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Forums / Supporting family and friends with a mental health condition (carers) / Supporting autistic child’s emotional needs

Topic: Supporting autistic child’s emotional needs

10 posts, 0 answered
  1. Jaybee1507
    Jaybee1507 avatar
    5 posts
    24 June 2021

    Hi everyone,

    I’m new here. I’m Jess, mama to one little boy with (undiagnosed) autism. We’ve started the assessment process but thanks to covid it’s been difficult to continue.

    Long post warning.

    My son is 4, and he’s having a hard time at daycare. And I’m just at a loss on how to help him.

    He’s been at daycare for 18 months or so, has always been great at drop off, and suddenly he’s distraught when he knows he has to go. He was sick and missed a few weeks and once he was well enough to go back, that’s when it all started. I think he just got comfortable being at home? But it’s been 5 or so weeks of this now and he’s just not improving.

    Once he settles in, he has a great day but the minute he wakes up and see’s my work uniform he’s upset. He cries the whole morning, cries on the drive there, and I often have to carry him in while he fights and screams that he wants to go home. I don’t know what to do anymore.

    He’s verbal, but doesn’t communicate super well. When I ask why he doesn’t want to go, he just says ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I stay at mummy’s house’. I’ve questioned the educators, wondering if he’s had an incident with another child. Wondering if maybe he was scared of someone? But there’s been nothing.

    I can’t handle the upset anymore, my anxiety is through the roof whenever I have to work, and I’m out of ideas. I try to stay calm and gentle with him and show positive reinforcement but nothing is working. His dad is also finding it difficult and has started to yell and tell him to stop it, which doesn’t help at all so now we’re starting to fight because of it. I just wish he could understand or explain to me why he doesn’t want to go.

    If you’ve read this far, thank you. I appreciate it. I just don’t know how to help him and I’m feeling so lost.

  2. PamelaR
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    PamelaR avatar
    2740 posts
    24 June 2021 in reply to Jaybee1507

    Hi Jaybee

    Thank you for sharing your experience here. I can imagine how difficult it is getting for you. My friend has 2 children on the spectrum. Her eldest started university this year.... So things are possible. I remember though the early years (not that it's all clear sailing now). What I recall the most is my friend putting in place structure and routine. I remember she had a routine schedule, e.g. a chart with the daily routine, broken down into components. It helps to reduce anxiety of what is happening. While not everything is predictable, there are daily routines, e.g. meal times, cleaning teeth, bath time, bed time that are. You could include - going in the car, going to day care, play (and whatever else) at day, pick up by mum at the end of the day, going home etc. That could be a little package on it's own for the ride in the car??

    If you and your partner haven't been used to routine, you might find you'll have to start getting used to it. In the meantime, do a google search for autism and setting routine. I found the following - https://koriathome.com/how-to-teach-schedules-and-routines-to-your-autistic-child/ that could be helpful.

    I'm sure others will have some very useful tips for you.

    Hope some of this helps Jaybee.

    Kind regards

    PamelaR

    1 person found this helpful
  3. Jaybee1507
    Jaybee1507 avatar
    5 posts
    24 June 2021 in reply to PamelaR
    Thanks so much. I’ve been looking at reward charts etc but I worry he won’t quite understand? He’s only just about to turn 4 (I should have specified that) but I’m saying that, we’re very routine oriented. We do much of the same things daily, and my work schedule is set so I always work the same days, and he goes to daycare the same 2 days. One thing we do though is avoid talking about daycare the night before incase he feels anxious before bed… I’m wondering if maybe we should start bringing it up so that he doesn’t wake up to a shock? The daycare are putting together a photo book of the fun things he likes to do at daycare so we’ll use that as a visual guide, but they haven’t made it yet. Perhaps a timeline chart on the fridge of what we’re doing the next day could work. You’ve given me some ideas to play with. Thank you so much 🙏🏻
  4. PamelaR
    Champion Alumni
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    2740 posts
    24 June 2021 in reply to Jaybee1507

    So pleased to hear that Jaybee. Yes, I did realise he was only 4, however, getting in early with a visual guide may help though. My friend use to have one on her daughters' wardrobes. The fridge I'm sure will work. I think the thing is - few surprises as possible, so letting him know the night before might be good.

    I remember when we first visited (they live intrastate) and her eldest was about 8 at the time. She didn't want to come out and meet us. We just sat and chatted with our friends, then their daughter brought out a note that she handed to me, then ran away. It was a lovely note to welcome us - very beautiful it was.

    Cheers

    PamelaR

  5. Matchy69
    Valued Contributor
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    Matchy69 avatar
    5910 posts
    24 June 2021 in reply to Jaybee1507

    Hi Jayvee and I to have Autisic children a daughter 17 and a son 9 and have Autism my self.I have been anxious upset and all sorts emotions with my children over the years.Try and get a proper diagnoses will be a great start.I know how things are with the covid stuff.He will be starting school soon and will a need a plan in place at the school you choose.It will help getting support from NDIS for him.Its a long road but a worth while road if you can get the proper supports in.My daughter is now in her final year of school and has been getting straight As while my son has been a real challenge at school but have managed to get some supports at school in place that have been effective.

    Take care,

    Mark

  6. Jaybee1507
    Jaybee1507 avatar
    5 posts
    24 June 2021 in reply to Matchy69
    Thanks for your reply mark. We’re waiting for another appointment for his assessment at this point, there just seems to be a lot of paper shuffling and waiting at this stage. We’ve also applied for funding with ECEI and I’ve popped him on some waitlists for speech and OT. Like I said, Just a lot of waiting at this point. We do have an extra staff member available at daycare and she helps Liam 1:1 and helps him to settle in of a morning. So we’re doing all we can on that front, it’s more difficult at home once he realises it’s daycare day. Such a long and tedious process 😔
  7. Matchy69
    Valued Contributor
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    Matchy69 avatar
    5910 posts
    24 June 2021 in reply to Jaybee1507

    Hi Jaybee I think one of the most important things with your son at home is try and keep the same routine as much as possible.I know how difficult it is.Their days that get me down and can be so tiring and feel to hard.The speech and ot will be good for your son as my sees them as well as a physio and specialist.The paperwork can be really stressful and making sure everything is filled at properly or you get knocked back and have to do it again.I also encouraging your son to do what he enjoys doing really can help at home.

    What about you? Do you have any supports in for yourself ?Someone to talk to and vent can relieve some of your pressure.

    Take care,

    Mark.

  8. Jaybee1507
    Jaybee1507 avatar
    5 posts
    24 June 2021 in reply to Matchy69

    Absolutely. Our routine is fairly consistent at home and he is very well adjusted for the most part! I just wish he could communicate more and tell me what it is about daycare that’s upsetting him. So once he can start those therapies I’m sure it will be helpful! Sadly the waitlists are so long.

    I start seeing a therapist myself next week as my anxiety is getting out of hand so hopefully once I start getting some support and coping strategies, I can help my boy more. I also have made a friend in the states through an online mums group and her 11 son has autism and she helps me immensely, just to have someone to talk to and know she understands.

    thanks again for your reply ☺️

  9. Guest_3256
    Guest_3256 avatar
    324 posts
    26 June 2021

    Hi Jaybee1507.

    Having a young child who experiences difficulties managing their emotions at such a very young age can be extremely overwhelming, especially at an early age of mental and physical development. Know that you are not alone. It sounds like you and Dad are doing a tremendous job at finding ways to improve his behavior, you owe it to yourselves for being courageous and dedicated to meeting his needs.

  10. Jaybee1507
    Jaybee1507 avatar
    5 posts
    30 June 2021 in reply to Guest_3256
    Thanks so so much. Much appreciated ☺️

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