my son is 5, has autism, and attends a mainstream school. One of his difficulties is that I find he cannot wait for anything. If he asks for something, and I tell him ‘in five minutes’ he will often cry and shout it takes too long. I have tried linking with our routine ‘eg after your toast’ or ‘after we have lunch’ but he will still get upset I darent mention his birthday as he will cry on occasion saying it’s too long away!! He needs to has what he wants immediately... even when making cupcakes he gets upset about the 12 minute baking time. Why is it he struggles with ‘time’ and how can I help him not get upset... he doesn’t seem to learn that in life, we have to wait for things, especially good things!! I just want to understand how he sees things
My daughter is very precise with time if you say in a minute she expects to wait a minute no longer, she will get very angry when people don't stick to timing, like at the Dr's her appointment was at 9.20 the booking system said that they were running 26 mins late so she expected to be seen at 9.46, when she was called at 9 57 she shouted at the Dr and gave her a lecture! Dr explained that she had been helping another patient but my daughter did not understand and still had a go at her. Funnily enough Dr consented to sending her referral letter after that!
We have to be careful with wording we use "in a while" or a time frame to give a bit of flexibility.
One of the biggest causes of stress and meltdowns is the inability to deal with unpredictability and chaos. As children get older, their world gets bigger and the exposure to chaos makes it difficult to understand the world. The more things you can fix and make predictable, the less stress. Most people are incredibly random (from an autistic view) and their life seems to be an ongoing calamity of errors that magically seem to gel together to get through their day. If you can build a nice, simple, predictable schedule for home life, it will make everyone's lives easier. Things like meal times, bed times, including space for the need for decompressing and processing the day's activities, clothes storage, bath times etc. - and stick to it.
Knowing life at home is guaranteed safe and stress free will make an auties life calmer. As a parent, you need to be precise, straight and honest. "because I say so" is random and without any possible way to understand the decision. All rules need to be able to be logically measured as sensible and fair - and they will be accepted. Personal frustration needs to be controlled to build trust in the system.
The decompressing part may be them sitting in their room alone or playing video games (converting out of control events into controllable events) until the day's randomness and frustration fades to a manageable level.
I do completely agree with you, I merely use "in a while" or the time frames for when I can't give a precise answer and I do explain why I can't be more precise! This stopped the meltdowns about time at home we still get them when others haven't stuck to it or if school change the timetable as she won't show the frustration at school but let's it out at home!
She has a safe space to decompress with sensory toys, stress balls and putty as well as fabric items she likes
"In a while" can be converted to express your own grown-up thinking - like in the doctor's - the appointment time is a best case scenario - and explain to her all the possible ways that it could be extended - like an emergency patient or people talking too much and using too much time in their appointment - all so your daughter can ascribe valid reasons for the delay - and understand it's not normally the doctor's fault - it a combination of circumstances.
Giving every possible reason means that the logic makes sense and can be processed to a satisfactory conclusion - which equals no stress - it's a completed action - boxed ticked and moving on.
Yeah that's the logic we use, in a while is just used as an opener then comes the description of what could be impacting the wait, it seems to work for her, otherwise she wants an exact breakdown of how many minutes for each thing.
Indeterminate things fry my brain - like waiting for something that has so many dependencies. I take a whole load of things to do with me so I don't just waste the time getting more and more annoyed.
I have a regular hospital appointment that, because of my AS, I always get there really early (the journey time can be variable because of traffic and I cannot possibly be late) but the parking charge at the hospital is extortionate so I really don't want to be there longer than necessary.
The consultants are always running late - no reasons given.
It's a block appointment so although I have a set time, I know at least 10 other people have the same appointment time.
Worst case scenario means I will leave the hospital just in time to get properly stuck in heavy rush-hour traffic for the journey home.
It's REALLY hard to sit there and wait without blowing up.