Need advice a lot going on

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-22-2004
Need advice a lot going on
Sun, 06-06-2010 - 11:39am

Sorry this might be long.

We are going through a lot right now. My husband lost his job, which sucks but we are doing okay. However, this has added to an already existing environment of change. Because of this we have to cut out extra expenses. So the last day of daycare will be this Wednesday and they will be home with daddy until he finds a job and then they will be with grandma until the new school year when she will start kindy. Aria is not really getting it that the school year is going to be over on a conscious level but she is starting to react to the changes.

She has her graduation ceremony coming up on Friday, dress rehearsal for her dance recital on Friday night and then her recital on Saturday night. This is a lot for anyone and she does not do well with change or stress. At home, we do not really go on about any of these upcoming events other than telling her about the schedule changes. In school, however, they are constantly practicing. She does not practice but knows that it is going on and at dance it has been constant drilling of the routines (which she cannot physically keep up with due to poor gross motor skills, but she wants to do it). So she knows that there is a lot going on.

At home, she has been impossible. She is regressing by the minute. She has gone back to tantrums, watching the same cartoon over and over, acting out about everything, and trying to control every move of her little sister. Her speech is going back to babbling and speaking her version of spanish (all of her language skills test about 3 years above her age and when she regresses her language it is out of comfort and she does not lose any skills, so this is just a behavioral issue and not a huge concern). I am really worried about her, well and our sanity! Anytime that we bring up the recital or graduation she tells us that she does want to do it. I could really care less if she does it or not, but if she wants to do it, then she will.

My question is....I am pretty sure that this is typical behavior in children with asd's, but is there anything that we can do to help her deal with all of this change? Also, after this is over, can we expect her behavior to calm down? I just want to help her deal with all of this. We have not been discouraging her from some of these regressive behaviors (wanting to watch the same thing over and over, dressing in many layers (she does this when she is nervous and it makes her feel more secure) or anything that will not hurt her or anyone else), we are trying to make her feel secure in this changing environment, we are discussing feelings and trying to help her understand her feelings (most of the time she will just tune out during this) and trying to keep our home calm and routine. If there are any tips that anyone can give us, we would appreciate it.



iVillage Member
Registered: 10-08-2009
Sun, 06-06-2010 - 3:39pm

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-07-2008
Mon, 06-07-2010 - 5:41am

I'm sorry things are tough, you have a lot on your plate right now. I think what you are describing sounds very typical, from my own experience and from talking to the parents of other kids with ASD. What I found sometimes was that preparing too much in advance was both meaningless and anxiety provoking for my son. Sometimes, with the best of intentions, the school (or we) would give him a lot of notice of forthcoming changes (eg moving up a class, or a forthcoming holiday or class trip). What my DS needed to know was what was going to happen ON THAT DAY, and sometimes, broken down into IN THE NEXT HOUR and the next 10 minutes etc. Then he needed a lot of detail, but it was also important to be honest about things that I didn't know or couldn't predict - and to give him strategies to deal with that (eg if you don't know where to sit on the coach then ask a teacher, if you finish early read a book until you are picked up, etc). We found, for example when we emigrated which you'd think would be a huge huge upheaval for any kid, let alone one with an ASD, that he was *fine* with the big change so long as we didn't talk about it much until the day before. Then he wanted to know specifics: when the removals van would arrive, where his stuff would be, when we would eat etc. He didn't want to know about 'changing school' or 'moving house' because that meant nothing to him, except that it might mean change and that make him anxious.

Changes are a fact of life and our kids need extra support in coping with them, but I think it's a mistake to try and prepare them too far in advance, and it's also a mistake to try and *shield* them from change because they do need to learn these skills, however hard they are. I've found that minimising discussion of big changes until you are actually *there* and can break down the individual steps, and find strategies to cope with the individual steps is helpful in reducing anxiety - both his and mine!

It can also help to try and talk to your kid about what they, specifically, are worried about because it might be something completely different to what you think. I have lost count of the times I have tried to prepare Euan for something by focusing on what I think is important (eg having the right stuff, getting to the right place, being prepared) only to discover that he is out of his head with anxiety over which socks to wear. And that once we have sorted out the socks issue, everything else falls into place. Socks aren't that important to me...:-)


Kirsty, mum to Euan (11, Aspergers Syndrome) Rohan (7, NT) and Maeve (4, NT)

"My definition of housework is to sweep the room with a glance"

"My definition of housework is to sweep the room with a glance"

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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-22-2004
Mon, 06-07-2010 - 2:24pm

Thank you both for the wonderful ideas. I think that I am going to make a picture schedule for her, but limit it to what is going to happen that day. So I will start it Wednesday morning with the last day of school. In the past we have used velcro for the pictures and she enjoys putting them up herself. So I am figuring we will do wake up
then something to signify saying goodbye to the school
daddy picking her up
play time
play time

Any ideas on how to represent saying goodbye to school would be good.

Thanks so much,

Aria 5 years old (PDD-NOS)

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 06-07-2010 - 3:54pm

Could you get a picture of the school with her teachers or someone from school waving good-bye?