Jun 17, 2012

How to I help my autistic son?

Category: Childhood Disorders

Question: My Son who is now 16 was first diagnosed as having ADHD during his early years in School and he was asked to be removed from the School he was studying. He was given "Attentin" for some time, which was later discontinued. He was later diagnosed as having PDD -Atypical Autism. He is a very intelligent boy who has good memory, language skills etc. He is loved by his teachers and students in the School he is studying. The problem is that he gets exited and cannot stop himself from talking frequently. He doesn't understand that he has grown big. He is very immature. What Should I do?

Answer: Thank you for your question Bindu.  You have clearly had a difficult time with your son and I’m sorry it took such a long time to get the correct diagnosis for him.  I’m delighted that you have now found the right place for him and that he is loved and cared for by the people around him.

With regard to his difficulty with controlling his speaking, it’s not at all uncommon for someone with a Pervasive Development Disorder, along with other kinds of tics or expressions of anxiety.  The thing that you need try and uncover is what is due to his developmental difficulties and what is due to an emotional or psychological issue.  The fact is that your son may just have less control over his impulses than other children of his age.  However, it is also true that children with learning difficulties or developmental delay often develop associated emotional and psychological difficulties due to the frustration and adjustments needed to cope with their limitations.

Given that your son has such complex needs I think it would definitely be helpful to have an full assessment by a child psychotherapist if this is at all possible.  They would be able to help with thinking about not just possible treatment options for your son but also helping you and his school to think about his difficulties and how to manage them.

In the meantime, or if this isn’t possible, then I suggest you begin by making some observations about your son, perhaps getting the school to fill in a questionnaire to try and discover what triggers his need to talk frequently, at what times he is better and what seems to make him worse.  When you have this information you can tailor things so that he has more support during times when he is finds it more difficult to contain his need to talk.

You can also talk with your son about why he thinks he finds it difficult not to talk at inappropriate times.  Ask him what helps him and what makes it worse, and work out a plan with him about how to help him to control his need to talk.

When he is finding it difficult not to talk it is likely that more close supervision and support is likely to help.  Whomever is supporting him will need to know what you have spoken to him about and support him in the way you have discussed.

However, in the long term I do think that you son would be best helped with some therapeutic support, both for your son and to help yourselves in how best to manage his behaviour.

I do wish you all the best with you son.

Best wishes,

Ryan



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