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Advice needed about difficult autistic preteen.

(12 Posts)
Nandalot Wed 22-Mar-23 13:33:45

Looking for one friendly advice. DD lives with us with her twins, DGS has been diagnosed with autism and school are raising the possibility that DGD is too. Both high functioning. They are just 12.
Both are having trouble attending school. School is supportive but I wonder how long their patience will last.
The main problem is DGS’s rages which are becoming more aggressive and violent as he gets older. They’re usually triggered by being asked to o things he does not want to do and by things such as the internet going down while playing a video game.
Does anyone have any devise or experience of this. Are there any steps we need take? We are at our wits end.

GrannyGravy13 Wed 22-Mar-23 14:16:06

If the rages are at school I suggest a meeting with his SENCO, one of our GS’s has autism, very high functioning. We found his meltdowns increased with the onset of puberty. The school was 90% understanding.

With the agreement if the head and his SENCO, he had some laminated sheets to show the teacher when he was feeling that he he couldn’t explain how he felt. This has really worked very well.

At home it’s just a case of lots of love, understanding and continuous explanations. GS is now in year 10 and things are getting better, he understands and excepts himself.

MiniMoon Wed 22-Mar-23 14:40:07

We've reached this stage with our grandchildren. My 14 Yr old grandson recently broke the living room door while having a meltdown. He is becoming more difficult to deal with as he is tall and strong.
My DD took him out of school when he was 7 or 8 as the school couldn't cope with him. She has done a marvellous job home educating him and his 3 siblings.
My SiL is taking time away from his work in order to be at home to help with the boys. Puberty makes the meltdowns more violent as the poor boy is not only trying to deal with his autism but also with raging hormonal changes.
I can only sympathise with you since every child is an individual and what works for one would not work for them all.
Meltdowns are very challenging for us but I can't imagine how they feel to our grandsons, to be so out of control of their emotions must be frightening.
Hopefully, as they become older our grandsons will be able to manage their emotions and become the wonderful people that they have the potential to be.
I'm sorry that I can't offer any fixes. Each family has to work things out in their own way.
My family have appointments with CaAMHS but whether they are helpful is yet to be decided.

Nandalot Wed 22-Mar-23 15:19:36

Thank you both for your responses. MiniMoon, it is good to know we are not the only ones.
GrannyGravy13, he manages to mask it at school (when we can get him there) and is quiet and well behaved but bottles it all up and let’s rip at the least thing when he gets home.
I just wondered if anyone found counselling or medication beneficial.

M0nica Wed 22-Mar-23 15:31:10

I know this is probably something you have already done, but does the Autistic Society have help line?

Greenfinch Wed 22-Mar-23 15:31:18

I don’t really have any advice but just wanted to give you the hope that things will probably improve as they have with my grandson. At 12 his meltdowns were triggered by the kind of situations you have mentioned. At school he got into a fight with a boy who inadvertently took his place at the lunch table.Now he is nearly 16 and things have improved a lot .He is embarrassed by his autism and doesn’t want people to know about it so he is more careful about how he behaves. Sadly he has rejected the support given to him by the school( they have an autistic unit) and refuses to accept the extra time offered to him in exams but he has to find his own way as I am sure your grandson will too. As your lad matures I am sure he will understand himself better but I can appreciate your anxiety as mine lived with us until he was 15 and we used to dread the school ringing up but we found the head of year was always very supportive.

Greenfinch Wed 22-Mar-23 15:37:25

My grandson had medication for ADHD but we did not find it helpful. It made him lethargic and so it was discontinued.

Franbern Wed 22-Mar-23 16:00:16

My g.son went from age of 13 - 16 to a special school for autistic youngsters. Weekly boarder. (prior to that the main stream school had found him increasingly difficult to cope with - yes dreadful meltdowns. They took him a school trip but had to phone my daughter and SiL as on the last day he totally and completely trashed the shared bedroom he had been using)
At the special school he was taught to know himself the early signs of having a meltdown of any sort and how to cope with it.

When he requested to live back home and go to local college for A levels, worked closely with the SENS department and he was allocated a small room where he could go as for
'time out'. As well as A levels (which he took slowly over three years but ending up with a B, A, A, A, in Maths, physics, chemistry and Further Maths). He continued being supported with by SENS and was helped to go into a pub (difficult due to noise levels, etc), travel on public transport etc.

He is now in his third year of a Masters Degree in Chemical Studies, having lived at his Uni during those years. Some problems, but again - lots of support from Student Services.

Autistic people have to be taught and learn how to live in society. If they start to understand their own condition and know when to leave an area or situation before they completely 'lose it', that is so helpful.

MiniMoon Wed 22-Mar-23 16:01:30

My grandson also takes medication for ADHD. It helps him concentrate when he is doing his school work. He also has melatonin to help him go to sleep, otherwise he would get very little.

Blondiescot Wed 22-Mar-23 16:10:14

You're far from alone. Apart from all the helpful advice and suggestions already given here, I'd suggest looking to see if there are any local support groups for children and young people with additional support needs (including autism) in your area. I used to work for a charity which did just that in our area, and parents/carers found it incredibly helpful just to be able to talk to others who were going through the same thing.

Nandalot Wed 22-Mar-23 16:18:33

Thank you all gain for the replies and so good to see some positive outcomes. I realise there is no quick fix but just need to unburden a bit.

VioletSky Wed 22-Mar-23 16:19:42

It's quite difficult to advise because autism is often as individual as the child.

The best thing I can advise for at home is a self regulation zone. Somewhere he can safely let out those feelings. This can be something like a tent in his room or somewhere in the house full of soft things.

Or another strategy could be something to let out any built up physical energy outside.

I would speak to the SENCO about strategies at school. This is a tricky age for any child and adding autism into the mix with sensory issues on top can make it very hard for a child.

Try to be careful what language you use discussing this with him as well. Make sure he is included in conversations about his needs and don't use descriptive words like "difficult" because internalising a message like that can be harmful to him.

Above all what is needed is patience and kindness while still having consequences for behaviours that are not acceptable in a home or a classroom. Put limits and timers on access to screens and have those be reward based the same as you would any child. So that using a self regulation zone and managing his outbursts has a positive outcome for him.

Explain everything even if he gets frustrated with it. Make sure he knows what is happening that day, that he always knows where to find the things he needs and they are consistently in the same place. Whenever there is a situation that might mean a meltdown, take extra time to explain each step and what is expected from him.

Best of luck