At my wits end !!!!

Hi all please please please help I need advice .I have a 4 nearly 5 year old son who was diagnosed in the summer with autism,which was no real surprise.

His behaviour is totally out of control literally from the moment he gets up until he goes to bed he' disruptive and distructive...atm his fascination is with my dog and cat he chases them hurts them and provoke my dog until he gets a growling reaction and he just loves it and he just won' stop its' almost like he' enjoying it !!! Once I have taken the anmals out of the equation he will do other stuff he shouldnt I've tried distraction methods which works for a few minutes it' just awful ....I wonder if anyone has any Advice he hates being told no this often makes him worse and triggers a melt down any Advice greatly appreciated

  • Welcome

    I'm so sorry you're having such a day - such a parenting experience & wish there were magic answers. Just as a start, if he's that aggressive & destructive you have to try to imagine the amount of stress & frustration he must be experiencing for it to boil over so. This age, whether the child is NT (neurotypical) or AS (Autism Spectrum) is in my experience, really hard. Is he your only child?  I ask because I have 2, one w/ASD, the other w/complex special needs & a spouse w/ASD. Sometimes, to this day, having my spouse (62 yrs) & daughter (19 yrs) in the same house playing off one another is enough to send me screaming out the door. Single or in multiples, it's never easy for parents or the individuals themselves.

    I learned a lot trying to put myself in my child's position. I was also a special needs teacher for a long time & it was always something that helped w/my students too. As hard as it is when one feels under attack, it's really helpful to hit every situation thinking about the child. If I can find a way to act calm & neutral, even if I feel bat poop crazy, the situation is always better. Have you had any explanation of your son's diagnosis or support in teaching him things like communication skills, making schedules & routines, picture boards, social stories, sleep routines? There are ways to help him cope better & save your sanity (& home). If he can't communicate well, has a ton of new feelings (& he's 5 so he's going to right now), has no clue what a feeling is, how to label it or express it & is high energy to start with, explosive is what to expect. Routines are a good start - set up a schedule & put it where he can look at it. For example - at 8 we wake up, 8 :15 brush teeth, 1st it's sometimes easier to go hour by hour so the child knows what will happen virtually every minute. Later when mini-routines are the norm, he can have a day long schedule that's simpler. You can find simple line drawings on the internet to illustrate the schedule & for more things later. Try looking up Briggs-meyer or PECS. I know it sounds tough - but really - an hour maybe of your time making such a schedule can pay off enormously for you both. It'll keep you busy every minute too, but you can schedule in him doing a directed activity alone to give you a breather.

    Too, as you go along with him, he's going to have meltdowns & you absolutely do not have to react every time. Keep him from hurting himself, others or property - gently holding him if he'll allow it, or staying w/him in a safe corner - but you don't have to get involved. He's been triggered by something - try to note what did it to avoid later - then simply be there while the meltdown works it's way through him. By the time he's this affected, it's unlikely he can even hear you or make sense of what you're doing or saying if he can. He has AS, you don't. Stay with him, protect him, stay calm & when the meltdown is over, carry on with the next thing on the schedule. Too, hearing "no" is a frequent trigger in my experience. I try to avoid it completely by phrasing it like, "yes we can go outside, at 2:00 but not now." If I have to say no - there's no way I'm letting him throw that cat - I try saying exactly what I do want instead of "no"; "that cat goes on the couch & you come to the table" - said as calmly as possible while you remove the cat. He's not being bad - he's not coping or doesn't know the right thing to do. You're going to give him the tools he needs to cope & by doing so, making your life a lot more pleasant too.

    And if you haven't nodded off already reading suggestions you may already have in hand (sorry), the most important thing is to have regular respite. If there is any funding you can get - any help - go for respite 1st. You need it to think, breathe & plan for your son & yourself. NEED it. Respite isn't an option that comes last. It comes b4 everything else. This is a long journey that puts incredible pressure on both parents & child (you've probably noticed). :-) Even rock wears away under the constant drip of water. Humans aren't rocks & the constant pressure will wear down the strongest, most determined among us - you need breaks from your son - he needs breaks from you too.

    Best of luck & I hope something here helps. Come back & vent or ask questions or simply find others who know what you're up against in these forums. Hope you have a more peaceful day tomorrow.