Make Your Child’s Return To School Stress Free!

how to get your ASD successfully back to school after the holidays

how to get your ASD child back to school easilyThe end of the Christmas holidays, for many parents of ASD kids can be a blessed relief. The trauma of Christmas with its over stimulus of flashing fairy lights, noise and colour can be hugely confusing and terrifying for our children, that the welcome return of school can be a God send.

But how do you get your child back into the swing of school when their sleep patterns, daily activities and so on have been geared around being at home?

That’s easy!  For a parent like me with an Autistic teenager who also has a pathological aversion to getting up before noon, I have developed a quick and stress free strategy to coax even the most immovable children on the first day back at school! So here we go to ensure your ASD child gets back into the routine of school!

 

 

STEP ONE:

  • Rehearse!  One of the best ways I have enabled my son to get up ready for school on the first day back from any school break is to do a dummy run at least one day before. That way, the stress of waking up at what he decides is an ‘unearthly hour’ will be less anxiety filled for both of you. You might want to try it two days before. Simply remind them in the best way you know how the night before that this is what is going to happen so they can expect it. The key here is to the always try and take the sting out of the event. Gradual build up to something like going back to school will always be easier on everyone in the house!
  • Use small steps! Jon never, and still doesn’t like the idea of having to deal with any event in one hit. So when I need him to get up early and be ready to go somewhere like school, I will walk him through each step of the day, one bit at a time. If I know it is going to be a very intense event for him, I will go through the day half an hour at a time. That way, he knows he can feel calmer throughout the day so that he can focus on what is expected of him. If you’re not going to be physically with him, make sure that anyone who is going to be with him that day (school support, teaching assistant) has a heads up before of what they need to do.
  • Gently Gently! Jon is so much better to coax into doing something if I take the calm approach. There is no point losing my rag with him when I know that time is ticking on and he needs to get going. I have found that there is a much better way of asking him to do something if I word it like this…

‘Jon, if you have your breakfast now, you will be able to watch a few minutes of TV before the school bus arrives..‘ Rather than ‘Jon, you will be late if you don’t hurry up and eat your breakfast’

I find that the latter will only enable him to focus on the most stress making word in that sentence – late – so that won’t help with his stress levels and is more likely to hinder any motivation to want to move. Using word techniques to help people with Autism cope with tasks has been used for over 40 years in methods like NLP, but my particualr favourite is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. It has helped people with all sorts of disorders from Autism to depression, not to mention how to help positive thoughts and keep your child motivated, happy and confident!

I have been using CBT with my son, Jonathan for almost ten years, but I will be honest with you. It has only helped Jon when I have tailored the methods and used the regularly. That’s the secret I have found to CBT. Using it in daily life, or at least a few times a week in activities is the only way to ensure that Jon gets the tools to help himself deal with the anxities of life that comes with Autism.

WHAT YOU CAN DO NEXT….

I would like you to download my FREE paper on how I have used CBT successfully in Jon’s life. I was determined to really get the best out of using techniques like the ABC Model and working with Schemas that I decided to become a qualified CBT Therapist myself.

So here I am, giving you a flying start in helping your child to be confident, independent and successful in social and communcaition skills! I think you will gain an awful lot from the technqiues I cover in this 23 page guide which I have written especially for you. It is completely FREE and the knowledge that I wish someone had told me about when Jon was first diagnosed!

 

 

How To Manage Bed Wetting In 7 Minutes

5 minutes on how to manage bewetting in autism

Hello there! Today, I am going to share with you my tips on how to manage childhood bed wetting in Autism in FIVE MINUTES.

First off, let’s talk about what are the causes of toddler and school bed wetting.

Did you know that bedwetting is a very common thing in childhood? In fact, 20% of all children under the age of 5 bed wet at some point. Children tend to grow out of it and only 1% are still bed wetting by the age of 15.

But what about Autism?

We know that stress levels are high in Autism. The average autistic child feels the same amount of anxiety first thing in the morning as a neuro-typical child feels in the middle of a school day. Many autistic children experience high levels of anxiety in everyday life. Meaning bedwetting can be a very frustrating problem for parents.

So, next, let’s tackle some common myths;

  1. Bed wetting is attention seeking behaviour; Rubbish. Bed wetting is uncontrollable for the child. They wouldn’t do it, if they could control it.
  2. It doesn’t run in families; Yes, it does. It can be hereditary.
  3. Kids bed wet because they are lazy: wrong again. It is uncontrolled and happens. The last reason it happens is laziness.
  4. Kids can control it consciously. Well, it’s hard to believe that some people still think that way…

Next, let’s look at TWO important things you must NEVER do:

NEVER make your child clean it up – this will only make them feel worse. Bed wetting is not bad behaviour and so therefore, cannot be managed this way.

NEVER tease or scold a child for wetting the bed. It’s no one’s fault that it happens.

Okay, so what CAN we do about it? Well, there are lots of ways we can tackle bed wetting. First off, reassure your child that they are safe, not naughty for doing it and that they are comforted and loved. Do this, and you are half way there to solving the problem.

Avoid late night drinks especially ones that contain caffeine. And late night snacks too. Also, it might be worth avoiding your child going to the toilet twice before bed. Once before preparation for bed and again just before they get into bed. It might sound like a good idea to ensure that their bladder is truly empty but this will only encourage their bladder to relax so that it could wee accidentally after the child has fallen asleep.

Check to see if it’s a medical problem. Contact your GP or doctor if your child has been dry for six months prior to bed wetting, particularly if they are over the age of 7, as it may be an infection like a UTI (urinary tract infection.) Ask your child if they feel a burning sensation when they wee. This sometimes it’s good indicator of an infection. Also, note if they are wetting themselves during the day. If they are school age, check with their teacher to make sure there isn’t anything stressful going on in school that you might not know about.

Once you see your GP, he will ask you about home life, family background and so to eliminate any stress that could be causing the bed wetting. Don’t forget, that children can easily pick up stresses felt by another member of the household.

Medication:

Your GP may offer medication to help your child sleep like Melatonin (you can find out more about Melatonin from our video here.) Or you might like to try some herbal remedies but check with your doctor first before giving these to your child.

Consider a mattress protector and even a moisture alarm which you can buy from Amazon. These are alarms, like baby monitors, which will alert you to any wetness in your child’s bed. This will encourage your child to get up and go to the bathroom, as you can wake them in time. You might also like to try waking your child up in the middle of the night to see if they want to go to the toilet.

Night plug in night lights to show a way to the bathroom if your house is very dark at night. Children fear the dark sometimes and this could be what’s stopping them from getting up and going to the loo.

If you want to find out more about bedwetting, you will love our video.

How to managed bed wetting in 7 minutes

Please subscribe if you want to know more about parenting Autism, tips, how to’s and stories.

You might also like to check out this website as I thoroughly recommend it!

www.myaspergerschild.com

 

 

 

Day 2 after Scoliosis corrective surgery

Jon has Autism and is probably one of very few children who have gone through this massive life changing surgery.

Scoliosis corrective surgery on my Autistic son
Jon on day two after surgery and discharge from intensive care

I can still hear the voices of disapproval in my head and from outside. why bother? Jon is brilliant, clever and smart. Why not let him have the same opportunities as any other kid?

The struggle felt by him has been ten fold above anything else. a girl, slightly younger than him also had the exact same operation the same day as Jon. She is a non autistic bright and happy girl who was keen to sit up whilst still in Intensive care. Jon on the other hand was grumpy telling everyone from a loud voice he wanted to die. I, his flaking mother could do nothing else but feel helpless and guilty.

Jon’s scoliosis had been severe shortening his life to barely 30 years old if he had not gone through this ordeal. His double curvature had been enough to eventually crush his heart and lungs meaning the last few years of his short life would have been spent confined to a wheelchair.

Day two after husband surgery and back on the ward was a platform for Jon to feel more comfortable with the staff and doctors around him that he could shout and swear. Yet it was also on this day that he stood up from his bed. Got up on his feet and successfully transferred  himself from bed to chair and back again. despite the tears and frustration felt by me over the last three days since his admission, I was clapping with delight at this big step towards recovery.

I sit at his bedside and watch him sleep after a wide awake night from all of us on the ward the night before.

It feels now it’s been worth the struggle with school, insurance company, hospital and family to get him here.

 

 

6 Ideas For A Stress Free Morning Back To School

As the summer now draws to a close, the thought of getting your ASD child up the morning they go back to school, can be Hellish. Over the last five weeks, you’ve dealt with late nights, late mornings and all sorts of mood swings, no matter what age they are or where they are on the spectrum. Now for you, the idea of getting them back into a routine is a nightmare in itself.

So for those of you who are dreading the morning of school (and for my autistic son, Jon, that’s this Friday) here are a few tips to get your child perfectly bright-eyed and ship-shape for the beginning of the new school year…

  1. Early to bed, early to rise: The night before is usually when everything kicks off. Not only is your child unwilling to go to bed but there will be a zillion questions and affirmations required from them  about what’s going to happen the following day. Of course, you’re not Buddha and all you can do is answer them as best you can. If you can get them to bed at a reasonable time that evening, then you are half way to cracking the Autism code. Just keep in mind they will need to start winding down a good three hours before bedtime to avoid making plans and visits to anywhere or anyone from lunchtime onwards.
  2. The key to an early bedtime is to wear them out with a busy day the day before: That might be easier said than done for some children, but a lot of fresh air, even a drive around in the car with the window down can help a child feel tired easily after dinnertime. Indulge in their favourite games in the afternoon, this will not only make them tired ready for bed at the right time but will keep their mind distracted from school.
  3. Warm drinks for calming down: Warm milk or some luke warm herbal tea works well to soothe an anxiety or stress. Try Camomile cooled down with perhaps half a teaspoonful of honey. This soothes the tummy and relaxes the stress levels (for both you and your child!) Avoid hot chocolate or anything that has a high sugar content (other than honey as this is a natural sweetener.) Malted drinks are good too but warm milk is best. Avoid laptop games and anything that will excite them visually. Story books with a lot of pictures in, are still handy in my house even though Jon is over 15 years old on occasions he can’t get to sleep.
  4. Thinking games: I have used these types of word games for Jon in the past and they have worked brilliantly. Make yourselves comfortable with your child tucked up in bed and start a game of guessing colours of an object such as fruit, transport or anything your child is into. They don’t have to be colours, they can be types of things such as trains, hats, buses, even uniforms! Anything that allows their mind to think about something other than school. You can use any sorts of guessing games. I Spy tends to get boring so I tend to avoid that one!
  5. Anything but the telly: It is easy to be tempted into putting on the box and letting them watch their favourite programme, but although this might give you a few minutes breathing time, it wont help your child to go to sleep. Children have the habit of sitting too close to the tv, straining their eyes and keeping their mind active causing it to remember images and sounds. This is likely to keep them awake, especially if your child is sensitive. Jon would get very upset if he watched an advert with a toy or an animal in it. Then he would be so distressed that it would keep him from settling down and going to sleep. My intervention here would be to make him laugh, so I would take a couple of his own cuddly toys and start a conversation between them. This not only gives your child some social skills practise but distracts them enough to associate then a toy as a happy thing, rather than a sad one.
  6. Waking up!: There is a rule of thumb that goes in our house for Jon when I need to get him up for school. It goes rather on the initial reading I take of his mood. Sometimes, he can be very cheerful and I will keep this level of cheerfulness from the word go. I allow him to take the lead in the mornings as I find this is the only way to get him ready. I adopt his mood and reflect it as I get his ready for school. That way he doesn’t have time to complain. If he is in a bad mood, I will ask him what he wants help with. If I am greeted by a groan of ‘nothing’ then I leave him to it, reminding him every so often what the time is. Avoid arguments and shouting. This will only mean that you end up shouting at each other and nothing will get done. If there is a sullen mood surrounding your child, then keep talking to a minimum. Sometimes, children might not want to talk at all, and this is fine. Go along with it. Don’t feel your child has got to be the same every day. They won’t be, and never take any aggravation from your child personally. His mood is not your fault. Ever.

Good luck for your mornings back to school!

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