like to be restricted and even keeping him in clothes indoors is difficult. lol I'm willing to try ANYTHING at this point. Thank you so much for the advice!

Quoting NDADanceMom:

I teach special Ed and there are a few things you can try.

One thing we do is talk about expected and unexpected behavior. Make up a scenario like, we planned to go to the water park Saturday but there is a storm. What is expected behavior? Crying, pouting and begging are expected. What is unexpected? Breaking things, hitting, etc. talk your child through the feelings while emotions are low.

We also keep a paper stop light. Green zone feelings are happy, calm, relaxed. Yellow is sad, excited, bored. Red is angry, anxious, etc. talk about how we can move red to yellow, yellow to green. Talk about why sleepy or excited can be feelings we should be aware of. Help him to verbalize and be aware of what zone he is in.

Lastly look on line for weighted blankets. They are amazingly effective at calming kids down.




by mom of 2 boys on May. 29, 2013 at 6:25 PM                 

by mom of 2 boys on May. 29, 2013 at 6:35 PM
this is what i did with my son as well took his ds away and other things away from but now alll i have to say it yr ds is going to get taken away he will be good and i told my son if he start begin good and not saying bad words or calling names or any thing like that i would take him to a movie or md or dq witch i just did them on friday took him to md n dq and saturday we both went to a movie to gether
Quoting Maladro:

Some of the descriptions sound kind of familiar. My son was a bitter, but at 2 and 3 years old, by five but it got him in a lot of trouble, being almost asked to not return to summer camp.... summer camp!!! All the teachers had always a hard time with him, but luckyly he also has this very very sweet side that helps him a lot.

I would receive complains almost every day from school and yes there had been some times when I just sit and cry my eyes out.

He was just recently diagnosed with ADHD

Now, to tell you the truth, bad, bad antrums and things like hitting teachers, did not happen too often because he was immediately removed from the situations. I did the 1,2,3 method, which is you count to 3 but when you get to 3 you HAVE to do whatever you threatened to do, and at the begining it was uncomfortable and challenging to me, because in some cases it included actualy leaving a playdate just 5 minutes after we arrived (with my friends) or leaving the water park when we did not even made it to the door, leaving a party or stopping in the middle of the road to get him out of the car (with me by his side) until he compose himself.

Now that he is older, electronics like his Nintendo DS are removed for certain amount of times, we a currently going for a full month without any electronics... yes a full month, thats how ugly he was, being disrespectful.

At school, we are doing a daily report card, with rewards.. rewards tend to be way more effective with this kind of kids than punishment... punishment has its time and place but in general I have seen good progress with reward system... if you want a deeper information on how we do this, just message me.

I had to visit the pediatrician just to get the "recommendation" to see a pshycologist, since my husband and I were completely against medication I took my time in finding a doctor that would be open to other options and would not push for mediaction for our son. So we will start therapy soon, Its called Neurofeedback and I have read and heard wonderful things about it.

The negative behaviour, as you already stated comes mostly out of frustration, so we as parents need to be patient and understanding but at the same time firm and any kind of disorder is no excuse for disrespect or bad behavior.

It kills me the consequences that his disorder can have in his self image and his social life, so I am trying and will be trying very hard to help him.

Now your son may have something completely different, or even the same with other combinations ( this disorders come in groups!!!) there is one called Defiant Deficit!!!! and my son has shown a little bit of that, but was not diagnosed with it...

Having him diagnosed and for me to understand and accept it was emotionally draining and super sad, now I got over the first step and ready to try the solutions.

Good luck and if you want any links of information about ADHD and or the way we do the reward system just message me!

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