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negativity

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 

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Edited by Plummeting - 9/5/12 at 10:17pm
post #2 of 50

This is definitely one of the hugest part of AS that affects our family. I don't have any suggestions at all other than prepping and prompting ahead of time if possible. I love that the internet has photos of lots of the places that we may want to go. I will show them a week or a day ahead of time.... sometimes they get the negativity or anxiety over ahead of time and will warm up a bit to the idea. We NEVER have any outing where everyone is happy ( two with AS) and it is just a fact of life for us. It really can be depressing sometimes as you try to provide love and opportunity and fun places to go, and the feedback is always negative. I really have a hard time with the aftermath as well, when I feel completely defeated and exausted and everyone else is totally oblivious to the stress they caused and are back to " normal " with no aknowledgement  or  closure of what went down! Funny enough, I think my dad is possibly somewhere on the spectrum and he is EXACTLY the same way. I thought I finally escaped the constant negativity when I moved away from home!

Does it make you feel any different at all to know that she can't really help it and that anxiety may play a large part? I found that it made it a little bit easier and helped me detach from taking it personally( i am not nearly successful all of the time!) I do really try to make rules  around the negative wording and name calling for the boys... it is still completely evident in their actions, but they are still able to learn to tone down the actual wording so that people aren't offended or their feelings are spared a little bit. This took work, but takes the edge off a bit!

post #3 of 50

It is the worst when they have conflicting emotions inside , like being excited and anxious, or uncomfortable and sensory overloaded.... still wanting to do the thing, but rejecting it all in the same breath. poor kiddos! So conflicted with no idea what to do in the situation!

 

post #4 of 50

Now that I've learned about AS I know that my mother clearly has it. I too have been trying to escape her negativity and complaining my whole life - Now my son is the same way! It drives me insane!!!! Some days I feel like I am being punished. Yesterday I broke down sobbing in front of him because I couldn't take it anymore. =(

post #5 of 50

Just a thought (from someone on the spectrum) - it might be due to a person having a hard time dealing with the fact that the outside world is different from the world they have in their head.  They find all the imperfections in the real world that are 'wrong' from the perfectionist world inside.  I'd say look into treatments for perfectionism. 

 

For an autistic person, the inside world is far more real than the outside world.  It's hard to ride a horse because you have to follow external sensations.  It's hard to surf because you have to ride the wave that's given.  It's hard to talk, because you have to follow an external passing of time and measure out your words into this external movement of time that you can't control and never stops. 

 

 

post #6 of 50
Thread Starter 

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Edited by Plummeting - 9/5/12 at 10:18pm
post #7 of 50
Quote:

Originally Posted by Plummeting View Post

 

'For instance, the other day we were walking to a nearby playground. It's been very hot out, but we left early to avoid the heat as best we could; it was still hot, though. About 1/3 of the way there she started whining about wanting to go home and I told her that was no problem and we could go, but she acted like she didn't know what I was talking about and kept walking. A few minutes later she was still going on about it, and said, "Why can't we go home?" I stopped the baby's stroller, and said, "We can. Let's go back. It is pretty hot," to which she replied (VERY LOUDLY), "WHY? I don't want to go home!" denying she'd ever said that. '

 

Oh my, this is my 10 yr old Aspergian son exactly! He does the contrary thing constantly and has done since he was 4 years old. For example, "Let's go to the zoo." "No, I don't want to go to the zoo." "Are you sure?" "Yes." "Okay, we won't go to the zoo." "It's not fair! I want to go to the zoo!!"

 

Psychological warfare ;) I know how frustrating it is. It's interesting that you were told it was a typical ASD thing. I always wondered if it was that or just a particularly annoying aspect of my son's personality ;) I usually try and have fun with it when he does it, though often it isn't possible and he and I both end up getting more wound up.



 

post #8 of 50
I definitely see it in some of my students with ASD. For one of them, it's very hard for him to not use extreme adverbs like "always" or "never". And then it seems like he really feels as if it is "always" or "never". As in, "I never get a turn" when he had one two minutes before and is about to get another one. Or "you always give me hard work" when it's one page out of 5 that is challenging. Or "I can never finish this" when he only has one more bite.

We work hard with him on using better language like "This work is challenging. Can you help me?" which really helps his emotions as well. Sometimes, I see that the words my students use have a direct impact on their actual emotional experience. Get them to change the way they frame it verbally, and suddenly they can handle it emotionally.
post #9 of 50
Quote:

Originally Posted by Plummeting View Post

 

'For instance, the other day we were walking to a nearby playground. It's been very hot out, but we left early to avoid the heat as best we could; it was still hot, though. About 1/3 of the way there she started whining about wanting to go home and I told her that was no problem and we could go, but she acted like she didn't know what I was talking about and kept walking. A few minutes later she was still going on about it, and said, "Why can't we go home?" I stopped the baby's stroller, and said, "We can. Let's go back. It is pretty hot," to which she replied (VERY LOUDLY), "WHY? I don't want to go home!" denying she'd ever said that. '

 

 

Originally Posted by juicylucy View Post

 

Oh my, this is my 10 yr old Aspergian son exactly! He does the contrary thing constantly and has done since he was 4 years old. For example, "Let's go to the zoo." "No, I don't want to go to the zoo." "Are you sure?" "Yes." "Okay, we won't go to the zoo." "It's not fair! I want to go to the zoo!!"

 

Psychological warfare ;) I know how frustrating it is. It's interesting that you were told it was a typical ASD thing. I always wondered if it was that or just a particularly annoying aspect of my son's personality ;) I usually try and have fun with it when he does it, though often it isn't possible and he and I both end up getting more wound up.

 

 

nod.gif  My mom used to call me "contrary" lol.gif.

 

I often have ds repeat back to me what I have said; 70% of the time he did not 'take in' the information at all, and 5% of the time he gets the message wrong.

 

For situations like those mentioned, we sit him down and go over the options, what he wants, and what it means to do that.

 

For the constant complaining, I've said that "I know that it can make you feel a little better to keep saying what is bothering you, but it makes my head hurt bag.gif; I hear that you feel X, but I need you to stop repeating it."  Now that ds is a little older and enjoys having quiet -- but has little sister who doesn't know the meaning of the word -- he understands what I meant.
 

 

post #10 of 50

When DS was in therapy for anxiety, one of the techniques used was to put the worry in the worry box for until a specified time.  We now extend the idea for obsessive negative thoughts (in his case he has just as many obsessive positive ones, but they aren't nearly as annoying).  We say "OK, we get idea (X), now that you're aware of our opinion we don't want to discuss this again until(X) time when we can revisit this.  This works especially well with rigid ideas like "People who cut trees for a living should go to jail" (we live in a region where forestry is the primary industry, so very challenging) "The whole world is dying because people are driving cars instead of riding horses", etc, etc.  We stay very strict on it, with consequences (usually small increments of computer gaming time).  In the past I would have felt like this was too coercive, but at this point this is the only thing that works so we don't go crazy.

post #11 of 50

We make efforts toward being positive as a family. Every night at dinner, each member must say one thing they are grateful for. For a while, we kept a "book of positive aspects."  Different things in our life had a page, and we wrote all the positive traits of that thing on it's page. There was a page for the dog, our favorite pizza place, etc.

 

There is a book about thinking positive for kids called "Sara, Book 1: The Foreverness of Friends of a Feather" by Esther and Jerry Hicks. It's VERY new age, and I recommend reading it first to make sure you are OK with the content. But it helped both my kids understand why and how to control their thoughts.

 

I'm not sure that everything listed in the first post was negativity, though. Some of it could have been communication problems, sensory issues, or anxiety. My DD has said that she doesn't really think in English, and she's always translating. It's weird to her that the words we use are how most of us think. I think that sometimes it's helpful to think of our autistic kids as being people who haven't really mastered the language yet. Focusing on non-violent communication and really hearing what she is trying to say right now is helpful for me.

post #12 of 50

Linda on the Move, that is a really sweet idea saying one thing you are grateful for at dinner.  What a nice idea for learning the value of gratitude for any family!

post #13 of 50

DS1 does this.  It is often because he has conflicting feelings about a situation. To use OP's example, he might be happy about going to the park, but really uncomfortable on the walk because it's hot and sticky.  The discomfort from the walk then flows over into how he feels about everything else and he's negative about all of it. It can move on from there to wreck he rest of the day.

 

We use Rational Emotive Therapy techniques to address this by talking through the emotions and beliefs that are starting the downward spiral.  You can use an "ABCDE" device to remember the technique. 1) We identify the Activating event. (Trigger). 2) We identify the irrational Belief. 3) We identify the Consequences of the irrational belief. 4) We Dispute the irrational belief. 5) We substitute  more Effective thinking.  

 

In your example: 1)  "Wow, it's really out hot and I'm uncomfortable. I think you're uncomfortable, too, and it's making you crabby." 2) "You are feeling unhappy and uncomfortable and that is making you think you don't want to go to the park or doing anything. You're hating everything right now because the heat is making you feel bad." 3) "You're really crabby right now and hating everything. But if you crab at everyone and go home, you won't get to go to the park and everyone is going to be upset and disappointed." 4) "It is really hot out here and walking is unpleasant, but that doesn't mean the park won't be fun." 5) "This walk is unpleasant, but the park will be fun when we get there. We can sit in the shade to cool off and get a drink of water before we play. We're tough enough and big enough that we can put up with an unpleasant walk to get to the park. The park is awesome. It's worth it."

 

We do that process a lot. DS1 is learning to do it for himself. 

 

We also work on positive talk. Ie. "Don't tell me what you hate. Tell me what you like. I want to hear about what makes you happy."

 

We also have a "No whining" saying. Ie. "You get what you get and no whining."  I've heard my kids repeat this to each other. 

 

 

post #14 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverTam View Post
We use Rational Emotive Therapy techniques to address this by talking through the emotions and beliefs that are starting the downward spiral.  You can use an "ABCDE" device to remember the technique. 1) We identify the Activating event. (Trigger). 2) We identify the irrational Belief. 3) We identify the Consequences of the irrational belief. 4) We Dispute the irrational belief. 5) We substitute  more Effective thinking.  

 

We also work on positive talk. Ie. "Don't tell me what you hate. Tell me what you like. I want to hear about what makes you happy."

 

We also have a "No whining" saying. Ie. "You get what you get and no whining."  I've heard my kids repeat this to each other. 

 

 

thumb.gif

 

In Kindergarten ds was taught "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit." I've heard my children repeat it to each other as well.

 


 

 

post #15 of 50
Thread Starter 

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Edited by Plummeting - 9/5/12 at 10:18pm
post #16 of 50

My kids have found many, many things to be grateful for that weren't from me, and they aren't mostly powerless.  Even if you feel that actively teaching your children gratitude isn't the right path for you, you can still choose to actively practice gratitude yourself, and your children will learn from your example.


I think that learning to notice all the little wonderful things around us everyday is the secret to happiness, and that teaching our children, even our SN children, to do this is one of the things we can give them that will help them have a wonderful life. My kids have been grateful for everything from a specific teacher at school to the smell after the rain. The notion that children are only grateful for things that their parent buy them is simply not my experience.


Edited by Linda on the move - 9/5/12 at 11:02pm
post #17 of 50
Thread Starter 

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Edited by Plummeting - 9/5/12 at 10:19pm
post #18 of 50

I find the idea of gratitude with my kids to be a difficult one, and I think it is primarily a matter of perspective that they don't have because they haven't really lived much of their lives yet.  My own gratitude for different things is partly based on my perspective-I know what I have, and experience, and I know what I don't have and how different my experiences could be.  It's difficult to put into words, but my children's lives are what they are, in the moment.  My preteen is only just starting to look ahead (or behind), and learning to experience a moment as distinct from another moment.  Kind of difficult to explain, I guess.

post #19 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by karne View Post

I find the idea of gratitude with my kids to be a difficult one, and I think it is primarily a matter of perspective that they don't have because they haven't really lived much of their lives yet. 


I think  that every day provides something to be grateful for. It has been tougher for for my ASD, than my NT child.

 

And the kind of things they come up with are different than my DH and I. He and I can sit down to dinner and just be grateful to be there -- grateful to have a family, have each other, to get to watch our children grew up, to have a home and that is a gentle respite from the world. I can't count the number of times my DH has said that he is grateful to have a family to come home to, and that I've felt grateful to have a family to cook for.

 

Neither of our kids are like that. They are generally grateful for immediate things -- something funny that was said, or something interesting to do. For several months, my ASD dd was grateful for Bill Gates every night at dinner.  shrug.gif  The invention of the microcomputer was the only thing she was happy about on the entire planet.

 

With an ASD kiddo, it might help to start with their current special interest, and help them find something positive about their interest to share with the family at dinner time. This is a great chance to let them talk for a minute, while teaching them to take turns in a conversation, and to really listen to them for a minute, and to be happy that they have their special interest -- that with the myriad of difficulties and confusions that each day brings, they have something they love and enjoy that makes them happy.

 

post #20 of 50

My son is also quite negative.  Whenever I come up against a behavior that I haven't been able to change/work with (etc), I ask his clinical neuropsych for advice/ideas.

 

One thing that I have found that works for my son is that when he starts in with the major negativity, I bring up something that he finds comfort in or that he finds funny.  Kids on the spectrum tend to get 'stuck' doing/saying the same things over and over again.  I find that I sometimes need to 'unstick' him.  It's not easy and it's a constant battle.  You have to have a bunch of comfort or comical things in the back of your mind to use at a moments notice.  Plus, you need to find new ones as using the same comfort thoughts too many times loses it's effectiveness. 

 

I once showed my son a photo of fluffy baby owls. They were adorable... Like puffballs with feet.  Every once in a while, I start chatting with my son about them (in a different scenario) when his behavior really starts to slide.  If that one doesn't work, I move on to the next one (funny british animal voiceovers on youtube.)

I'm happy to say that usually breaks his negativity streak.  At least, until the next one.  orngbiggrin.gif

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