Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by CCRmama, Aug 16, 2010.

  1. CCRmama

    CCRmama Guest


    I am new to this, but I am trying anything I can to get answers. My difficult child has been difficult (for lack of a better word) since the day he was born. He screamed and cried
    non stop for the first 4 months of his life and then at the drop of a hat since then. The doctors changed formulas, but nothing helped. I had to rock him and sing all day and night. He wouldn't even let his dad hold him. Since then it has always been a struggle to get him to go to bed at a decent hour. My husband and I have always kept him on a routine and tried to give him stability. He had frequent ear infections as a baby and went through 2 different sets of tubes before they got one to work. He was hospitalized on two different occasions for high fever with no other symptoms, one of the times he ended up with roseola. He will be 4 in January, but he thinks he is already an adult. He can carry on a very in depth conversation. He has a great attention span, but he won't listen to anything I say, he's very smart. I had been telling his pediatrician since he was 2 that he was hard to discipline, but she just ignored me, but this winter at 9pm I discovered that he had opened his window, pushed out his screen and climbed out his window. His little sister was stuck in the window trying to follow him. When I found him 300 ft. from our house he wasn't scared at all!! He said he was trying to get to someone's car so they could drive him to the childrens museum! He did this because he was suppose to have gone that day, but lost the privilege because he couldn't mind. He will hit his sister because she looks at him the wrong way. His mattress is on the floor because he dismantled the frame and headboard to try and make a mountain to reach the ceiling. He will dump any cleaner that he can find on the floor. He climbs baby gates (he's around 42 inches tall), all of the locks on our rooms are removed because he would lock us out, he won't stay buckled in his car seat, he hits and yells my husband and me, If he ask a question and you don't know the answer he will keep screaming the question at you until you give him an answer. The list just goes on. Then sometimes he can be so sweet! He will hug you for no reason, give toys to his sister, tell me how much he loves me. I feel like I walk on egg shells around him because I don't know which reaction I will get from him. We took him to a behaviorist after the attempt to run away and they set up a counselor to come to our house once a week and do "anger management" with him. She says that he is always perfect for her. After he met with the psychiatrist she said he had ODD and told us to give him melatonin to help him sleep. The melatonin has been a miracle! He goes to sleep by 9 every night! He is still the same in every other area though. He told me that it makes him sad that his little sister is happier than he is and that he tries not to be sad or mad, but he can't stay happy! Sorry this is so long, my heart is just breaking for my baby. I would appreciate an and all advice!
  2. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hey Angela! Welcome to the crowd! Sounds like you've got your hands full! Have you had any testing done at all? Most of us recommend a neuropsychologist exam - but he's a little small. Someone else may know at what age they start that type of testing - others will be along.

    How's his eye contact with people other than yourself or husband?

    Is he an expert on certain subjects?

    Does he interact with other kids (playmates, etc.) appropriately?

    Does he show any sensitivities to certain sights, sounds, smells, tastes, food consistancies or have what I call "itchy tag syndrome" (you know - when they can't wear a shirt because they HATE the feel of the tag) or certain textures?

    Many here have also sworn by the book "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. It sort of gives you a little insight on how your child thinks and reacts to things as opposed to "typical" children.

    Again, welcome - you'll meet a lot of people here that have a vast amount of knowledge and experience.

  3. CCRmama

    CCRmama Guest

    No he hasn't had any testing done other than an interview, but they spent most of the time talking to me. He makes eye contact with other people and he interacts with other kids, however he gets mad if he's not in charge. He thinks he is an expert on everything, but there isn't one thing that he obsesses over. He is sensitive to sound unless it's coming from himself. One other thing that I forgot to mention is that he has been lying a lot. He also wants to be by my side at all times. He gets jealous of any attention I give his sister or my husband.
    Thank you for listening. It's just nice to know that I'm not the only one going through this.
  4. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Hi CCRmama, welcome to our forum. There's a book that would be good for you called What Your Explosive Child is Trying to Tell You Discovering the Path From Symptoms to Solutions by Douglas Riley.

    Given your description, along with the family history in your signature, I'd lean towards pushing for an evaluation. Talk to your pediatrician about having him seen by a developmental pediatrician or pediatric neuropsychologist.
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member


    I can hear people thinking, and I suspect a lot of you who know me can hear me thinking, too. Loudly.

    A few comments - eye contact is an interesting one but increasingly, I think too much emphasis can be placed on this. A child who doesn't make a lot of eye contact, especially with people he doesn't know so well, is more likely to easily get a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) diagnosis of some kind. But a child who DOES make eye contact shouldn't get it ruled out too fast.

    IF your son has Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) in some form (I would suspect Asperger's, since there clearly is no language delay) then I would suspect it to be very high-functioning. However, it is possible to be high-functioning and still have moderate to severe impairment. There can also be more severe impairment in areas that have not yet become an issue. For example, a lot of kids with Asperger's go totally under the radar until their teens because they can manage academically while the schoolwork is fairly concrete. It is when it becomes more interpretive that the kid can academically slam into a brick wall and suddenly struggle.

    What you need, is to get him a neuropsychologist evaluation. Also, Explosive Child is a great book, it will help.

    But the first thing you need, is to forget standard parenting. This is not a kid you can try to control with discipline. Instead of you being the one to say, "Do this, go here, go there," you need to lead him and support him. This is a kid whose intense need for control can be directed into self-discipline at a much earlier age.

    Aspie kids tend to be very law-abiding, but it is the law as they understand it. For example, he believed that he was entitled to go to the museum, it was promised and should not have been taken away. So he was taking steps to make sure it happened. Punishments are not a good idea with these kids. Instead, natural consequences are the way to go, because it is more logical and therefore more likely to be understood and accepted. If you had said, "Tomorrow we will go to the museum," and when he misbehaved (hit his sister, or whatever) you then said, "OK, no museum, you can't be good," in his eyes there is no reason for you to withdraw this other than you imposing your will on him, just because you can. However, if you said to him, I know I said we were going to the museum but instead we have to take your sister to the doctor, because you hit her and she has a bad lump on her head," then that is logical consequences.

    Another important rule is to not withdraw privileges once earned. For example, if you said to him, "You were such a good boy this week, you have earned a trip to the museum," then that trip stands. A classic example was in the movie "The Black Balloon" where the autistic boy earns stars on his sticker chart fort good behaviour. But when he misbehaves (runs away for fun, in his underwear, then when he needs to use the bathroom he goes into the nearest house as if it is his own) his mother takes away two stars. The problem with this, is it connects the punishment with previous good behaviour and negates that good behaviour. BUT - this is, so often, what we do. A lot of the time when we punish our kids, we do it when we are angry and frustrated with the child. The child (especially a bright one, who are also often more focussed on trying to understand what the rules are) will rapidly connect your anger with your method of punishing, and see this (often rightly) as your frustration bering given an outlet. as a result, the Aspie child will see this as a valid coping strategy for frustration, and will also try to punish YOU when HE is frustrated. He may be punishing his sister for causing his frustration.

    So what do you do?
    You stop punishing out of your own frustration. Make any punishment a natural consequence ("You knocked over the milk jug, so there is no milk for anybody to drink"). Get away from crime and punishment, from action and blame. Sometimes it's not about blame. Sometimes bad things happen to good people and Aspies need to learn this.

    The brighter the Aspie, the faster they learn. This is not always a good thing, because they learn the wrong way first, generally, and it is very difficult to unlearn it. Blame is a very fast lesson to learn, and as parents trying more traditional parenting methods, we inadvertently teach blame too well. We then have a child who, when something bad happens to them, goes looking for who to blame.

    Another important aspect of Asperger's is much more apparent in the younger ones - lack of theory of mind. They DO learn this, but it takes longer and its absence causes some interesting and often confusing phenomena. This includes apparent lack of respect (it is subtly different and should not be punished as lack of respect or you perpetuate the problem) and also the tendency to act as if everyone else knows exactly what he is thinking or wanting.

    I'll give you an example from a few years ago:

    difficult child 3 was about 12 years old when he had to have a ganglion removed from his wrist. It required surgery under general anaesthetic. We had quite a few hurdles which I won't go into here. But we were at the hospital to see the surgeon to discuss test results etc. Now, difficult child 3's habit when we go to any doctor, is to make a bee-line for the toybox. The first thing he does is rummage around the books. He seeks out books he knows and has read before and although he began reading fluently in infancy, at 12 he still was not moving beyond the same books. He also preferred to read aloud. So rather than sit there in a waiting room with people we didn't know, listening to difficult child 3 reading Sesame Street or Spot books over and over, aloud, I said to him, "Why don't you read a book to the baby?"
    There was a baby in the room, about six months old, and beginning to fuss. Boredom, I suspected.
    difficult child 3 loved the idea and by this stage had collected all the different Spot books he could find. He went over to the baby and held them up. "Baby, which book would you like me to read?"
    The baby aimlessly waved a hand, but stopped fussing. difficult child 3 took the random wave as an indication. "You want me to read this one? OK." And he began to read aloud. He showed the book to the baby (a good sign he is beginning to understand theory of mind at some level) and read to the baby as I used to read to him; trying to engage him.
    "Where is Spot? Is he under the table? Can you see where Spot is?"
    I was surprised difficult child 3 didn't get frustrated at the baby for not responding intelligibly, I did help out and said, "He doesn't talk yet, difficult child 3." But difficult child 3 didn't understand that. Remember - 12 years old and otherwise highly intelligent. Genius level.

    My point is - a kid who doesn't have theory of mind properly, is a kid who instinctively believes that all minds are connected; if difficult child 3 wants juice and not milk, then of course I should know this automatically.

    Once we were able to explain to difficult child 3 about his diagnosis, he began to understand. We also told him in a way that was not judgemental nor was it saying, "This is a handicap." For us, autism is simply a different way of brain functioning. It may bring problems at times, but there are gifts to compensate. What you do is begin with the child. Start by being where the child is, get into his head and use what is there to allow him to be himself. Don't try to change what is such an integral part of him. If he needs to stimulant to soothe his anxiety, then let him. But he can learn over time, to choose stimulant behaviours that are more socially acceptable (quieter noises; textures that are more understandable; other ways of adapting or coping).

    Autism in the house can be frustrating, but it can also be exciting. Write down the interesting stuff and the fun stuff as well as the problem stuff. Diarising is valuable in so many ways.

    Now of course I can't diagnose. None of us can here. But I strongly recommend you use Asperger's as a working hypothesis, until you know otherwise. You can't go too far wrong, and it might make a big improvement in how you cope with him.

    I've only given you a tiny sample. There is so much more and not just from me.

    Two final points for you:

    1) Your child (whatever his diagnosis) is clearly highly intelligent and extremely logical. A highly intelligent child can also get bored easily and frankly, from my own experience, needs constant vigilance to ensure sufficient intellectual stimulation. I remember easy child's teachers saying, "I have to keep throwing more work at her! And harder work - she's still in Grade 1 but she's working at Grade 4 level already!" If they did not keep this up, she became disruptive. And that was a easy child!

    2) Children do not choose to be naughty; instead, that generally want to please you. A law-abiding child even more so, wants to please you. A child who is having difficulty understanding the social rules (and who is therefore trying to mentally work out what they are for himself) is even more so trying to work out how to be like everyone else. High intelligence means he is also highly adaptable. Put the two together and it makes diagnosis a lot trickier; not because the child deliberately is hiding symptoms, but because he is trying always to be like everyone else, and is using every ounce of his intellect to achieve this. But he is motivated to be good. If he is not good, there is a good reason (from his point of view). Instead of punishing, try to find out where he went wrong (from his point of view) and role-play with him what he should have done. The aim of discipline is to teach him to get it right next time. If role-play and explanation works better, then you don't need to punish. Really.

    This can take a bit to wrap your head around. But this diagnosis can be good news.

    Welcome to the site.

  6. CCRmama

    CCRmama Guest

    Thank you for all of the tips! My younger brother has aspergers syndrome and I have considered it a possibility for my difficult child. Where would I go to or who do I talk to about getting the neuropsychologist evaluation? His pediatrician thinks I am just being over dramatic. I think because I am younger she doesn't take me seriously. I think I am just trying to be very pro active about it. My parents tried to make my brother understand them and then a couple of years after he was diagnosed with aspergers they tried to say that he " out grew" it! My heart breaks for my brother because I feel like my parents robbed him of the opportunity at a better life by denying him help.

    I feel like I am isolated from everyone to try and protect my son. He was going to group once a week where he got together with other kids with similar difficulties and a counselor would help guide them to get a long and work together. He also met with a counselor at our house once a week for individual help and once a week with a psychiatrist to see how he was improving. His group was canceled though due to lack of funding.
    It only gets worse from there. As I had mentioned he has started lying quite a bit. Well recently he started pinching his privates a lot and out of concern I asked him if anyone had touched him down there and he at first said that my sister had and then that my father had! I knew that he was lying because he had never even been alone in a room with my sister and he was just saying the first person that he thought of. Out of concern I told my husband about this. During once of my difficult child's meetings with his counselor my husband mentioned this to the counselor trying to inform her of how his lying has gotten out of control, well my husband didn't take into consideration that the counselor is a state employee and is legally obligated to report such accusations whether we believed they were true or not.We ended up having to talk to a CPS worker and allow our difficult child to be interviewed by a professional before they would drop everything. While I understand that they were just doing there job and trying to protect my difficult child, my mom and dad were understandably upset by all of this. They proceeded to tell everyone in my family of my difficult child's lie so in there words " They could protect themselves". My parents believe that my husband told the counselor to try and get them in trouble! Needless to say I haven't talked to anyone in my family for over a month. I understand them being upset, but hearing that they feel as though they have to protect themselves is devastating. I refuse to have my son around people that are going to treat him like a criminal even if those people are my family. This has also left me with no one to vent to about my daily struggles to remain sane!
  7. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    If you are considering Asperger's as a possibility, the best place to go is to the diagnostician parents in your area find most reliable. That may be a developmental pediatrian, Autism Clinic at a hospital or university, a pediatric neuropsychologist, or another professional depending on your location and what kind of insurance you have, if applicable.

    A good place to start is googling Autism Society of America and check to see if there are any chapters in your region. Even if there's not one in your town, contacting nearby parents will often give you some ideas. Your pediatrician should also be a good resource and honestly, if he's not listening, it's time to look for a doctor who is going to listen to you. There was a study done about a decade ago that showed over 50% of the time parents of kids with Autistic Spectrum Disorders brought their concerns to their pediatricians and got nowhere. A major campaign was launched to increase awareness and if yours isn't on board, find one who is.

    At this age with the problems you're describing, we recommend an evaluation by a primary diagnostician, plus speech/language and occupational therapy evaluations.
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    You can always vent here. But do keep your details confidential, so if your parents happen to Google details, they won't know it's you.

    Regarding the lying - it is said that autistics don't lie. But in fact, ALL kids go through a stage of telling lies. But autistics either have a lot of difficulty telling a known lie (some do) or they tend to be bad at lies but still try to tell them.

    For example, difficult child 3 is seen shoving a kid until he falls over.
    Teacher: Did you push Danny, difficult child 3?
    difficult child 3: No, I didn't. He just fell.

    When challenged by the teacher who says, "I saw you push Danny," difficult child 3 might try to stick at his story. But he generally was not good at inventing a complex story that was not true. So he would often retreat into confusion.

    Now, difficult child 2 IS able to do creative writing. He does tend to write about things he's either read, or seen, separately. He happens to be good at dialogue which I find interesting. This is unusual for a kid on the spectrum, but he has been capable of learning and adapting.

    Similarly, your son may also have been able to learn that telling a lie about being touched, is an effective way to deflect attention away from him and also to get someone into trouble. But something I learned - it is even easier to lead the witness, to set up the alternate reality merely by asking leading questions.

    Let's consider the abuse allegation. First - you notice he's grabbing at himself. Well, this is something boys do. Especially boys with an anxiety issue. We used to say to our boys, "It's OK, you can let go of it, it is not about to get up and run away."
    Now, if your reaction became, a private concern of "I wonder if someone has touched him inappropriately?" I'm not sure how you could ask the questions without leading the witness.
    Remember I said in my previous post, that these kids want to please you? Well, when you are questioning a kid, they tend to try to give you the answer they think you want to hear, especially if they are scared of getting into trouble or don't fully understand what you want to know.

    So let's go back to you and your concerns.
    "difficult child, has anyone ever touched you in your private area?"
    [difficult child thinks carefully. He knows he has undoubtedly had other adults in his life change his nappies or otherwise help him get changed. Maybe someone helped bather him. So he thinks carefully and mentions people he's fairly sure are on that list.]
    "My aunt and my grandpa have," he tells the questioner.
    Now the questioner makes eye contact, maybe crouches down beside him and by his/her tone of voice tries to make it obvious that this is important.

    OK, I won't labour the point. The thing is - if a kid has genuinely been molested, often their responses are monosyllabic and made without a lot of eye contact. But if a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) child is being questioned, he often can feel uncomfortable (especially if the questioner is not a professional and the questions make him feel embarrassed). So more questions get asked and the 'truth' is slowly worked out. "When did this happen? Where? What happened? How did you feel? Did he do this? Or that?" and so on.

    I tried to explain the same things to difficult child 3's teacher. I had discovered that difficult child 3 had been tripped up by the big kids and he fell and grazed his knees. I asked difficult child 3, "What happened?"
    difficult child 3 said, "The big boys called me over but as I came over, J stuck his leg out and I didn't see it in time, I fell over it and landed on the rock."
    It was as much as I could get out of difficult child 3. I asked him, "Who were the other boys?" but with his partial face blindness, he wasn't certain.
    difficult child 3's friend spoke to me separately and gave me more information.
    I sent a note to the class teacher - "difficult child 3 says that J and some other boys deliberately tripped him up and he grazed his knees."
    The teacher spoke to me afterwards. "I spoke to the boys, they all said difficult child 3 just tripped over his own feet, none of them were anywhere near him. So I spoke to difficult child 3, told him that perhaps he was mistaken. difficult child 3 agreed he might have been mistaken. So we're considering it as just an accident."

    I spoke quietly to difficult child 3's friend. "I don't want to talk about it," he said. I noticed he had a few fresh bruises.

    I spoke to difficult child 3. "I could have sworn that J tripped me up and all those boys were right there, but my teacher said that because of my autism, I must have misunderstood."

    My point - it depends a great deal on how you question a child, as to what answers you get. And if you go looking for sexual abuse, you will find it even where it doesn't exist.
    Another important factor - once a child realises he has power and can use this to get at adults he is angry with, he WILL use it. They can get these ideas from adults who question them inexpertly (never indicate in your question, what answer you expect) or they can get the ideas from other kids who HAVE been through the process and are a bit too streetwise.

    So Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids can lie, but usually it's not a complex lie and it doesn't generally stand up under expert questioning.

    Over time, and with ongoing experience that lying is going to get them caught and in trouble, these kids learn tat truth is easier and preferable.

    Stay vigilant and remember, never ask leading questions. The best question to ask is, "What happened?" "And then what?" Never ask, in your question, "Did it happen this way?" and then give your own idea of possibilities. The child wanting to please you is too likely to say, "Yes'm."

    As for your family - don't let them upset you. Of course they want to protect themselves. Think about how they handled your brother - they declared him "cured" because it looked better FOR THEM. So be forgiving - but don't confide anything you don't want them to use primarily to protect themselves.

  9. CCRmama

    CCRmama Guest

    Marguerite Thank you so much! You explained it perfectly! I think I did exactly what you said. A big part of me has been thinking that my difficult child isn't on the spectrum because he lies all of the time, but like you said it's always pretty obvious that he isn't telling the truth. I have terrible guilt for what I put my parents through, but it kills me that the way the view my difficult child has changed. I appreciate your concern to keep my identity private. Thank you for your support, I feel like a ton of bricks just lifted off of my shoulders.

    On a different note when your difficult child was younger was he/ she in constant competition with the other. It as though my difficult child is threatened by any affection I have for anyone else. My difficult child also feels like he is an adult and tries to take charge of my easy child whenever I turn my back. He will hit and yell at her for anything. For instance my difficult child will hit my easy child for imitating a noise he makes and then proceed to yell at easy child for crying. It feels like constant chaos at my house. I try to play games like memory but difficult child gets mad at easy child for not instantly knowing the correct way to play. When my husband difficult child comes for visitation who has been diagnosis with autism (his DM says she doesn't know where on the spectrum he is though) my difficult child will try to explain something to my husband difficult child and when I tell my difficult child kindly that my husband difficult child doesn't understand what he's trying to tell him then my difficult child starts repeating himself louder as if he thinks that my husband difficult child is just hard of hearing.

    Oh yeah can making a hoo, hoo noise be a stimulant? I have noticed my difficult child doing this a lot, but when I told his counselor about this it didn't seem to phase her.

    Again, thank you so much for reaching out to me. It means so much to me!
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Angela - a quick answer to your questions - yep.

    I think it must have been another thread I posted on in detail recently, I talked about Theory of Mind. Look it up. Here is a Wiki link -

    From that link -
    'Appearance-reality task
    Other tasks have been developed to try to solve the problems inherent in the false-belief task. In the "appearance-reality", or "Smarties" task, experimenters ask children what they believe to be the contents of a box that looks as though it holds a candy called "Smarties." After the child guesses (usually) "Smarties," each is shown that the box in fact contained pencils. The experimenter then re-closes the box and asks the child what she thinks another person, who has not been shown the true contents of the box, will think is inside. The child passes the task if she responds that another person will think that there are "Smarties" in the box, but fails the task if she responds that another person will think that the box contains pencils. Gopnik & Astington (1988) found that children pass this test at age four or five years.'

    Kids on the spectrum take a lot longer with this test. Also, there are a lot of other ramifications with failing this, which follow on into how we relate to other people. A kid who lacks theory of mind will believe the opposite - that everyone's mind is the same as his, that his mind is an open book to everyone else and therefore his wants and needs should be instantly known by others, especially parents. People who don't get it are, in their opinion, either stupid or not paying attention. And they will often say so.

    The web link goes on to say -
    There is more good stuff. If you have trouble following it or relating it to your specific problems, let me know.

    I will give you an example. Remember, difficult child 3 is now 16 years old and has made amazing progress. He now understands about theory of mind INTELLECTUALLY. But actually applying it is still challenging. In his schoolwork two years ago, he was set a task in Grade 9 English. He had a sample of text to read and then some questions to answer. One problem question was, "In the set text, what does Bob believe Mary was thinking?"
    This is a classic Theory ofMind question and while with help difficult child 3 could work it out, it was a huge problem for him because the answer was not specifically stated in the text, it was only implied.
    Now, when an autistic or Aspie kid does a comprehension exercise, they can be very good at them, especially in the lower grades. Because at that level, all the kid has to do is scan the text for the keyword. A question might be, "In the third paragraph, what was the wolf doing?"
    The child counts down to the third paragraph and scans for the word "wolf" then looks for the adjacent verb. Bingo - he's got the answer. "The wolf ran through the orchard".
    It gets much more difficult in later grades, when the questions become inferential. "In the text, we see that Jane says she doesn't like the new baby because it is noisy and messy. But what is really going on? Why is Jane so resentful?"
    The answer which is only implied, is that Jane is not getting the attention she used to have before the baby arrives, and she is jealous. But to answer this, the child would need to be able to recognise the signs and to be able to sympathise (or at least empathise) with a fictional character. It is assumed tat this sort of question separates the really brighter kids form the average ones, but an autistic kid can be very bright, but still miss this question. It is because there are different kinds of intelligence, and an autistic child has a lower "EQ" or emotional intelligence as a rule, despite often having a high IQ (although it is difficult to measure).

    Back to kids competing - I remember when easy child 2/difficult child 2 was very young (I think not quite a year old) we visited friends who had just had a baby. I was holding the baby on my lap when easy child 2/difficult child 2 saw this and became VERY upset. She crawled over, climbed up on my chair and began trying to pull the baby away. She was really distressed and clearly felt that there was absolutely no way that any other baby but her, should be on my lap. I had to hand the baby back before she would stop. And then easy child 2/difficult child 2 climbed up on my lap to make it clear that it belonged only to her. After a while she climbed down but if I went near the baby, easy child 2/difficult child 2 would be back and crying. I could talk to the baby while she was being held by her mother, but I was not permitted to touch or try to hold. This was way more than jealousy - it was fear of being supplanted. easy child 2/difficult child 2 believed she OWNED me, I was her possession and had no right to look at another child except out of curiosity. Mind you, at the same age, easy child 2/difficult child 2 was marvellous with other babies especially younger ones. Although she never used a pacifier, she would put them back for other babies who dropped theirs. At her child care centre she would crawl across the floor to pick up a pacifier and put it back. And with our friend, when she was holding her baby on her lap, easy child 2/difficult child 2 was just as attentive and gentle with the baby.

    I wrote on another thread how difficult child 3 read a Spot book to a 6 month old baby. He held the books up to the baby and asked the baby to choose a book to read. Then he read to the baby and regularly sopped to ask the baby a question about the book. "Where do you think Spot is hiding?" The baby, who had been getting restless and fussy, was riveted on difficult child 3 and making good eye contact because here was someone talking to him!

    With difficult child and husband difficult child (you might want to find an easier way to identify them) you will find that at one level, they connect well and respect one another because I have seen this often - Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids recognise the innate honesty and openness in one another. But at another level they can get really frustrated with one another, especially if they are not at the same level. It is actually very good lessons for them socially, to learn that people ARE different. But when they are very young, they don't get it.

    Something that you could try, is the Smarties box Theory of Mind exercise. Go through it with them (individually) and try to teach them that what one person thinks is so, is not what another person may think and could still be different from reality. However, they may not yet be ready for tis. The brain will mature more as they get older but until it is ready to learn a particular lesson, the child will not make progress. Disciplining for what a child cannot help, is ineffective and damaging. And pointless. That's why we put up childproof gates, or we turn saucepan handles inwards, and have childproof locks on cupboards. We don't punish a two year old for getting into the cleaning products cupboard; instead, we punish the person who failed to lock it all up.
    In the same way, you need to protect your kids from behaviour they cannot help. Don't put them in a situation that is likely to cause problems. Do your best to supervise and intervene to prevent. But avoid punishing the sort of behaviour you describe, because it won't help. Instead, natural consequences will be more effective - if easy child gets upset at being constantly chastised or hit, she won't want to play with difficult child.

    How you treat difficult child will set the pattern for him, in how to treat others. YOU set the example for how you want him to behave, in how you treat him. This will require a major change of mind set but will pay big dividends. Remember, this is likely to be a child with a much higher capability of self-discipline. He's already trying to discipline everyone around him because he already has his own ideas of what rules people should be following. He is undoubtedly already trying to follow those rules himself.

    And yes, that noise sounds like a stimulant. Don't try to stop stims. Or tics. They can, if they are really annoying, be reduced. But anxiety can make them worse and trying to stop them can make the child more anxious. Catch 22. As the child gets older, they tend to choose stims tat are less socially obvious.

    These kids sound classic Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) to me.

    Trust me - although you will have rough times, overall it does get a lot better.

    I'd be seriously asking them to consider Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) for GFG3yo, and I would also be considering the possibility in husband. It can be confused with bipolar, and the older someone is when diagnosed, the more likely it is that they adapted and have inadvertently masked a lot of the condition. Mind you, having Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), especially if it remained undiagnosed for decades, will cause depression and may appear as mood swings. The bipolar diagnosis may also be correct, or there could be a constellation of issues.

    My husband does not have a diagnosis of Asperger's and at 55 is probably too old to be assessed. What would be achieved for us? But it IS our family working hypothesis.

    One important message - do not try to change these people. You meet them where they are and teach them how to fit in socially, as an overlay to their condition. Autism cannot be cured. But it can adapt. However, never punish or be critical of autistic behaviours. Accept them. Try to help them limit stimming to more socially appropriate times (ie don't make loud noises while in a cinema with other people watching a film). But otherwise - let them be who they are.

    My favourite example was when we first took delivery of a front-loader washing machine. I wanted to try it out so I set it up with a load of washing. About an hour later I couldn't find the boys. difficult child 1 was about 16, difficult child 3 was 6. I found them both in the laundry, sitting on the floor in front of the washing machine, watching through the little round window, their heads turning this way and that over and over, in unison with each other and the washing.
    difficult child 1 realised I was there but did not look up or change what he was doing. But he said, "I don't know why, but I find this strangely compelling."

    I left them to it.

  11. CCRmama

    CCRmama Guest

    Thank you for all of the great advice! Sorry it's taken me a little bit to write back. I am so happy that I have found this site and all of the great people like you that are on it! :)