Hi - I have signed up here for some help as we are at our wits end.
Our son is 13 with ASD. Over the years we have had various problems with our neighbours relating to his behaviour - toys going over the fence, looking over the fence etc.
Over the past 12 months or so, they have started to swear at him, stick fingers up at him and so on, and when he reacts they just get more aggressive. The situation got so bad they we contacted the police, and they spoke to both our son and the neighbours, and this seemed to calm things down a little.
However, our son's latest thing is that if the hears them in the garden - for example, at their dustbins - he will watch them from our window. This has now become yet another problem - when they come out into the garden they are straight away scanning our windows to see if he is there watching, and if he is, they shout abuse at him.
So, the situation we now have is that they don't like him being in the garden because he looks over the fence, and they don't like him looking out of the windows. We have just ordered some new window locks so that we can stop him opening the windows.
But we are beginning to feel like prisoners in our own home.
Are we being unreasonable neighbours and not supervising our son enough, or are we being bullied?
You are being bullied.
Yes your neighbours do have a right to privacy in their garden but your son also has the right to enjoy his garden! Also assuming that the people swearing at your son are adults that is abuse of a minor.
Do you own your property? Do your neighbours own theirs? I only ask as if it is social housing contacting them may be a good move as they are obliged to enforce certain aspects of tenancy like not abusing your neighbours children.
I have put large fencing around my garden to stop our nosey neighbours.
Personally I would speak to them highlighting your concerns that swearing at a child looking out of the window is not acceptable ask politely for them to stop (sure you have done this already) and if it continues contact the police and point out that they are targeting him due to his disability (believe that this falls under hate crime)
Has your son told you why he watches them? Maybe there is someway of helping him understand that they don't like being watched?
You might want to mention to them that their behaviour is exacerbating the problem - the more random and unpredictable they are, the more interesting they are for your son. it's all a huge amount of ever-changing data for him to assimilate and process. Better than tv.
The more boring and predictable they are, the less interesting and less data is available for him - he'll lose interest. What other hobbies does he have that will be more stimulating than the neighbours?
You can re-direct his attention onto more productive things - are you able to put that much time and energy into changing his behaviour?
Thanks for the replies. I think he gets a certain amount of stimulation from their reactions, which as you say, simply exacerbates the problem.
He has got other interests, and when we can get him to focus on those he is ok. Unfortunately, he has a very short attention span, and unless he has someone directing his 'play' or at least supervising him, sooner or later he will stick his head out the window.
To be honest, all communication has broken down (hence the previous involvement of the police) - any chane of reasoning with them was lost ages ago.
Then, I suggest if it continues make a complaint to the police, highlight that you do make an effort to stop your son looking out the window (which you should not have to do) but that they are swearing at an autistic child despite being aware of his disability.
Gosh what tough time it seems! It might be an idea to contact your local MP and see if they can intervene with the Police on your behalf .