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      Depression, Mental Health and Crisis Support   06/04/2017

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jlp

Autism proofing the house?

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jlp   

I have two boys with autism, the youngest ds2 is 7 and also has a diagnosis of PDA. He is extremely challenging right now.

 

I'm getting to the end of my tether with regard to picking up and tidying up everything he trashs / throws / empties out or breaks! Carpets are stained, walls are mucky and the house is such a mess. He's also incontinent bowel wise, will smear and at the minute is wetting himself a lot too and it all seems like a huge exhausting cycle of picking things up, washing and scrubbing whilst it still looks like a tip.

 

His targets are unpredicatible - he's been fine with the bathroom stuff for ages so I've left it in the bathroom (used to remove it) but last week he emptied all the bottles into the bath. Today the TV cabinet was emptied and thrown all over which was a first. His brother's room is his main target. His brother is 11 and has AS and I really feel for him having his stuff broken and messed up so often - I did consider a lock but he tried to hurt himself a few years ago and the thought of him being able to lock his door makes me feel worried, particularly as he's so stressed right now with ds2's behaviour. Ds1 also has anxiety issues and won't be alone in a room.

 

So apart from decluttering without mercy has anyone found any other tips or techniques for trying to stay in control?

 

I'd like to get rid of the carpets altogether but noise wise for us and the neighbours it would be intolerable.

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GaryS   

From personal experience the first thing to do is let go of it, beating yourself up and trying to put on the front of normality is just a direct route for a stay with the people in white coats. This may very well be the reason DS2 is doing this in the first place - for your reaction. Obviously there are things that you need to attend to for your on and your families safety and hygiene - these should be addressed without fuss, at one point we considered the button-at-the-back "jumpsuits" which will reduce the available target area of the spreading problem. The next thing to pay attention to is locks - lots of them and look at the high tech solutions which retain your control perhaps requesting financial help if you need it. I'd also look at bathroom redesign and again a Disabled Facilities Grant may be very helpful here. We redesigned out bathroom to allow shared use but retain a certain amount of bomb-resistance. Another consideration is to an industrial strength cleaner (go the whole hog!) and commercial quality carpets.

 

Good Luck and I'm sure you will always remember you're not alone.

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Sally44   

There must be external locks you can use. Maybe others who have used them will post.

Have you been in touch with the autism advisory teacher or the OT for advice. They may know where to get this kind of stuff from.

Also the child who has the obsession with cupboards and locks etc - give them that kind of stuff to do. Put him in the bath with lots of empty bottles and let him fill them up and empty them again, or at the kitchen sink etc.

I know it often happens when your back is turned - or they've suddenly gone very quiet!

Give him a padlocked chest or something for him to put stuff in and lock it.

Get him a garden trampoline to use up some energy on.

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GaryS   

While sitting in A&E earlier (DD wrist - don't ask) I was going through the things we used to do when S. was in this phase. It's been so long now >10 years and we haven't had pictures etc. on walls, anything on communal flat surfaces and lots of pouring "toys" in bath it is normality now as is a wet-room floor. S. is a light switch flicker so I made a dummy switch board which tends to keep him away from real ones so going on the lines of what Sally says above - find his stim. an create an acceptable alternative. Perhaps the biggest unwritten is to try and find if there is a trigger, or a common lead up to the behaviour so you can head him off at the pass or distract quickly . S. is always captivated by spinning things. His room is a collection of lights and fans that always get questions from new neighbours whether we are holding a raves.:thumbs::party:

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jlp   

I like the idea of industrial carpets - I might seriously look into whether that might be possible!

 

I asked about the disabled facilities grant (we are council tenants) at Christmas when the floor boards were black and rotten due to a problem with the shower running off the end of the bath due to a shelf and ds2 splashing but they said after many phone calls that we weren't eligable as the problem arose from our child's 'behavioural problems'. My Dh and my Dad put some new floor boards in the end. We could really do with a wet room floor (and the shower moved and some re-tiling) but we wouldn't be able to afford it in the near future.

 

With his PDA if he suspected I was trying to steer him towards something he wouldn't want to know - he does things that he thinks will cause damage and upset :( so it's different from steering him to more appropriate but similar things (ds1, pure AS, however also had a bedroom of lampshades and fans :thumbs: )

 

Thanks for the ideas and any others are welcome.

 

I do try to 'let go' but then I worry that professionals etc will think they are sad neglected children and even people in the know like my parents will have a go sometimes if the house is a total tip.

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GaryS   

If those words are those used by the LA with regard to your son I think you have a case of disabled discrimination for refusal of DFG. "Problem arose from behavioural problems" Er yes, he has PDA. While I can see that they may have some grounds in not repairing "willfull damage" but there can be no reason for not proving you with the facilities for looking after the hygiene of your children, they have a duty of care in this. It may be some jumped up short sighted pen-pushing bean-counter that can't see that in the long run helping you with his care is a whole lot cheaper than the state looking after the both of you. I'm sure there must be others on this board that will be able to help you here.

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