WIC? with ASD parents

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WIC? with ASD parents

Post by KateB on Sat Apr 30, 2016 9:55 am

Hi there. I thought that I would start a topic for people that run WIC? for parents that have children on the spectrum/additional needs/diagnosis and see how things are going.

I started running a group a couple of weeks a go in Darwin and have found an interesting stumbling block that some of my parents have got themselves hung up on.

One parent in particular cannot get past the difference between when a child is in sensory melt down and when a child is being demanding and well, being a child. Has anyone put extra material in to the course to compensate for getting the parents to understand what the meltdown is about and how they can get their child out of defence mode and be able to communicate?

I am currently writing next weeks course topic (we will be doing week 3) and I am going to be concentrating on what is sensory meltdown, what is the sensory overload and what is defence mode, how this affects communication with the children and how detrimental it can be when we are thinking of their behaviours that we see this as something that needs to be punished. I was wondering if anyone has done this already before I start reinventing the wheel.

Thanks
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Re: WIC? with ASD parents

Post by Eddie Gallagher on Mon Jun 06, 2016 10:21 am

Although the reasons, intensity and frequency of meltdowns may be different for children on the Spectrum there are similarities to other children once they are in a rage. A few thoughts.
I think the distinction between Expressive Violence and Instrumental Violence is a useful one and very relevant to those on the Spectrum. We tend to view violence by younger children or by the disabled as Expressive but they can be using it instrumentally. The purpose might be to get people to back off and leave them alone more than to get parents to give in. Although the distinction is useful in practice it's often a combination of the two.
Once they are in a rage consequences and threats are not likely to work. However, knowing that there will be consequences can prevent an escalation in the future. I sometimes hear both parents and professionals say that consequences don't work on children with ASD (parents say it about other 'difficult' children too). This is misleading and dangerous. If there is a reward for behaviour (which might be getting others to leave them alone, attention or a feeling of power) the behaviour will continue and may escalate over time. If there are negative consequences the behaviour usually extinguishes over time - but it might take a looong time for some kids.
On the other hand, occasionally children with ASD or an ID do respond very quickly. And ASD individuals tend to like very clear rules and predictability.
If there are no consequences for abusive behaviour the child tends to lose respect for the parents. Consequences also affect modelling by other children in the family.
On the Axe-wielding Maniac Anger scale most people say they stop caring around 7 or 8. So while a child is in a rage (or a melt-down) is not the time to give consequences, this often inflames the situation. They need to know that there will be consequences but the details should be given later (and if there are 2 parents it should be a joint decision, coming from both).
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Re: WIC? with ASD parents

Post by Louise Oliver on Mon Jun 06, 2016 5:54 pm

I have taken a similar approach to that of Eddie. I find that encouraging the parents to actively take a step back when their child is in a melt down due to being overwhelmed etc has helped the parents feel like they are still in a position of active control of the situation and not - giving in. Then as Eddie has said once the situation has calmed down it can be appropriately addressed - whether it is a consequence or creating a plan for prevention with their child.


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Re: WIC? with ASD parents

Post by KateB on Sun Aug 28, 2016 10:18 pm

The first course that I was doing has now concluded, and I am about to run course 2, starting in October.

I ended up doing a section on "the sensory funnel" and talking about how ASD kids can go in to defensive mode and shut down. This is the stage when you can see that they are going from their acting up to get their own way to loosing it and it going from tantrum to meltdown. By tracking backwards for this one parent, she could then understand what the cause was of the horrendous back from school first half hour that she had every day. Once we did the exercise of thinking about the signs that we can pick up from our children before they go into full meltdown she got the whole concept of arguing with the child and saying if he carried on he would loose more computer time etc just meant that he carried on escalating.

The next course I am running has 2 parents who are diagnosed ASD themselves, so it will be an interesting course again. The feedback from the first one has been very positive, and parents attending the first one have recommended people to attend the second course which is always a good sign
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