Monday, February 13, 2017

The Destructive Side of Autism

Welcome to AuSumness.

We're looking into the destructiveness that can often be a symptom on the ASD scale.  We'll share some of our stories and things that have worked to eliminate some of this behaviour.

The images I've provided is not even a tip of the iceberg when it comes to the destruction of this place.  Our couches sway in the middle from the unending jumping up and down.  The leather has been used in place of art paper several times.  I hang a large, dark blanket over it and I refuse to buy new ones until this stage is over.  (Still waiting...)

We have replaced FIVE beds also from excessive jumping.  They either don't make things like they used to or we've got a real problem here.

If any kinds of tools are left around, they will be gladly and vigorously used as destructive weapons.  Even toy tools!  Shortly after painting my son's room for the third time in 2 years, he used a wooden, toy hammer on the freshly painted walls.  My, when you leave your child unattended for just a few shorts minutes?!  You want to give them freedom and need to leave them alone at times, but these are the things that can happen.

Our hamster was even stepped on and killed!  He laughed like crazy while I cried and was so upset.  I kept thinking, "I'm raising a monster!" You talk about a warning sign!  I suppose that is another entry, entirely.

We live in Europe and over here, the walls are very NOT perfect and therefore, wall paper is the usual wall covering.  As you can see by some of my images here, wall paper and my autistic children do not combine well.

Writing on on my $50 a roll wall paper was a very common occurrence, for years.  We purchased an older house that needed restoration and slowly we made it to the bathroom.  We put so much love and care into this very used room and after two weeks, the walls were scribbled on.  I read and read, trying to find a way to get rid of this scribble and nothing worked.  Finally, after years of the sun shining through the window (maybe would not have taken that long if we had more sun.  Hehehe...) it's finally nearly faded. Of course, 10 years later, the entire bathroom needs re-doing!  Ugh!

I just leave this stuff for the most part.  I refuse to keep re purchasing all of these materials and re doing all of this work.

Another huge decorating mistake I made was this wall paper with a motif.  Both of my boys just love to pick at it.  Well, they used to.

This must have been the 6th time I've replaced and re wall papered the hall only to have the paper picked at just a couple of days later.  You can punish all you like.  You can beg for them not to do this, but it still goes on.

At least I found a cheap, fast and easy solution for wall paper glue.  Just take any kind of powder starch and mix it with a bit of water, stir and apply to your paper.  I have a tiny brush I use for quick fixes.

Here is an excellent fix to the peeling of wall paper.  It's fibreglass wall covering that you paint over.  It covers the imperfections in the wall, including hammer indentations, is fire retardant and can be painted over again and again for scribbles.  It's absolutely ideal for in our house.

I'm slowly going back around the house and using this fibreglass paper in every room.

Our youngest has Pica which is yet another symptom on the ASD scale.  It's when non food items are consumed.  JJ just loves squishy, soft foamy things to chew on and I have had to replace our bathroom squeegee half a dozen times before I started putting it out of eye and hands reach for him.

You can see the bite marks and the little pieces that were chewed off.  It's much better than the rusty nails and rocks that he used to chew and consume.

What works best for this kind of behaviour, that we have found, is relentless watching, reprimanding and even more effective, nipping it in the bud!  We often have to be very specific as to why this kind of behaviour is not tolerated nor healthy!  Let them know they can get sick or remind them of the times that they were in fact sick from consuming something inedible.

Another helpful trick is make them clean it up or fix it.  Of course, my kids are not at a stage where this is possible, but I sure do try and sit back and watch them try.  Then I make them sit on their butts and see how I fix it and they have to stay seated there until I'm finished so they see how long it takes and the kind of work it takes.  I told them, I'm taking money from their piggy bank the next time I have to buy wall paper.  Hehehe...

I still can't keep my youngest from jumping very energetically on his bed or the couch no matter what we try.  I've told gruesome stories of blood and carnage from accidents of people jumping on furniture and that doesn't help either.  Hehehe...I suppose it's this inability to not give into urges even when they know it is wrong.

I thought having swings inside and letting them ride their scooters inside might help with other physical destruction, but to no avail.  Getting them out swimming all morning, going hiking and many other activities still does not curb this urge, which more than likely comes from stress and or over stimulation.

Of course self destructive behaviour is also an occurrence and I cannot honestly say that my children never hit, punch, push or hurt each other either.

Consider these things:

*be vigilant whenever possible
*keep them busy
*start correcting immediately
*the sooner the better
*get help
*become aware of anger cues
*help with methods to calm down
*use positive reinforcement where you can
*anticipate and avoid triggers for destructive behaviour
*problem solve with them
*consider meds, but understand they are not cured, the meds simply "hide" the problem

I found this article to have a lot of useful information for steps parents can take to help with destruction.

Destruction is serious.  It can lead to future problems and it needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

I hope this entry has been helpful for you.  If you know of any excellent resources on this subject, leave a link in the comments.

Best of luck!

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