33. #RespiteforParents

My husband thought getting the children looked after by anyone else was a no-no.  But certain organizations can do in home help/care. So that is great and preferable to me  and DH. It took a long time to organize.

At the time I had just got accepted to the National Disability Insurance Scheme so was pleased to be able to take my son to the Occupational Therapy and Speech Therap/Psychology that he needed. I spent allot of time driving the kiddo to alot of appointments plus home duties and school. DH was at home looking after the younger son.  I remember that DH got ill, some atopic virus that no-one knew anything about, and had to go to hospital, I remember my Mum was just out of hospital for a serious issue. And a few months later my father was to be admitted to hospital for  cancer.

While I called around and kept on making repeat phone calls to ask for appointment times some agencies weren’t prepared to do respite with Autistic kids. Either organisations or they don’t have the training for it or they are not equipped with the appropriate resources.

When I finally did get some help organized it gave me a few hours where I did not have to worry about the children. Where I could do something for myself.  Finding good carers trained in Autism is hard, when you have a good one, you don’t want to give them up easy.

My husband and I thought sending the children away to a variety respite house was too weird and uncomfortable, it’s too out of our parenntal control. We can’t see the children or check up on them. So things are good at the moment.

Autism Respite assistance:

AutismSA respite services, has a respite house and does in home assistance

Anglicare also do in home assistance and have a respite house for short stays and they have school holiday programs.

Domestic help with DirectCare who also do in home assistance

“MyTime” for Parents support group funded by Australian government, eTrinity Gdns group on a Wednesday morn

Carer Support agency has Parent Support group once per month

 

 

 

 

32. Are you an #AutismParent and feeling #Isolated, or #Depressed, or #Overwhelmed?

Don’t you hate it when you get up in the morning. You did not sleep that great! And there is this piercing/jabbing pain by your right shoulder, and when you raise your shoulder blade to test it out ouch! Oh I need to do some movement exercises I need to get a wheat bag on that. I need to take a panadol for that. And you don’t because you forgot because you get up and do the regular motions and all the time there is this niggling pain in your shoulder.  You have to go through the action sequences of morning routine w/time management skills too! I’m thinking maybe my shoulder is linked to Tennis elbow, hell! I don’t even play tennis! But you know I had the same thing before when I was only carrying my baby so ……yeah! Chew on that!

Wow! I have been down in the dumps about  how hard it is  being a mother of two kids with Autism.

I have felt like a robot.

I was just going through the motions of daily life because I had to keep things going. While I wanted to fall apart and just stop! Trying to keep my ship afloat with all my family in it.

Trying to keep the bills paid and buy the food as well as get the petrol for the car.

Trying to encourage my children to actually be social and play with other children. It has taken some time.

Or even quite possibly be on time to school, which much to the kids credit they do try hard to do what I say and we are at school, on time, allot of the time.

There just does not seem to be enough time. Does this cycle ever stop!

And it is nobodys fault there is no-one to blame or thank for my hardship! I decided to have two children and was lucky enough to be able to.

It’s just bloody well hard.

Rushing out to the shops to buy groceries or  trying to fit in picking up wood from the woodshop for the fire inbetween drop off or picking the kids up from school and something else! Always having  one million things that could be done. Being tired, needing a rest but not being able or feeling able to. I prefer to do the shopping by myself as when I take the kids they always want something. I don’t have enough money to buy anything in the shop for them.

Not being able to get a goood nights sleep because the boys Nanna or Grandpa are having health issues and hospitalizations or clinic appointments. Or Hubby has gone to hospital for something. The support base is crumbling away from me at times. What to do? Well I recognize that we all need to take care of ourselves so I got respite care services in to help.

 

 

 

2. Ok, so let’s talk about #AutisticFixation or #ObsessiveCompulsiveDisorder

My son finds it hard to get out the door to perform the daily routine. It’s hard for him. He gets physically anxious and repeats a number of rituals before he attempts to cross the thresh-hold between inside and outside of the door. Is this a Sensory Processing issue or Anxiety or a bit of both? Once over the mantle of the front door Anxiety spikes. From my observations the rituals  seem to be re-enactments of the Pixar movie called “Wally”, where when Wally wanted to leave his trailor he went on top of the roof and opened himself out bearing his chest and arms to the sun to get energy from the sun ie a solar battery. Our trailor is our house. And yes he would get up on the roof if he could, he loves it up there when he gets a chance.

This process does take some time and can be complicated by his little brother, who when feeling mischievous little brother knowingly upsets the door routine, the result is “Oh no! Now I have to do it all again!”.

I can feel the clock ticking cause its time to go to school but I also understand that if he does not go through the beginning ritual then he thinks

“Oh no! I’m going to have a bad day!” and although I point out that things are changing all the time and nothing stays the same it doesn’t matter.

He is fixated in his head that he will have a bad day . I point out that good and bad things happen all the time and whether or not he does the ritual does not make bad things happen. Doing it makes him feel better! To cope with a day at school filled with variables that he can’t control.

It’s hard to see him go through this but this physical action that he seems to need to perform for self motivation to do something seems to be what needs to happen and time just went out the window.

Sometimes he will not go in the class room or into a door, or he will not move and demand that other people do certain things and when told they will not do it, he just stands in one place barking orders!

Also he seems to need to walk/pace in school class, this is a sign of coping with anxiety of being at school, or learning. He does not sit down sometimes at school.

When he fixates on some idea that he just can’t get past I question him and say “Are you fixating…?” Or “Are you respecting me?” and this seems to cut through the fixation and bring him into the here and now or whatever I am asking him to do.

 

 

 

31. #Autism and #SensoryProcessing: #ClothesandSocks

My Kiddo did not like to wear his socks. He hated feeling the seems in his socks. This was frustrating for me! So instead of tearing my hair out:

So I turned the socks inside out! When I finally did get online to order the seamless socks that you could buy, which people talked about, Well, I could not order them anywhere and they were pretty much always out of stock. I just turned the socks inside out which did the trick!

By the time I had gotten a pair of seamless socks my son said he did not like them anyway!

I was finding it hard to get my kiddo’s shoes and socks on, I was finding it hard to get clothes on my child until I realized that the weave of the fabric of the clothes was not suitable for him. The material weave was not breathing enough. What I mean is that polyester fibre weaves of clothes nowadays make people hotter. Cotton clothes breathe easier and they absorb perspiration. This means if the clothes the children are being told to put on are not feeling right because they are too hot well then this is why the don’t feel right. The clothes may feel itchy, hot, etc. and the child does not have the words to explain this to you.

My kiddo had a few thermo regulation issues, it could be freezing outside and he would be walking around in a pair of boxer shorts. He hated putting his socks on, I looked at the label which said polyester. Its hard to find cotton anything nowadays. But cotton and wool weaves it must be. I have found a few cotton socks in Target, David Jones has pretty expensive cotton ones too.

Also cutting the tags off kids clothes may help if kid is bothered by tags.

Hopefully this will be a helpful hint for parents/caregivers of your child with similar sensitivities. Cheers Jane

 

 

 

3. Ok, so let’s talk about the #Elephantintheroom: #Poo, #toilet training, #Autismand #Sensory Processing Disorder.

My dear son did not toilet train  early or before turning 3 years old. While he eliminated in the loo he needed reassurrance that everything was alright and he was following the correct way to do it. If you are a parent or caregiver and hearing  “Mum, is all the Poo off my bum?”, “Mum, wipe my bum!” and you know they can do it themselves,  then in our cicumstance I felt this was a Sensory Processing Disorder and part of Autism Spectrum. It was a worry for me because I was scared he was asking and showing people at school or in public and I had to find a way to  fix this. I did it by using a wall mirror in the bathroom so my child could self check. Hopefully this would instill in him a sense of self confidence.

It took me, as a parent, a while to realize that a mirror in the bathroom may do the trick. The bathroom idea was not an idea that had been provided to me by any therapists I was seeing. It was not until aged 7 and a half he was totally independantly toilet trained and he did not ask me those questions.

I think Sensory Processing has allot to do with it. I feel for parents going through this issue with their child. I know I felt isolated when I was going through this issue with my son. I would like to share a few strategies that I used  while toilet training my son, which you may find useful.

    1. A corner mirror  in the bathroom so your kiddo can visually see the state of his cleanliness. (So when the kiddo has finished wiping and says  that he still feel unclean and perhaps wiping many more times than he has to. A problem because kiddo may irritate his bottom tissues through abrasive toilet paper, you may run out of loo paper and toilet drain becomes blocked.)
    2. Reading favorite stories to your child while they are on the loo to make the experience of sitting on the loo more emotionally comforting.
    3. Realizing that the kiddo may feel there is material still left on bottom because of Sensory Processing Disorder difficulties. So  an explanation to the kiddo about what he is feeling or some cream may help. The kiddo may feel very frustrated by the whole loo process and not want to go at all.
    4. When the kiddo says “Mum, wipe my Bum!”. Mum says “No, you do it! and the kiddo says “But I forgot how?” you can use laminated compix or photo’s in bathroom for bathroom routine.

Realize that the child could be getting Bum sweat, which possibly could be percieved as feeling like there is something remaing. And also when kiddo gets anxious the body can sweat.

  1. Cartoons are also great instructional routines to set the bathroom routine in place.
  2. Finally, I was right there with him, to help him, and I told him how proud I was of him and then when he looked at me with those beautiful eyes I just repeated the mantra over and over, I know you can do this, I trust you. And it did not work all the time for fully independant toileting experiance. But one step at a time is all you can do.

Toilet training your Autistic child can take a long time, longer than usual and two Autistic siblings can develop at different rates and toilet train at different times. I felt as though I had explained to my son  more than 1000 times how to do it then I realized that by challenging  the Sensory processing difficulty with the his own visual input may be helpful, and it was and we use it all the time. Hopefully this is helpful to some other parents.

 

 

 

30. We have to #trimyournails! No-way Mum! #Sensory Processing issues

Soaking the hands in the water of the bath softens the nails up so they are not hard  to the cut of the scissors. My dear son hates his nails being cut! He dreads it and  Dad and I dread it because he perceives the cutting of the nails as painful! It’s agony for him. But, I as a Neurotypical do not understand I know it is painful for him. It would be great to leave them but we can’t as we have found out from experience that he can scratch himself or the nails will grow too long, get brittle and snap off!!! Oh for goodness sakes!

Once when we were putting on his  wetsuit to go in the ocean at Port Elliot, we were getting ready for a surf-lifesaving class. While putting the tight suit on, his nail of the big toe totally snapped off exposing the fleshy underbite. It Bled! This was all too much. It was painful! The associated screaming and crying went on for longer than you could have reasonably thought possible. We only had a day tent for him to curl up into.

Eventually he did join his group much to encouragement of  his Mum. In order to join the group he had to do some walking. He would not walk on the sand. He’d had to take the most difficult of paths to get there and I was worried he might injure his foot again. I did not want him to embark on the loud exposee’ again. Regardless of what I think, he has worked out that raising his voice and screaming demands at Mum is going to get him what he wants.

He was encouraged to put his damaged toenail in the water to help it heal and this of-course pre-empted another explosion of loudness (screaming and crying) from my dear son. Oh, this is so boringly normal to us! As I had been commanded to go back to campo and get his shoes or something, I was not there when it happened and came back to find a sobbing little boy on a rock! I know that sea water would help but to my son (with broken toe nail!) it was devastating and a bad day!

Moral of the story: My experience has taught my regardless of crying at home: keep nails short as Stressful Shit can happen with nails when out in public.

 

 

 

29. Can we #washyourhair? #Sensory Processing issues

NO! Ok well your hair needs to be washed and your nails cut. When my dear son was young he would scream through a hair wash, Mum: It’s upsetting but you have to do it! Kid: I don’t want to get water in my eyes! And the screaming…it rattles you! We realised that putting a towel to his forehead to protect his eyes was somewhat helpful. The quickest wash possible was always the best. Getting a two in one shampoo/conditioner was much more preferable than individual shampoo and conditioner bottles. This is normal for us.