My autistic/ADHD son is out of control & we don't know what to do. — Scope | Disability forum
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My autistic/ADHD son is out of control & we don't know what to do.

J0N4H848Y Community member Posts: 4 Listener
edited October 2017 in Autism and neurodiversity
Our son is 11 years old but will not do the most basic of things. You can ask him to wash/brush teeth/do hair/get dressed etc but every one of these requests usually ends in everyone losing their temper and I can't cope anymore. We have given him TOO much support over the years so now its bordering on the ridiculous. In the morning we tell him to wash, he will go into the bathroom, insist he needs his privacy, because he is going through puberty, so we respect this and he shuts the door. You can go back at any point, even up to half an hour later and he is just sat there, having done nothing, which usually ends up in either a big row or us having to wash/dress him like a baby. He is completely capable of doing these things but chooses to put more effort into NOT doing them. It sounds stupid but we are at our wits end. We haven't raised him to end up a dirty, homeless, bum but that is what we genuinely fear for his future. He is our only child and we just can't cope with the rows and the lack of care he has for himself in general. People offer advice like, "a good clip round the ear would sort him out", or another favourite, " let him be dirty/late for school etc and he will soon come to realise you trying do best for him". Believe me I've tried the second one and he will just wallow in filthy and not go to school. Haven't tried the first piece of advice yet but with the anger and frustration if it all, we could quite easily do it. Then what? Our son goes into care or something and we have to live with that. Like I said at the start, need help & advice because we can't go on this way. Any advice (other than the two suggestions I've already told you about, obviously) will be really gratefully received. Thanks for listening, if nothing else. 


  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 740 Listener
    edited December 2017
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  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,671 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @J0N4H848Y
    I am a parent of three kids and in my opinion a 'clip round the ear' never ever solves anything.  Children's behaviour can be incredibly frustrating but violence towards them makes them fearful and untrusting.

    I dont have experience of parenting a child with an ASD diagnosis but having three teens I know that all of them have gone through the dirty stage of not washing.

    Can you try putting clear goals in place? For example, "It is 7am, you need to get in the shower, wash your body and hair and put on deoderant.  This needs to be done by 7.20am, if you do this you can have your phone/10 minutes on the computer etc.  If you dont do this by that time, the consequences are you lose your phone for the day/lose computer privileges etc"

    Or "You must leave for school at 8am, that means you need to be dressed, bags packed and shoes on and stood by the door by 7.55am, if you do then this evening we can watch a movie/play a game/go to the park.  If you dont then you will lose TV time/computer time."

    What are the things he loves to do/would be upset if he lost? 

    I do know how tough and frustrating it can be, believe me! But if you can try and stay calm then it will help.  Do you think that he is doing it for the attention from you? They often say that kids will do things for attention, whether that be positive or negative. 

    In my experience, routine always helps.  Could you have a written morning routine that he can check off and get rewards for completing? 

    As I said, I have no experience of parenting a child with ADHD or ASD but I have been through 3 kids getting to their teen years and I know how hard it can be so I hope this helps.

    @VioletFenn do you have any thoughts?

    Senior online community officer
  • VioletFenn
    VioletFenn Community member Posts: 124 Pioneering
    edited October 2017
    My 13 yr old ASD son is very similar - he'd go without washing for weeks if I let him and certainly wouldn't care about smelling! 

    I manage him by having a very basic but very rigid routine. He's expected to put on deodorant, get dressed and brush his teeth in the morning before school and get changed out of school clothes when he comes home (he's supposed to hang them up but I settle for 'flung randomly over the clothes rail'). He has a shower every other night because that's the most I can face arguing over it, quite frankly. My leverage in all of this is his PS4 - he's obsessed with online gaming every night and the console doesn't go on unless he sticks to the routine.

    I've had to be very firm with it, and have removed the entire console and all of its attachments from his room on the odd occasion when he really wouldn't listen. The one think I've learned to never do is shout, because it just escalates immediately.

    Basically I just set fair, clear rules - and NEVER give in or he thinks he can get away with it every time ;) 

    Is there anything your son puts great store by that you could use in a similar way?  

    ASD advisor, Scope
  • J0N4H848Y
    J0N4H848Y Community member Posts: 4 Listener
    Thanks to all of you for the advice and guidance offered but, with the utmost of respect for your individual circumstances/experiences, we have tried all of these things. We have a rigid morning routine that is on a laminate in the bathroom & bedroom & kitchen. The checklist gets filled in by us when we confirm whether or not he has done the task. He has rewards/removals in line with his compliant/non compliant behaviour but after a while it all falls apart because he will lie or trick you or steal some form of technology to game or YouTube on, if you have taken his phone, other phone, tablet, laptop, Xbox 360, Xbox one, smart TV away. Its like living with a burglar some days. You take all his tech away and then you check on him later, while he's supposedly doing Lego or something else and he's actually hiding in his bedroom having stolen either one of our phones or tablets, our visitors, our relatives even as far as popping next-door under the pretence of something and then taking his own back. I should explain that we learnt early on that hiding his stuff in the house just means a ransacked house, so we started letting our neighbour look after it when he lost it. Once he knew it was no longer at home he towed the line. Then he tried phoning his phone from the landline & our neighbour answered. We have nowhere else left to hide his stuff and he would only figure it out anyway. Just by his determined efforts to reclaim his lost stuff, you can see he could be brilliant if he applied himself, with the same level of commitment, to something productive. Anyway, like I said at the beginning, we are eternally grateful for your suggestions and ideas and we would take them all onboard in a minute, if we hadn't already travelled that road before. If we come across a method that is successful, we won't hesitate to post it & spread the word. Its been good just to discuss it. At least now, the wife & myself know we aren't the only ones and we're not bad parents, we're just fighting a difficult battle. Oh and just to put your minds at rest, Sam_Scope, we would never resort to smacking our boy. We love him to bits and don't agree with physical discipline at all. Just what other people tell us they would do. Not on our watch!!! Lol. Anyway, thanks again all of you. Be lucky!!! :blush:
  • shivs77
    shivs77 Community member Posts: 1 Listener
    Good morning
    I have a three and half year old son who at eighteen months had an accident recieved third degree burns to his face and arms. Thankfully he is all healed up. Nearly two years on he is now been referrred and is awaiting for diagnosis for autisim spectum. My son has severe temper tantrums and is very strong for his age, he has been smashing up my home anything he can get his hands on. Its all his way or explosive blow ups, all his clothes have to be the same and refuses to go to nursery because he cant wear jeans. Hes sleep pattern is awful. He rarly sleeps , maybe twice a week. Very stressed as at times hes unable to tell me why hes so angry and frustrated.

  • amber2019
    amber2019 Community member Posts: 1 Listener
    Have you tried homeopathy? Please give this a shot, it has worked miracles in weeks on my speech delayed 5 year old. Better focus, more enthusiasm to do things and is learning to read etc
    He can now dress himself with exception of tying shoe laces.
    i have used baryta carb 200c once a week and Carcinosin 30c everyday.
    please feel free to ask anything further

  • MarriedbutAlone
    MarriedbutAlone Community member Posts: 4 Listener
    My son has gone off the feel of water on his skin over recent months.  He also doesn’t like the feel of soap or body wash on his body.  This makes him try to avoid washing, brushing teeth etc and he is only 4.  Is it a sensory thing for your son perhaps?  I find if I can get to the bottom of the issue then I understand it better and can try to work out what will help.  My son is very sensory and would not toilet train. I only found out why once he had language - the toilet is cold!  I really feel for you and this is so common with autism. 
  • newborn
    newborn Community member Posts: 832 Pioneering
    Heaven knows how you parents manage. My respect goes out to you all.

    JON....etc....Do you have a car, to substtute for the neighbour as a hiding place?

    Married...etc....Would he be o.k. using flannels instead?


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