Am I "giving in"?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by nandz, Jun 26, 2010.

  1. nandz

    nandz Guest

    With difficult child's sensoy issues and inability to cope with high stress situations (possible Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)), I have decided for his sake not to place him in high stimulation situations, such as vacation bible school or other activities where there is loud noise, a lot of people, and too much commotion going on. He melts down and I just can't do that to him anymore. I have faced the fact that he cannot do some things that regular kids do because he simply cannot handle the overstimulation at times. Am I giving in or being a bad mom by avoiding these situations for him? Or am I right to keep him out of a place I know will cause him to melt down. I know he will have to go to school, but that is different because it is required, but other things like summer programs are not required. What do you all do with your difficult child's?
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    It's cruel to force an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) c hild into "Normal" situations if he can't handle them. He hasn't even had any interventions to make it more bearable for himself. I put my son into activities as he could deal with them. There are things he likes to do, like community work. I got him into the Special Olympics because it is much lower pressure and he didn't exactly LOVE practicing, but he did it. He goes to summer school each year to help out his old Special Education teacher (he is mainstreamed now, BUt it took work before he could handle it). I think going slow helps these kids. If you throw them into the fray then they get overstimulated, freaked out and do poorly and get discouraged and do even worse. I don't know that organized team sports on a regular team is good for him. My son did good in soccer after a while. You can NOT make an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kid a "normal" child. He is what he is and these kids are basically naive, trusting, very loving, but unable to transition and very easily frustrated. He really does need to be diagnosed or he won't get any help, and neither will you. Hang in there and do the neuropsychologist. Don't give into husband's insistence that son does what "everyone else" does. He's not everyone else. He is himself and he may be wired differently than other kids. Use your Mom Gut (which, sadly, I trust more than Dad Gut because so many becomes a matter of ego).

    Take care!
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Keeping your difficult child out of the high stress situations is exactly what you SHOULD do. It is not giving in, babying, spoiling or any other ridiculous thing like that. If your son couldn't read you wouldn't make him keep stare at books would you? If he was diabetic you wouldn't insist he spend time making candy. If he cannot handle certain kinds of sensory input you keep him out of situations where he would be bombarded with it.

    To a person with sensory problems the high stimulation situations can seem like they are being attacked by the various sensations. I have quite a few sensory problems and if I am tired or stressed being in a mall is like being attacked. I become unable to separate the various sounds - often the music played seems almost louder than someone standing next to me speaking to me. The smells combine and are overwhelming - esp in front of stores that use a lot of potpourri and other scents. I can only handle malls for a short time simply because there is just too much going on. So when my kids had problems with the mall it seemed normal to me and we don't go there often.

    My youngest has the worst sensory problems of all of my kids. He could NOT handle church services for many years. He liked them but they were just too loud. He could only handle a couple of rows in the church for a short time. Those rows were underneath the choir loft and the music wasn't quite as loud or booming there. He would usually have to leave at Communion if not earlier. Thankfully our church is very laid back and kid friendly. There have been many times he went into one of the meeting rooms to read instead of going to the service. No one minded but he is NOT a difficult child.

    The only way your son will eventually be able to handle more things is to let his body and brain mature. There are therapies that can help and sometimes the improvement can be very dramatic. If you force your difficult child into high stress situations he will not learn to use the therapy and he will be very disruptive. NOT out of a desire to cause trouble but because he truly cannot cope.

    Most situations can be toned down. Birthdays do not have to have big parties with every friend he has. Guidelines for parties for kids often recommend one guest for each year of age, so a five year old would have five other kids at the party. Your son will likely need fewer than that. Try doing something special with one or two other children instead. Presents do not have to be opened all at once on Christmas. One of my cousins used to take a couple of days to open his presents when he was a toddler. The boy is an undiagnosed Aspie with almost every classic symptom except parents who understand. Every single toy had to be unwrapped, examined, opened, and then introduced to every single other toy he had. Then he had to play with them together for a little while before opening another one. If he had to open more than one, or someone helped him open something he wasn't ready to open he fell apart.

    Use your difficult children meltdowns as a guide to what he can and cannot handle. We used to eat out fairly often. When we went somewhere like McDonalds my kids were usually okay if they could go into the play area for a few minutes after eating. If we went to someplace like Olive Garden my difficult child did not do very well unless we brought quite a few things for him to do. Even then Wiz couldn't handle it well, especially the food. We noticed when we went to a certain all you can eat restaurant that the kids not only all behaved well, they also ate a healthy variety of foods. I still do not know why that one specific restaurant chain got those results when almost nowhere else did. But we took advantage of it.

    There is a book called What Your Explosive Child is Trying to Tell You by Dr. Doug Riley. It might help you figure out more ways to accommodate your son's special needs and to understand him. either way, follow your instincts and limit his exposure to high stress situations.
  4. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree that you did the right thing. Just this week we made the decision not to send difficult child on the Thursday overnight of his camp. It was going to be 3 1/2 hours away and they were going to do a lot of hiking. husband knew if we sent him he would end up melting down. If there had been things besides just hiking (like swimming) we would have sent him but we do know that he doesn't do well in that type of situation so why force him?
  5. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Personally, I think, we as warrior mom's are always trying to balance introducing our difficult children to typical experiences and buffering them from their anxiety. I always call it nudging. I try to encourage difficult child to do n/t things that his peers are doing(with accomodations). I am also always looking for pitfalls that will set difficult child up for failure. It's a balancing act but I want to help him and nudge him. It's tricky. Do what feels right for difficult child.
    I ask myself "who does it serve?" for me to insist on difficult child doing something that he will be anxious about. It's not giving in. It's navigating the world for our difficult children.
    Our kids aren't going to have all the same experiences as their peers but we try to keep them close to the group.