New to Autism - Probably only a Mom Post ***Poop Warning***

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teengirl171992
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16 May 2021, 12:34 am

Hi, my name is Kristina. I am a school teacher (currently unemployed, so I can take care of my children). I learned about autism while in college to become a teacher. I thought it was an interesting topic. My son, 3, is currently being evaluated for autism. I have thought he could be since before he turned 2. There's something about the way that he just looks at the rest of the world. He has many characteristics that have me convinced that he is autistic. The flapping arms I have to say are my favorite :heart: I love watching him get so excited that he can't help but try to soar. But with the positives, comes negatives. I've been talking to a specialist and his primary doctor, but would love some insight from others as well. A friend of mine recommended this site. This is my first time on here, so I hope I'm using it right! :mrgreen: I've decided I need to do a lot more research. There are 3 main issues that I need help with.
1. Poop - If I don't change him quickly enough, he will pull poop out of his pull-up and smear it on things. I won't go into details, but it's getting worse rather than better. How do I stop this. He doesn't seem to understand that it's gross or bad. Nothing I've done has helped. I was told to try onesies turned backwards so he can't get into the diaper. I'm going to try it, but at some point they won't have his size anymore.
2. Food - He eats yogurt and dino nuggets. Sometimes I can get him to eat different things but not often. How can I introduce different foods? Things he used to eat, he won't touch now. I found out he still likes spaghetti, just not the noodles. So I can get him to eat the meat and not noodles. Which is fine, the meat was the important part; but it took me months to figure that out.
3. Tantrums - I'm going to make a safe place corner for him. A comfortable chair with some soft toys and books. Anything else? He has tantrums daily. Discipline does not work for him. I have to redirect, but sometimes even that doesn't work. I want to create a place that will be safe for him that will help him learn how to calm down on his own.

If you have any other helpful advice, I would love to hear it. I'm honestly excited about him getting diagnosed. I love all of his little quirks, and I know that even though it may be a struggle, he's going to be a constant joy in my life. I just really want to help him learn how to cope in the outside world and, of course, keep that poop where it belongs.



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16 May 2021, 3:50 am

Welcome to Wrong Planet.


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16 May 2021, 1:59 pm

When you say tantrums, do you mean meltdowns? There is a difference between tantrums and meltdowns. Meltdowns aren't a way for an autistic child to get things they want, they are a reaction to being so intensely overwhelmed that it results in an autistic person essentially losing their emotional control, and they are not voluntary.

Have you tried to figure out what could be causing the meltdowns, if they are in fact not tantrums? Sensory issues, routine changes, stress from the day building up, etc.? Have you noticed any patterns, like they happen during/after certain activities, when he has to touch/eat certain things or is exposed to certain sounds or light sources, etc.?

You also say he will only eat yogurt and dino nuggets. Is it a very specific brand + type of those things, or will he eat other brands and other flavours/types? I am wondering if you can at least start to get him to eat other brands or types of those things, and if maybe that could allow you to somewhat desensitize him to more textures, smells, and flavours.


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16 May 2021, 2:08 pm

Unexpected decision changes can trigger meltdowns... I get shutdowns due to this. Also certain smells trigger shutdowns for me as well.
Meltdowns and shutdowns are very similar as they have the same cause, but while meltdowns are displayed outwardly, shutdowns are inwardly displayed and more hidden if that makes sense? I can hve a partial shutdown and no one knows, but a full shutdown and I am on the floor unable to move my body or see and with either no external hearing or limited external hearing that I can't always make sense of if I hear words.(Internally I hear loud tinitus).

It has taken until about a year ago before I finally worked out that I was getting shutdowns via help from an ex. member of this site. I started getting them at about the age of six, going on seven. Prior to that I had temper tantrums (What my parents described them as but only recently did I know anything about autism) which I believe were meltdowns.
The solution to a meltdown or a shutdown is to
1. Try to remove the person from whatever it was that triggered the event or remove the trigger from the person.
2. The person needs a quiet time and no fuss. A cool shady room out of hot sunshine where they can either be alone or with a trusted individual. The person who remains with them needs to stay quiet and if they must speak, never ask direct questions and speak calmly to re-assure.
(Trying to ask questions or make a fuss will delay or prevent recovery and also may cause the individual to have repeat shutdowns (I assume it is the same with meltdowns) which tend to be even deeper and worse then the first one, so do not try to ask questions that force the individual to think).
Basically it is brain overload, so reacting in a calm soothing way and removing the individual from whatever triggered it will help them recover.


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teengirl171992
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16 May 2021, 2:35 pm

HeroOfHyrule
I'm unsure of how to tag you in my response or if that is even a thing, so I hope you see this! :)
His I would say usually start out as a tantrum. He wants something, I won't give it to him. He throws himself down on the ground. He screams and cries. He will hit things or people and throw things. I make sure not to give in to him. However, I feel like they then turn into a meltdown a lot of times. He won't calm down on his own. If I ignore the behavior, he will continue. If I try to explain why he can't have it, he will continue. If I try to distract or redirect him, at first it does not work. I have to get his complete attention, and only then will he run off to do the other thing that I distract him with. It is usually brought on by not getting a snack. I've been limiting snacks, because he asks for too many during the day. An example, we had lunch earlier. Spaghettios. A little later, he asked for a popsicle. I let him have one because he had no snacks yet. He, then, snuck 2 more popsicles out of the freezer. I told him he would have to wait to eat a popsicle until later because he already had one and put them back in the freezer. He started screaming and crying. I walked to the living room. I tried to get him to sit with me. He continued to scream and cry. I covered my face and started a pick-a-boo/scare thing. Every time he pulled my hands off of my face, I made a playful scream. He would laugh, then cry for the popsicle again. After a few minutes, we started chasing each other and playing. He is now happily watching tv in his room. However, we will have some sort of incident repeat again before dinner, at least one but usually several more. They usually last a lot longer, but I am learning what to say and do and what not to so I've been able to get him to calm down faster.
Usually the snacks cause the meltdowns. He just wants to eat snacks all the time. Substituting for something healthy hardly ever works for him. However, we do think he has a sensory issue. Routine changes stress him out. He has to tell me we're going upstairs or downstairs every time. If I don't confirm that we are, he will scream and cry all the way up or down until I finally say it. So of course, I limit those complications by commenting as soon as he says it now. There's other things similar to that, but I'm sure you don't want a complete list of all of those. He gets overwhelmed easily when there is too much going on around him or if we are out and about too much. He doesn't seem to be bothered by light sources. He is getting tubes in his ears next week. I found out that part of his speech delay has been because he gets fluid build up when he's congested and can't hear correctly. Too much going on around him (noise included) can be a problem for him. I'm worried that once he gets to 100% hearing that it will get worse.
The dino nuggets are a specific brand. I will get some more products from the same brand the next time we go to the store. That is a really good idea. The yogurt isn't as specific. He has his favorites and some that he won't eat, but for the most part he just loves yogurt. I might try yogurt covered raisins or something, but I have tried them in the past and it didn't work.
Thank you for the advice!



teengirl171992
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16 May 2021, 2:50 pm

Mountain Goat: Thank you!
Caleb does not like change and if unexpected decision changes means he was told yes once so he has a meltdown when he's told no the next time and expected me to say yes again, then that is 100% him. Smells do not seem to bother him. In fact, I only recently noticed him smelling something. He wanted a drink of something I had, I told him to smell it first, showed him how, he actually did it, said yuck and walked away. I was so excited. It was the first time he's ever commented on the smell of something. Caleb has more meltdown/tantrums than shutdowns. However, he will get upset and go "pout" in a spot away from everyone else. I think it's adorable, but after noticing him do it more often I try not to pay it as much attention. He has done it in several situations but it usually has to do with the slide at the park. If someone slides down when he didn't want them to yet, he will sit at the top of the slide, arms crossed, refusing to look at people. In those moments, I have to get involved because other kids are standing there wanting to slide and I've had kids yell at him in the past (I'm quick to correct them too). Sometimes I can't get him to move, so I have his sister talk to him and she will ask him to slide with her. That usually fixes that problem.
Thank you for explaining steps that help you calm down. I try thing similar to that with him, but I will try harder to focus on not talking when he's having a meltdown. Because you are right, talking only makes him worse anyway. When he was younger, the tv always worked. We would come in from the store or going to a family members house or just playing outside and as soon as we got going up the stairs, he would just loose it. Nothing calmed him down but the tv and a little quiet time in front of it. Sometimes the tv still works, or even the tablet, but not always.
Would a corner in his room be good for his quiet place? Or should I try an area in a different part of the house? I want him to feel like it's his little area just for calming down. I feel like if it's in his room, he might not understand that he's in the calming area and will just run around the whole room continuing with his meltdown. But maybe I'm wrong? My daughter has always been able to calm down with me hugging her, but that doesn't work for him and I want to make sure I'm doing something that will benefit him the most. And now I know, definitely no mom talking to him in his quiet space.



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16 May 2021, 3:16 pm

I'm curious, does he ask always for more food right after eating (like he doesn't seem to feel full), or does he like to just have something to gnaw on? Some people with autism have interoception issues, so they have issues recognizing when they are full, or they like to just chew on things as a stim. Besides for the popsicles are there other specific snacks he likes, and is there a theme with the textures of them? Does he chew on other items?

I also think you are doing good by explaining things more to him and replying when he asks you questions about what's happening. Autistic people like to know what to expect from a situation, and often like to know in depth what is going to happen and what they are going to be doing. It takes a lot of the "unknown" out of things and can make them easier to handle.

Having a space dedicated for him to calm down in also sounds like a wonderful idea! I honestly don't know if it being in his room is a bad idea or not... Do you have any other areas of the house that you think could be good for that?


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teengirl171992
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16 May 2021, 3:53 pm

HeroOfHyrule
I actually just moved my art stand downstairs so I can make a spot in my room. I never get to paint because is crowded up here and at night he's usually in my bed and I'm not about to paint and risk waking him up. So downstairs will be better for me, and I think his safe spot will work well in my room. He likes being close to me most of the time. I'm his safe space when he's not refusing to let me touch him. So I thought it would work well. He has a play tent that I only put up every once in awhile because his room was so crowded (I recently gave away a bunch of toys in order to make his room less overwhelming). There was just too much. He wouldn't play with anything because he would just dump out all of the boxes and then just leave it. Now he can focus on a few things at once. Anyway, the tent is going to be put up in my room. I'm going to set up some tiny fairy lights I have in there (battery operated, so safe), a blanket, soft pillows, a few books. I'm not sure what else. I don't want it to be too overwhelming, but I want him to have something to keep his focus. I'm thinking about making one of those glitter bottles, we also have one of those pop it things (kind of like bubble wrap that can be popped over and over again).
It's not because he's not full. Although, I don't know if he ever gets full. He will eat food and then leaves it, but will ask for something else (a snack) shortly afterwards and refuse to finish what he had before (even if it was a different snack) I can offer dino nuggets when he wants a popsicle and he will not settle (until I ask him to help me put the nuggets on the pan to cook them). That is one of the redirecting acts I've learned works for him. But if it's not time for something that I can have him help me with, it's harder to redirect him. He will eat yogurt after yogurt after yogurt. I had to put a lock on the fridge so he can't get them without asking. I need to get one for the freezer, because now he sneaks the popsicles. He would get up at night and eat them on the stairs, and if we forget to lock the fridge he hides in his room with them now.
As for a theme, I'm unsure. Popsicles, yogurt, suckers...they're all smooth and can be swallowed with no chewing. He, also, enjoys certain chips and of course all things with sugar. He doesn't like fruit because of the texture. He loves french fries, but that has more to do with the ketchup. He loves ketchup, spaghetti sauce, and pizza. Unfortunately, he also has a tomato allergy (he has an allergy test later this week). His dad is allergic to 3 types of tomato skin and seeds but can have the sauce. Caleb's allergy seems to flare up sometimes and not others. It could, also, be because of his eczema. I'm hoping we can get answers for that after his appointment.
I did order him some "chewies" recommended by his doctor and a friend of mine. I don't know if he will use it, but I got him dinosaur ones so I'm hoping he will. He recently started chewing on his top and bottom lip, so I'm hoping the chewies will limit the lip chewing. If it helps with the snack problem too, that would be wonderful.



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16 May 2021, 4:10 pm

Hugging... I hated hugs. My grandmother (Dads Mum) would try to hug me and squeeze me and I would be in a sudden panic trying to get free. She would also insist on kissing me and I would do anything to avoid it. I found it soo claustrophobic and I would get sudden hot itchy skin when I panicked making things worse so I would have to suddenly need to take my jumper off, both to relieve the claustrophobic feeling and the itchy heat by body would go into.
I was often told off as my grandmother thought it was not nice unless I had a hug and a kiss.
My Mums Mum (My other grandmother) was easier for me because... Well. If I am on the spectrum my Mum and aunt (Mums sister) were and my grandmother (Their Mum) definately was, so she was vary kind and caring but at the same time she just knew how far to take effection just like my Mum and aunt did.
My other aunt who was married to my Dads brother was also a bit too huggy, but not as bad as my one Grandmother. She was a nice person. Just wanted to hug and squeeeeeze me and I didn't like it!

You mention TV... If I am in a full out shutdown the TV is too distracting to help me to recover, but in a partial shutdown, if it is an easy viewing program which does not keep changing scenes then I can relax and pull out of the shutdown while watching it as my focus is on the TV rather then the distractions around. What does not work is if the TV is a program which keeps changing scenes ad if it is too loud.
If I start to go deeper then a partial shutdown the TV noise can make things worse. I will not be wanting to watch it (In that I want to turn it off to have quiet) when I go deeper and start to fully shut down.
I want a trusted person like my Mum to be there because if I am on my own and someone who does not know about shutdowns walks into the room, I am in trouble as they will start asking me things so I have to force my brain to work and I get repeat shutdowns and I can be rude to them to make them go away which is very unlike me. (I have often asked them to repeat what they say but their words do not compute, so I will say "Yes" to their question to make them go away as saying "No" usually means further questions I can't understand. This has got me into trouble in the work enviroment where I am in a partial shutdown. Oddly I can remeber word for word foe many months but it still does not compute, until one day the word for word goes into my long term memory and I then realize what was said! By then it is way too late... But at the time or just after I can be in trouble in work when I would know nothing about why I am as I could not work it out).
In regards to a meltdown. I have had them on rare occasions as an adult. I did not even know they were called meltdowns or what was happening to me (As in... I did not know they had a name, and I did not know that my experiences related to autism). During these times all I can do is hold a pillow over my head and wait for it to be over as my head is going to explode (It doesn't). When I have had these it usually has ben after a long hard day with a dark calm night and the build up of the days stress keeps building up and up and I have nothing to focus my energy on and it comes out as a meltdown... It is rare but when it does happen it is "GRRRRR!" (What words to use?)
The strange thing is that after I feel I my head is really going to explode and I expect it to and I expect to die with it... And I think I can't take any more (And I am really praying to get it to stop), then it suddenly stops and I get such a sudden peace and calm and I am exhausted, that I immediately fall asleep and I find myself waking up the next morning refreshed.

If you want to know what a shutdown is like, see the botom link below this writing. It is very similar to what I get except my eyesight goes black like a curtain going down from the top down, and also by then I am on the floor unable to move my body (It goes limp).


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teengirl171992
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16 May 2021, 7:54 pm

Mountain Goat:
I do not force my kids to hug anyone. And that has nothing to do with autism and everything to do with respecting people's boundaries and personal space. I was forced to hug as a child, and I hated it. If my kids tell someone no and they persist, I tell them to stop. My daughter only does this to people she doesn't know well or doesn't like. My son does it to me sometimes and although it can hurt, I understand and I do not push him. Sometimes he will go several days where he is just attached to me every minute of the day and I want to go insane. Other days he pulls away if I touch him on the shoulder. I encourage physical touch on the days that he allows it though. He loves hugs and kisses. He just can't have people touching him all the time. And I get that. I suffer from anxiety, depression, and ptsd myself. I have days where I don't want to be touched. It's like a physical pain. I curl up in a ball and cringe every time someone touches me. I feel like I can't get up and everything is too loud and too quiet at the same time. It's only when my stress level is too high. His meltdowns happen even on a good day. He's just not in the mood for it, and that's fine. Sometimes tv can stress him out. I try not to leave it on as a background noise for him. If he is sitting and watching it, I will turn it on. But if he starts getting up and moving around, I know that it just adds to his senses and can overwhelm him. I've been trying to find out what music works for him. I know that hyped up music over stimulates him. He won't even let me sing to him when he's upset. I tried Mozart a few days ago. I'm not sure if it calmed him down or not, but it didn't make him any worse. And I did read the shutdown link you have. Parts of it anyway. Caleb doesn't have shutdowns as much as just meltdowns. He's really young though so I will be watching in case he starts having them as well. The shutdowns seems like more of what I do when I'm having one of my panic attacks. Although my panic attacks won't just suddenly go away. It usually takes weeks :? And I know it's not the same thing, but that's what I can compare it to myself. That has to be hard to deal with. And "GRRRR!" is probably the perfect word to describe a meltdown.



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17 May 2021, 3:51 am

Did you see the "Shutdown experience similar to mine"? (Sorry. I said "Link" meaning to press on it. You read the wrong one. It should be a short youtube film I was describing.


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Jon81
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21 May 2021, 7:23 am

We also have a son your age who will only eats chicken nuggets. I also love the arm flapping when they are excited :) :heart: We're trying to solve the issue and I can only pass on what we've been told will help and some experience I've gotten during the past years.

The idea is to offer a lot of choices and not force it upon him. You should try to involve him in family dinners where he sees other people eat and the food should be there for him to grab, not served by you on his plate. It will take forever to get anywhere and to begin with you should consider him playing with the food or just holding it - on his own initiative. That way the sensory issues might resolve a bit. I would guess they have extraordinary sensitivity in their mouth because they can pick out the slightest of difference in food. So pressure off and exposure on.

Meltdowns. Sure there are plenty of meltdowns for us as well. Usually in connection with not getting things his way. So we have been advised to treat him like any other kid in regards of having it his way. You just can't give in to every demand. My oldest son could easily treat himself with 5 ice creams in a row. Once the meltdown happens I usually just let them be or try to explain with pictures and words. I also try to hug and kiss but usually that's not very productive :lol: My father used to put me in my room and only act if I went totally out of line, kicking out the door or wall. Took ages for me to calm down.

I hope the poop behavior will fade away. They constantly seem to find some behavior that is hard to deal with in public situations. Our oldest also have some really inappropriate behaviors that I don't even want to mention on here. One of the lighter ones is peeing at any given spot. As we're in the process of getting him free from the diaper we're willing to accept this happening and help direct instead. Telling him off could lead to him associating it with shame and then you're in a much worse situation.

So once again, I'm far from any expert on this. I just pass on what we're usually told. Many times you will get to hear the same advice over and over again regardless of problem. Is he able to produce any kind of speech?


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teengirl171992
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22 May 2021, 7:17 pm

Jon81
Choices: I usually have a few choices for him at dinner. And here lately, I just make sure to have dino nuggets on hand so that if he doesn't eat anything we have a back up meal. I've learned that he will eat certain things like spaghetti sauce and meat but doesn't want noodles with it. There's been a couple things I've been able to get away with him eating part of the meal. He loves certain soups, but I don't know how to make them (I need to learn). Otherwise, he doesn't like anything mixed with anything else. Multiple textures in one bite won't do for him.
Playing: I love the idea of that. I try to play with his food with him (airplane, truck, etc.), but it doesn't work. He's either going to eat it or he's not. I will start playing with things like he does the dino nuggets...even if it'll make a mess, it's worth a shot.
Meltdowns: I don't give in to them. I tell him he can have it later or at another time. If he has a meltdown, then I let him just have it for a bit, and then I try to distract him with something else (like feeding the lizard). It'll keep him from asking for a little bit, then we do it all over again.
The Poop: The poop thing is so irritating. He knows poop is gross. We have a dog. If the dog poops in the floor, he instantly runs to me to let me know and wants me to clean it up. If I poop, he looks at it in the toilet and tells me "yuck". If he poops....he ignores it and doesn't want me to change him or if he's in a really good mood....plays in it. I'm not sure what connection he's missing there....but I want to find it and put it there.
Speech: He was non-verbal except for echoing me until January. He was in daycare while I was teaching. He refused to say a word all day at daycare, everyday. He would not talk. At home, he would only copy things that I said to him. And then finally around November, he started being able to tell me what the words from his flashcards were without me having to say it first. But only the flash cards and only when he can see it. He can now ask for things that he can't see (snacks, chocolate milk, park, and calling 3 people). Staying home with him was the best thing I could have done for him. His vocabulary has increased so much and even though he still doesn't strike up a conversation, I'm proud of how far he has come with being able to mention things no one was talking about.



Jon81
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23 May 2021, 2:48 pm

teengirl171992 wrote:
Jon81
Choices: I usually have a few choices for him at dinner. And here lately, I just make sure to have dino nuggets on hand so that if he doesn't eat anything we have a back up meal. I've learned that he will eat certain things like spaghetti sauce and meat but doesn't want noodles with it. There's been a couple things I've been able to get away with him eating part of the meal. He loves certain soups, but I don't know how to make them (I need to learn). Otherwise, he doesn't like anything mixed with anything else. Multiple textures in one bite won't do for him.
Playing: I love the idea of that. I try to play with his food with him (airplane, truck, etc.), but it doesn't work. He's either going to eat it or he's not. I will start playing with things like he does the dino nuggets...even if it'll make a mess, it's worth a shot.
Meltdowns: I don't give in to them. I tell him he can have it later or at another time. If he has a meltdown, then I let him just have it for a bit, and then I try to distract him with something else (like feeding the lizard). It'll keep him from asking for a little bit, then we do it all over again.
The Poop: The poop thing is so irritating. He knows poop is gross. We have a dog. If the dog poops in the floor, he instantly runs to me to let me know and wants me to clean it up. If I poop, he looks at it in the toilet and tells me "yuck". If he poops....he ignores it and doesn't want me to change him or if he's in a really good mood....plays in it. I'm not sure what connection he's missing there....but I want to find it and put it there.
Speech: He was non-verbal except for echoing me until January. He was in daycare while I was teaching. He refused to say a word all day at daycare, everyday. He would not talk. At home, he would only copy things that I said to him. And then finally around November, he started being able to tell me what the words from his flashcards were without me having to say it first. But only the flash cards and only when he can see it. He can now ask for things that he can't see (snacks, chocolate milk, park, and calling 3 people). Staying home with him was the best thing I could have done for him. His vocabulary has increased so much and even though he still doesn't strike up a conversation, I'm proud of how far he has come with being able to mention things no one was talking about.


Regarding the poop, there are positive things here to point out. Your kid is interacting with you by alerting you on the fact that there is dog poo on the floor. You share that experience. Joint attention. That's an important step in development that normally comes late, if at all, for autistic kids.

I cannot answer what to do with the tantrums but I'm impressed with your persistency. I almost always give in to an arguing kid. I'm not good with that at all, and my wife often complain that I am persuaded way too easily. One thing I forgot to mention, a meltdown can sometimes come from not being able to communicate their needs. That's why pictures are so important if they aren't able to speak.

Food is really tricky. We've been told these "Buffetts" or "taco dinners" (offering several plates of different stuff) will need to repeat for ages before the kid feel comfortable enough to dare trying. Playing with food can help them accept the different textures and all that. They seem to become pickier with age. My little one, the chicken nugget eater, will not accept a nugget if it falls out of its breading. He gets really upset.

And for the speech, congratulations so much. I wish I could hear my boys talk but I'm not keeping my hopes up any longer. You have come a really long way having him say words.


_________________
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teengirl171992
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23 May 2021, 4:46 pm

Jon81
I've talked to his doctor, he's still in the process of being diagnosed but we believe he is on the higher functioning end of autism (is it correct to say it that way?). He shows a lot of signs of autism but can still build a relationship and communicate. I was really worried that his vocabulary was going to be a lot more limited when he was in daycare. I seem him do things now, and I just jump for joy with every little milestone. I'm hoping that this means he won't struggle as much day to day when he gets older. I just want him to have a happy life. Which he seems to be so far. He's always happy. Unless he's mad....then he just goes straight from smiling at the world to screaming at the top of his lungs. His dad gets persuaded easily as well. And I'm bad about giving him suckers and popsicles when he asks just so I don't have to argue about it. I don't give into a meltdown, I just avoid it all together which is also bad. But when I say no, I stick to it. My daughter's not autistic, and she started trying to do the same thing to get her way; so I make sure I don't give in to either of them now. I just try to distract him with something else. She can thankfully understand that when I say no, not until after dinner, that I'm not being mean...I just want her to eat the healthier food first. He used to have the meltdowns because I didn't understand what he wanted. For example, he would just scream and cry every time he wanted something to drink for the longest time. He couldn't say cup or any word that has to do with it. He still won't say it. He will just ask for chocolate milk and juice. Which lets me know that he's thirsty and I can offer a different beverage as well now, but before it was so awful. He would just scream so much. That's why we started doing flash cards and I even made up my own for things like cup (still won't say that one) but he learned a few other words. He has started telling me when things relate to Halloween. Everything pumpkin, fall, or scary looking is labeled Halloween. Which is great that he can associate the two together now. My son is like that with food as well. Although, lately it has to do more with just him only eating the dino nuggets and certain foods. But if one breaks without him biting into it....I have to give him a new one. If I eat one of his chips or other snack....he has to be allowed to get a whole new bowl sometimes. The other day, his cake pop fell off the stick on to the floor (he's the kid that will lick the floor) so I just picked it back up. He usually has a meltdown when this happens and refuses to eat it. This time, I crammed it back onto the stick upside down so it would stick again. He went from screaming to instantly eating it again. He just had to have it on the stick is all. Same with when he wants his banana together (the only fruit he will eat).
I'm sorry that your sons are still not talking. How old are they?



KimD
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23 May 2021, 10:02 pm

Hi teengirl. I teach preschool special ed; I've been working with kids 2-5 years old for almost 30 years now, about half of it with kids on the spectrum and with similar conditions. I know that raising a neurodiverse child is not the same as teaching them in school, but I want to share what has worked for me and my teammates in the classroom.

As far as the meltdowns and/or tantrums regarding treats before meals go, you might try simply saying "first dinner, then popsicles" or something along those lines. Say it very matter-of-factly and repeat it once if you know that your son needs that repetition to process it, but then move on. You can give your son (and your daughter) a choice of other activities or leave them both in their tracks if they've really dug in their heels, but make it really clear that it's a fact, not a debate. Remember also that the distraction activities are offers or suggestions, not bargains. Make the tone of your voice match that. Your persistence can really pay off here, because it may take time. Any new rules that a child might see as limiting or unpleasant will almost always come with what psychiatrists call an "extinction burst"--we've all been on both sides of those, haven't we? :D Prepare yourself. :lol:

The concept here is not exactly if/then, but first/next. Some kids on the spectrum really appreciate that sort of order and can make sense of things a little better once they get the idea. Some of the kids I've known have become fixated on time, asking over and over "is it X time yet?" even if they're not really into "X," but they have been rare in my experience and didn't necessarily have any exposure to that sort of technique in the first place.