Single Moms Raising Autistic Sons

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Things have been getting better lately for us. I tried the techniques that all my dear friends had recommended and they all worked!!!! I tried the bribery with the tiny M&M's which worked well because I would give him them immediately after he accomplished what I had told him to do for example putting on his shoes and jacket and going out the door. I would give him one with the completion of each task and he liked that of course and I did too because it made things go so smoothly. When he did the limp noodle bit I told him that I would drag him or he could walk and he still laid there on the floor so I dragged him out the door but the next challenge is getting him down a flight of stairs. So, I just waited until he at least sat on the top step and helped him to slide down on his rump. This did become quite tricky because at times he would manuver such that it would throw me off balance and I almost fell down the stairs. So, we are working on that part. I tried making a game out of it but he was already in meltdown mode and didn't want to laugh and play at that moment. The dragging worked great even though he made it look like I was torturing him horribly or like he was being a spoiled brat having a fit over something and let me tell you, that is how I felt. I felt like my child was being a brat and I nearly cried because I felt like I was being manipulated like a marionette. A puppet on a string is what it feels like lately and I must gain control over these situations. I also tried the : you do ___ and then you get____. I tried the: you do____ and you get to go to____ and it didn't work quite as well as I would have liked. I told him that if went out the door and to the car then we could go to (one of his favorite stores ie...Wal-Mart or Fred Meyers) but maybe my timing was off but he didn't respond to that as well. Funny thing is that it works for his teacher at school, of course. That is exactly what she recommended that I do when he does the limp noodle bit. Maybe he just knows that he can push my buttons and mommy will nearly cry and eventually attempt to carry him out the door. It's as though he gets some enjoyment out of me carrying him out the door and waiting for him to get down the stairs and then dragging him to the car. My higher thinking tells me that he is not enjoying any part of it any more than I am. I believe that this situation is a work in progress and I know that I have got to teach him that mommy's buttons are not going to be pushed and that he cannot manipulate me anymore! That said, I am going to continue to work on ME because I am the teacher and it is up to me to do what is best for him and for ME.
I greatly appreciate all the suggestions and I will continue to listen to them and to you, my friends, because that's what this whole blog thing is for me a network of friends helping one another.
As far as the sleeping goes, I started him back on the melatonin and it is helping him sleep through the night but I still give him the 1/2 Clonidine because the doctor told me that the Clonidine is supposed to be safer than anything else but I can't help but wonder that if it is so darn safe then why isn't it an over-the-counter drug like Benadryl. I should have asked him that but didn't think of it at the time. I am going to call him tomorrow and ask him or ask my pharmacist. Oh, by the way, the Calm Child did help to calm him down but didn't seem to help him sleep through the night. I will keep them on hand for days when he is feeling overwhelmed and perhaps a bit too energetic and bouncing off the walls.


Mr Ornery said...

I look at the photo and I see a happy, healthy boy which is a remarkable reflection on you, Lora. I have said before and I say again, I doubt one parent in a hundred, a thousand, or more could handle days that you consider 'routine'. Never lose sight of the fact that you are one heck of a mom to Griffin and it shows.

K.C.'sMommy said...

Hey there Lora,
I agree with Mr. O. Griffin is smart, healthy, cute and absolutely delicious:) He has a terrific, dedicated Mommy who is helping him every step of the way.

Here's to a goodnight's sleep friend!

K.C.'sMommy said...

Ooops, I nearly forgot, Griffin looks so much like a big boy with his haircut! He is a handsome fella!

Mom to Mr. Handsome said...

Glad the M&M idea worked. It's so hit or miss sometimes. Sometimes one thing will work for Gabe, but the next it doesn't. It really keeps you on your toes! Hope you guys get back on schedule with your sleeping!

Take Care,

P.S. I still can't imagine not having a Target near me. Do you have Walmart at least or something similar?

Mom to Mr. Handsome said...

Oh! I wanted to also say, with Gabe we don't drag him when he does the limp noodle, but rather hold him up by his armpits with his feet resting on the ground. We guide his feet with our feet, so when we say walk, we mean it whether he wants to or not. He normally gives up and walks. I'm not sure if Griffin would be too big for this trick.

Good luck and keep up the good work!

Lora said...

Hi Kristin, I wish that I could hold Griffin up by his armpits and help guide his feet but he is too big for me to do that. If only I could go to the gym and start weight training again so that I could be strong enough to handle him better. Thank you so much for your support, I really appreciate it. Oh yes, we do have a Wal-Mart and Griffin loves it.

Melissa H said...

So glad that things are getting easier!! The first couple of times you tell Griffin that you are going to drag him, he doesn't really know what you mean. Believe me, after the first couple of times he'll get himself up because being dragged on the floor with your arm up in the air isn't a pleasant experience!! LOL! I'm going to bet that you won't have to do the stair thing again. He'll stand up before you get there.

Autistic kids are all about controlling situations so that they can establish their comfort zone. Unfortunately for them, they sometimes have to adhere to the rules of the world (and Mommy!) Yes, it IS about control and pushing your buttons. Believe it! You are doing a GREAT job, Lora!

Anonymous said...

Clonidine is not sold over the counter because it is an antihypertensive drug. It is used with autistic/ADHD kids to calm them down but it is used primarily to decrease blood pressure especially in the elderly. It could have severe side effects (severe hypotensive episodes) especially in children, if used incorrectly or too frequently. I use clonidine quite frequently in my nursing practice and it should always be used carefully and under a doctor's guidance.
Just thought I would answer your question because you sounded irritated that benadryl was OTC and clonidine is not. Clonidine will probably never be sold over the counter, no antihypertensives are.
Good luck with Griffin, you are a great Mommy!

Lora said...

Dear anonymous reader, Thank you so much for answering my question about the Clonidine. That does help me out a lot knowing that information about the drug. I feel much better about it now. Have a great day!

Sam I Am said...

Also in regards to Clonidine and the anonymous above too, we go in regularly to get Sam's blood pressure checked. Our pediatrician won't prescribe it for more than 3 refills at a time for that reason. He had also told us that it is one of the only sleep aids actually tested with autsitic children 2 and older and to be proven safe. I had been using Melatonin for well over a year with no success before we went on Clonidine. We were prescribed from 1/4 a pill to a whole pill. We slowly had to work our way to a whole pill before we saw a significant change. Sam is on .1 mg. He is 4 1/2 and weighs 38 pounds. Just a reference for whatever you a doing now. I am just glad things are going better. I may need to try the M and M stuff too. :)

Jenn said...

Sleep sounds good to me right now. I'm glad the Calm Child helps a little bit for Griffin. I should get some of that for Matthew.
We also do the mini M&M rewards - but they do tend to make him rather hyper. I've been using melatonin at night 1mg liquid and it works like a charm most nights. About once every few weeks we skip it to see if it is really working or just our imagination (it really works) and also so he doesn't develop a tolerance to it. (He's 4 yrs old and 36lbs so you have an idea of his size too) Walmart is a great incentive for us - although lately he's been so difficult I haven't wanted to take him anywhere.
Griffin looks great with his new haircut :)
take care

NebraskaMommy25 said...

SO GLAD to hear some of the new strategies you are trying are successful!