Newbie needing advice for autistic son

For issues specific to autism / Asperger Syndrome.
Hi
I’m am new on here so just thought I would introduce myself in the hope for some helpful hints and tips for my son.

So I am the mother of a 13 year old high functioning boy with autism. He is such a bright spark ⚡️ he is however quite immature socially and emotionally.

He has throughout his schooling had so many issues with rage, anger, anxiety. This mix has seen him become quite unpredictable. He massively overreacts to situations in school which then see him in bigger trouble. He can be loud and disruptive in lessons especially if there are annoyances which could be child or teacher related.

We have sadly had days when his temper has had him destroy classrooms.

Now what I really want to teach him is how to recognise when he is getting ready to over react and teach himself how to calm/regulate himself before he does. If you have any advice I would be so grateful. We are willing to try anything.

Bless him he said he doesn’t know how to stop it and it’s not until after that he thinks ‘why did I do that’. It’s quite sad really.

At home he is much the normal teenager with a few little quirks. He is happy and loving.

I get regular emails from school telling me of his behaviour and rarely get positive feed back and this is starting to have an effect on my health.
As your son is high functioning, I assume he is attending mainstream school - is that correct?

I used to be a teacher before I had to retire on ill-health grounds, although my background is with primary aged pupils. I first taught in mainstream, but moved over to special schools, teaching children with severe learning difficulties and / or autism. Unfortunately, outbursts are fairly common in my experience of working with autistic children, especially when some kind of frustration is present. Even in a mainstream school, there should be plenty of support worked in to help your son both academically and socially - this includes behaviour management.

I completely understand that having constant negative communication from the school will be having an impact on you, and this was something I was very conscious of even in my early days of teaching. The mainstream schools I taught in were what you could describe as "a bit rough", so I had plenty of behaviour issues on my hands on a daily basis. However, unless something really serious happened, or if certain behaviour issues were becoming too regular, I made a point of not contacting parents to report poor behaviour. Instead, I did phone parents to report if their child had been particularly well-behaved, or made a significant achievement. To be honest, when the parents heard me on the phone, they told me their hearts sank for a second, as they were expecting yet another bad report (something they had unfortunately got used to from previous teachers). It usually made their day to hear the good things about their child.

If I were you, I would arrange an appointment with your son's form tutor / head of year / SENCO /or all 3!. Be honest in your frustrations and tell them the impact these regular negative communications are having on your emotional well being. Ask what has been put in place to support your son, and what they have planned to prevent such incidents occurring in the future. I would also be quite frank in asking that the staff involved with your son are given some training in autism, or if no training is available that arrangements are made for them to spend some time in a special school for autistic children of your son's age (I had mainstream teachers spend the day with me on several occasions to learn different approaches). You also need to explain how he is completely different at home, so there is obviously something about the school environment or the need for more support that is causing these outbursts.

Perhaps have a look around the National Autistic Society Website - if you search "Extra help at school in England - National Autistic Society" you will find a page that explains the level of support that SHOULD be provided for your son.

I hope he starts to get the level of support he is entitled to, and that this will help him remain calm at school.

Best of luck x
Chocaholic wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:56 pm
As your son is high functioning, I assume he is attending mainstream school - is that correct?

I used to be a teacher before I had to retire on ill-health grounds, although my background is with primary aged pupils. I first taught in mainstream, but moved over to special schools, teaching children with severe learning difficulties and / or autism. Unfortunately, outbursts are fairly common in my experience of working with autistic children, especially when some kind of frustration is present. Even in a mainstream school, there should be plenty of support worked in to help your son both academically and socially - this includes behaviour management.

I completely understand that having constant negative communication from the school will be having an impact on you, and this was something I was very conscious of even in my early days of teaching. The mainstream schools I taught in were what you could describe as "a bit rough", so I had plenty of behaviour issues on my hands on a daily basis. However, unless something really serious happened, or if certain behaviour issues were becoming too regular, I made a point of not contacting parents to report poor behaviour. Instead, I did phone parents to report if their child had been particularly well-behaved, or made a significant achievement. To be honest, when the parents heard me on the phone, they told me their hearts sank for a second, as they were expecting yet another bad report (something they had unfortunately got used to from previous teachers). It usually made their day to hear the good things about their child.

If I were you, I would arrange an appointment with your son's form tutor / head of year / SENCO /or all 3!. Be honest in your frustrations and tell them the impact these regular negative communications are having on your emotional well being. Ask what has been put in place to support your son, and what they have planned to prevent such incidents occurring in the future. I would also be quite frank in asking that the staff involved with your son are given some training in autism, or if no training is available that arrangements are made for them to spend some time in a special school for autistic children of your son's age (I had mainstream teachers spend the day with me on several occasions to learn different approaches). You also need to explain how he is completely different at home, so there is obviously something about the school environment or the need for more support that is causing these outbursts.

Perhaps have a look around the National Autistic Society Website - if you search "Extra help at school in England - National Autistic Society" you will find a page that explains the level of support that SHOULD be provided for your son.

I hope he starts to get the level of support he is entitled to, and that this will help him remain calm at school.

Best of luck x
Hey
Thanks for your reply, my son is in a mainstream school. To be honest they have a brilliant ARP which is why we choose that school out of the others that are much closer. But I do think you have a point with the training needs of some of the teachers. As most of the problem arises when my son accesses lessons in the main part of school. Sadly because his reactions are big and loud he becomes the main focus of attention and not necessarily those that may have started the situation. This is a big big bare of his and he feels very hard done by. I do try and explain that as he is so loud and so disruptive that the teachers have no option but to focus on him. I need a magic wand to help him count to 5 and think before he reacts.
I do have a meeting at his school. It feel like we just go round in circles. I think until teachers try and understand him and how he thinks nothing will change sadly.
He is 13 but has low maturity so we are hoping that he will catch up to his peers soon.

I will definitely check out the website, thanks

Liz
Hi Liz,
you have had very comprehensive reply from Chocoholic (I have the same professional background as you, Chocoholic.)

Do school use anything like the 5 point scale or similar to help your son? It isn't a quick fix, but is a system for helping the child to learn to recognise when they are feeling frustrated etc and to implement strategies to help themselves.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=kari+dunn+ ... _ss_i_1_10
I'm most familiar with the 5 point scale, but the author has also brought out a book for teenagers and adults. Might be worth a look.

Melly1
Is your son an only child or has he got a brother/sister?
I think you'll find as he gets older he will learn how to calm himself down.
For now he needs to learn to talk more quietly and then he will be less disruptive in the classroom. Does he talk loudly at home?
Wonder if at least some of the "temper" episodes are in fact actually meltdowns due to being absolutely overwhelmed by environment/surroundings which have gone unchecked/gotten out of hand. As well as what measures the school actually has in place to accommodate these situations as well as your sons general level of need.

Does he have a meltdown kit, and has there been much support in trying to help him learn how to identify/manage them when they occur?

If the staff at the school don't actually know what their doing (training) then thats potentially a big problem as well.. could even be why the episodes are so severe if the teachers don't even know what they are supposed to do when they occur.
Unless you really trust the school, is there any chance they are purposely fanning the flames (making little effort, kicking up a stink about behaviour) when your son has a bad day, simply to "cop out" of putting provisions in place to accommodate him?

Its not unheard of.. its why you see so many young persons affected by asd this way being wrongly suspended etc
Melly1 wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 12:45 pm
Hi Liz,
you have had very comprehensive reply from Chocoholic (I have the same professional background as you, Chocoholic.)

Do school use anything like the 5 point scale or similar to help your son? It isn't a quick fix, but is a system for helping the child to learn to recognise when they are feeling frustrated etc and to implement strategies to help themselves.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=kari+dunn+ ... _ss_i_1_10
I'm most familiar with the 5 point scale, but the author has also brought out a book for teenagers and adults. Might be worth a look.

Melly1
Thanks for this, I’ll definitely check this out x
Rhona wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 5:16 pm
Is your son an only child or has he got a brother/sister?
I think you'll find as he gets older he will learn how to calm himself down.
For now he needs to learn to talk more quietly and then he will be less disruptive in the classroom. Does he talk loudly at home?
His is the youngest of 2. They have a 10 year age gap. His big sis is brilliant with him.

He is only really loud in extremes of emotion whether it is over excitements or anger/frustration.

I think his ARP manager is under the impression that he will change with maturity. I have fingers crossed for this. He has a bit of catching up with his peers as he is quite young emotionally.
Honey Badger wrote:
Mon Oct 28, 2019 12:32 am
Wonder if at least some of the "temper" episodes are in fact actually meltdowns due to being absolutely overwhelmed by environment/surroundings which have gone unchecked/gotten out of hand. As well as what measures the school actually has in place to accommodate these situations as well as your sons general level of need.

Does he have a meltdown kit, and has there been much support in trying to help him learn how to identify/manage them when they occur?

If the staff at the school don't actually know what their doing (training) then thats potentially a big problem as well.. could even be why the episodes are so severe if the teachers don't even know what they are supposed to do when they occur.
Unless you really trust the school, is there any chance they are purposely fanning the flames (making little effort, kicking up a stink about behaviour) when your son has a bad day, simply to "cop out" of putting provisions in place to accommodate him?

Its not unheard of.. its why you see so many young persons affected by asd this way being wrongly suspended etc
Could you tell me what a meltdown kit is please.

He is in a large mainstream secondary school. The ARP department are amazing, but I do believe some of the teachers are not quite so patient with him or as understanding. But I do think having to cope with Behaviours in a class of 30 must be so difficult
Forgive the wording I was a bit rushed at the time,

The kit can be a single item, or series of items usually found at home a person can keep nearby to alleviate high stress/over-stimulation/sensory overload.. the closest thing to a common ground is probably the noise cancelling headphones/ear buds but it does vary from person to person and it does depend whether the school would even allow for them (if one of those items is a tablet device, etc)

It just sounds like even though the school have allowed your son to have an education there they aren't making much of an effort, staff becoming frustrated with him when problems occur is neither professional nor helping anyone.. their supposed to set the bar and other pupils will view the negative attitude as acceptable behaviour/conduct.

Have CAHM's had any involvement in any of this? Not just in supporting your son but yourself, I mean just because your son is at school does not mean you don't worry about him every second you are not with him, you should be able to have a break too.