“So I am new to understanding my child’s needs… I am a counselor and I understand mental health but not fully understanding of the spectrum yet… Nobody would listen when I would cry for help… My son has gotten in trouble so many times for doing this UNTIL, I learned about the this… So I hope to learn from everyone here….. The standing on the head and climbing to high places and dumping everything out of the linen closet just to sit in the small cabinet on the top shelf… Or the laundry basket on the couch…. All of these things I understand as sensory seeking… But do you allow it? I know that he no longer gets in trouble for it… But it scares me that he will get hurt….he has a hitting problem so I bought him a punching bag because I couldn’t get him to stop hitting so I thought redirecting the hitting… Instead he climbed to the top and sits on it. I feel like crying, finally seeing other mamas.”
So… every behavior has a reason… The important thing to do is try to understand WHY they’re doing it. Because once you figure out why, you can either help them to continue to do it safely, or give them another option.
Like with Tyler, once I’ve learned that there is just NO keeping him from climbing on things because he feels he NEEDS to be up high and have that sensory input, I allow him to do it, but I stay close by and make sure that he can get down on his own – safely. So that way if some day he climbs something and I’m not there to help him get down, he can figure it out himself. Plus, it helps build problem solving. So if he climbs, don’t just help him down… make him figure out how to do it himself, but be there to catch him if he falls. Does that make sense? Because you don’t want him to climb a tree and get hurt coming down… but in all honesty… there are some things that no matter how hard you try… kids are going to be kids.
Now if it’s SERIOUSLY life threatening – like running off and possibly running into traffic, we DO NOT allow that. The kids know they stick next to my side or hold my hand when we’re around traffic. They don’t understand cars can hurt them, but through repetition and “training” they’ve learned that’s just what they’re supposed to do, even with their understanding being limited and completely non-verbal.
Then there are things that can be avoided or redirected. My kids and most kids on the spectrum LOVE water. If they’re not getting enough time to play in water, they go looking for it elsewhere. Like toilets or spitting out juice to play in the “water”. Those things can be redirected or avoided. If you notice they’re doing something like that, give them a safer outlet. Like I’ll allow them to play in the tub for HOURS if they want to… when I notice more yucky water messes, I increase the “safe” water play activities.
Believe me… you are NOT alone… until we got the boys diagnosis, I just thought I was a horrible Mother. I had no clue why my kids were so different than other kids or why they were doing all these things. I just kept adjusting our lives… but once you start really learning and understanding them, things DO get easier. Not because they’re not doing the things that might annoy you… lol But because you’ve learned to avoid them, redirect them or aren’t upset any more because you know it’s something they just need to do in order to cope in a world that isn’t easy for them to deal with.
I hope this helps, even a little, and always feel free to ask or vent! If I don’t think I can answer something, there are PLENTY of page owners I can refer you to who might be able to!