Hi all. This is the first time posting so not really sure how much to say or what’s acceptable.
Im on holiday with my little boy, currently under assessment and really quite behavioural due to disruption in his routine with school hols, etc. My boy is 5yrs and has a twin brother.
Only our first day and he is on the ceiling. So stressed and sensory overload going on. Just had a massive row with other half because when my boy is hurting and says hurtful things, causes scenes and has his moments, frankly I don’t know what to do to help so my reaction is to row with OH. Obviously this doesn’t help and I’m not happy at all. In fact, I’m just sat on the balcony whilst the other three are down by the pool because I just needed some time out. I’ve just sat and cried for the past hour really. He’s not usually this overwhelmed when we travel and just gets on with things but I feel like as he gets older the behaviour becomes more significant and the gap between him and his peers ever so much more noticeable.
Sorry to whinge, I’m not even sure what response I’m looking for, I’m just feeling a bit at the end of my tether at the moment and feel like after only 1 day I want to go home. Also worried about my relationship with OH. Just feel like he always just ignores when I try and raise the issues with my boy, like he doesn’t see anything wrong at all, then when we have these episodes he suddenly become the professional, ie: this is what we need to be doing/ should have done/ what he needs etc. All very frustrating and painful.
Thanks if you have read this far. Xx
Hi, I'm really sorry to hear that your son is finding this holiday so overwhelming and the stress that it is causing you! I don't know what to suggest but maybe try phoning the autism helpline on this website as they may be able to advise you with some strategies to assist your son:
Hi - Sorry to hear your having a rough time. I'm a twin and I'm ASD and my brother is NT.
From what you say, it sounds like your husband could be very high functioning ASD too - one of our traits is not being able to understand all the complex emotions of relationships when things are out of control. Our mask allows us to hide in plain sight as long as everything is on an even keel. One of our annoying traits is that when you become emotional, we drop into problem solving mode rather than listening to your pain. We function well with logic and controlled solutions - chaos confuses and stresses us out - so we avoid it.
I remember growing up and measuring everything around me and not understanding why people behaved in the way they did - it all seemed so chaotic and irrational. I used to get very stressed when people did things that I considered wrong or without reason.
How adaptable is your son? As I mentioned above, we don't deal with chaos or change well so one useful tactic is spending a lot of time before any major change explaining what is coming up - how it will work, what are the good things to look for and what are the pitfalls - and supply possible strategies for what to do if bad things come up - give a list of options that are more predictable so your son is more armed with a selection of behaviours rather than all or nothing.
A holiday is a massive, sudden change - there are no safe-spaces, nothing is predictable, nothing is familiar. Even the food could be unfamiliar. From your son's point of view, he's lost - and the people are the only things he can recognise so they will be the focus of whatever is going on for him.
Do you take a selection of his personal toys or books with you? Do you tell him all about what's coming up weeks in advance so he can get used to the idea - and then tell him more about the hotel and what there is to do there etc. so he can build a safe model in his head so he can slowly get comfortable with the idea which reduces the anxiety he will feel about the whole terrifying experience.
Think of it as a loooooong sales-pitch where you highlight the good in great detail - be honest - lying will confuse the issues - but give him all the details and what he needs to do if he gets overloaded and needs to escape from the environment for a little while. It would be helpful to him if you were explaining every step of the holiday - from leaving the house to getting back home.
The more 'knowns' you can build into the system, the more comfortable he will be. Unknowns = stress = potential behaviour triggers.
My OH is very much like this and its been like getting blood out of a stone getting him to open up. We're newly married and I gave him 6 months to tackle an issue in our marriage on his terms and it didn't solve the problem so he finally agreed to book into relationship counselling. This was enough to get him to open up and I found out he wouldn't talk about his emotions as when he tried as a child he didn't feel heard or accepted, which is why he became closed off. Perhaps your husband's trying to take on the professional role as a coping mechanism to avoid opening up about how lost/out of his depth he could be feeling?
I'm the autistic in my household and at 35 I struggle with holidays even though I put coping mechanisms in place. For example, I try and go self-catering as much as possible as I trying new foods/restaurants fill me with fear. I also become worn out by sensory overload, processing being in a new place etc so go out in a morning, come back in the afternoon to rest, then go out in the evening. If possible I don't adapt to time zone changes and still get up/go to bed and eat at the same times.
If this holiday is causing your boy such incredible amounts of stress are they going to be the right thing for him going forward or is this a one-off due to something else that has happened? When an ex-colleague used to go on holiday she only took her NT child and left the ND one at home with his grandparents as this is what he prefered. They did day trips together instead.
me and my boy x
Great advice as always.
....this is still how I am! Any tips to overcome it as I find the world so frustrating! I'm almost 40!
I remember these times well
My husband wasent very good coping with our son so it was down to me!
I found explaining what will happen and showing a few pictures helped...for example, we are going in the car, airport which may be busy, sit in the plane for x amount of hours. Here's a few pictures of the hotel.
Also give him down time in a quiet bar or hotel room if you notice hes getting too worked up. We played cards or he played on his games. I learnt to pre empt a few meltdowns
He is currently in the hotel room playing his computer game.
i sent OH with him because he in my opinion also has autistic traits and I guessed he would benefit from the down time, leaving me and my incredibly loud, sociable and active boy to have a bit of crazy time. Everyone is winning today and it’s all on account of the excellent advice and support I got here. Thank you xx
You're welcome! I hope that things improve for you and your son :-)