Any advice for small tornadoes?
No, I don't mean tornado in the literal sense...I mean my four year old son. We are on a waiting list to have him tested for aspergers. At the very least, he has severe ADHD. He is just in his own world. Does anyone have any ideas for keeping myself sane trying to deal with this child and keep him from destroying my house? He's like a little tornado...he tears my house apart and makes messes that take me hours to clean up.
For an example, I took a 5 minute break to trade the laundry out and while I was in the laundry room, he found a large styrofoam packing block and shredded it up into a billion pieces all over my kitchen and living room. It was one of those soft kinds that shredded easily. Then, he poured milk all over and mixed everything together with his feet. After that, he decided to vacuum it up...milk and all. I caught him before the vacuum was ruined. It took me almost an hour to clean it all up. It's like that several times a day.
I love him but I can't keep up with it. I've tried getting him to color, play with play dough, and other activities. He doesn't care about TV...he will watch it for a minute or two and that's it. I can't buy enough toy sets or building sets to keep him from getting bored. Some of his other 5 minute catastrophes include:
Pouring sugar in with my wheat
Coloring the toilet with a permanent marker
Mixing the beans rice and flour etc. together
Cutting his pants up with scissors
Breaking into the medicine cabinet (it has 4 child locks)
Burning things in the toaster
Breaking the crayons up into little bits
Coloring on the wall
Any toy or activity I give him is turned into a mess in some way. He is not capable of cleaning the messes up either. I usually try to get him to clean things up and tell him I will help him. He just curls up in a little ball in the corner of the room and hides with a bewildered look on his face. A few weeks ago, he put our puppy in the microwave and turned it on. My teenager caught him right away and rescued the dog but I am lost on how to deal with him and keep him entertained and safe. If I try to talk to him or correct him, he just ignores me like he can't hear. I've had his hearing tested. He also can't talk very good. I can't understand most of what he says which adds to the frustration.
Any suggestions on how to survive this?
Andrea, I'm so sorry you're all having to go through this, especially you as the mother are there with the situation all the time. I really think you need some help with the care of this little one, and the appointment for evaluation is the first step. You'll get help, whatever the diagnosis is, and that will relieve some of the stress for you, I'm sure. If it is Aspergers, or a different problem, just know that you're not alone in dealing with a child like this; other parents have gotten through it, and you will, too. Some sort of part-time child care in a place equipped to deal with it would probably help give you some time away, for your own sanity. I think Moms often feel they have to be the only one to deal with a "problem" child, and then can't help feel overwhelmed with it all. That's not doing yourself any favors nor your other children. I really feel for you and your family, and hope you get some hopeful news, and treatment, after his evaluation.
Is there any situation that makes him calm, or that seems to relax him? Can you put him in a room by himself where he's safe, for a time out? Does that sort of thing help? Does he let you hold him, or does he resist that? Does music calm him? Is he better outside (weather permitting)? Just some things to think about and which they'll probably ask you when evaluating. Good thoughts coming your way...
Wow....you do have your hands full!
Have you been watching his diet? They say eleminate the sugars, and anything red from their diets when a child is ADHD.....I know from my grandson who is 2 and very active and most possibly has ADHD as well, that anytime we give him any drinks or jello or anything that is red or sugary, he truly bounces off the walls.
Luckily he doesn't make the messes you have had to contend with, but he sure keeps us on our toes!
Good luck with testing! I hope you can get some help soon!
I'm so very sorry, Andrea... I can't imagine how hard it must be.
I'm going to second what Cathy said about diet. I have Celiac disease, and in learning about that, I also read quite a bit about the effects of wheat/gluten on some children, especially those with autism. I've personally talked to parents who have had a non-functioning child with autism/asperger's who have made HUGE strides by going gluten-free. I highly recommend the book Dangerous Grains.
I know it will be terribly difficult, but as things are difficult now, what have you got to lose? I'd start out my eliminating all sugar, artificial dyes, and wheat/gluten.
Praying for you and your little guy.
Adding my prayers too as our son is ADHD and was a handful to raise, and even at 21 has a difficult time understanding the connection of action and consequences. That is part of the syndrome. He doesn't think ahead at all. And then he feels badly about the results, continually. Risked his life 5 times in the past 4 years!! ack. That bewildered look is really familiar to me- cos these boys are GOOD- the wiring is just twisted a bit.
Our nephew has Asp. and it really wasn't caught until around age 10. Long story of a disfunctional family and inept parenting. Not to say that it caused it- just that had they been more involved in the child's life, they would have moved more quickly. They were really young and immature themselves.
You need a support group. There has to be one fairly near as this is becoming more and more common. It may be only once a month, but then you could also connect via phone or internet.
I really agree with Amanda about the support group. So helpful to have others who have or are going through the same thing to give you helpful advice about what's worked for them, and just to be there for emotional support.
That must be so frustrating and disheartening, Andrea! I have to give my vote to the diet suggestions. My nephew has a genetic condition but is also on the autistic spectrum. With his genetic condition as well as the autism, there wasn't much hope that he'd ever walk well, or ever speak. Once his parents changed his diet, it was night and day....he runs, and he speaks sentences (simple-and he's now 6), sings songs, he can engage in simple conversations...night and day.
Is there a girl (or several to rotate) who can come in and shadow him for a couple of hours in the afternoon so you can get something done, and she can alert you if there's anything going on that needs your immediate attention?
My heart goes out to you and your son. Hugs :)
May God's grace cover you and your family as you move forward to discover help for your son.
I have a friend (actually a couple) who are very familiar with the autism spectrum. They are consultants with several years of experience with autistic people from 0-26 years of age. If you are interested, let me know and I can pm or email you their contact information. I know they can do skype or phone calls too.
Sometimes it really helps to talk to someone who really 'gets' what you are experiencing and can offer help.
Also, I agree that attending a support group and getting some responsible young person that could be a 'mother's helper' to watch your son while you need to do other things around the house to help are great suggestions. Sometimes there are college students looking for some experience working in this arena who may also be of help.
Last edited by Gem; 02-04-2012 at 10:17 AM.
Oh Andrea - it really sounds like you have your hands full. Our hearts go out do you. These are all super good suggestions by the ladies here. I was very lucky with my two children and I thank the good Lord every day for that.
My daughter works with troubled youth and in her work, at lot of the kids just grew up in rotten homes and had no direction or love. At least you are giving him that otherwise it could turn out worse. She has discovered the same thing with some though - diet. Unfortunately, how we grow and make our food now-aways is more about the profit than the quality. I truly believe that's why there has been such a rise in things like Autism and cancer. She and a few others have started a support group for kids and parents that they call "Indigo" children. They are usually very sensitive and troubled. But it helps the kids to understand that they are not so "different" and part of the earth just as any one of us are. It also helps the parents deal with them without "losing" it. Your process is probably going to be a long and slow one, with baby steps, but because you are such supportive parents, I'm sure you will get there.
Andrea, I'm by no means an expert but I have worked with children on the autism spectrum. One thing that helps most all children is a schedule. If they know what they are doing next, the transitions, and the time on the current activity, go smoother. This by no means works overnight and takes lots of time for you to teach and model over and over again. With that said, here is a tool to use :
Take a manila(or any other folder) and some velcro with the sticky back.
On the inside of the folder make a little pocket on one side and on the other stick 2 strips of velcro.
Find some pictures of that stand for the activities you do daily. Routine is a key factor.
If you can laminate these activity pictures they will last longer then take a piece of velcro and adhere it to the back.
Now, line up the activities in the order that they will happen each day...routine.
Once the activity is done, take the picture and put it in the pocket.
Line them up again the next day and so on.
When you are going to have a change of routine, make sure you have a picture of what you are going to do and place it in the right place for the day.
If this is confusing, just let me know.
You should limit the activity to 5 min. periods until he is ready for you to add to that time span. You will need some help to do this because 5 min. increments is hard!
Sorry that you are going through this and I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.