LOTS of verbal stimming lately- help, please? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 04-10-2009, 11:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello! I haven't posted in a while but things have been rough for my sweet DS lately so I was hoping some of the experienced parents here could help us out with suggestions, etc.

Some background first: DS, 5.5, is autistic and has some pretty major SPD. Sensory seeking in a lot of ways, but auditory hypersensitive, dyspraxic, and he's extremely echolalic so while he's very verbal, he's not so good with communicating his needs beyond the basic, concrete ones. He can tell us when he's hungry, thirsty, tired, etc. but can't share emotions or more abstract things-- especially if he hasn't been taught the script. He is in a 6:1:1 inclusion K classroom, receives ST 30 min 4x/week, OT 3x/week, PT 2x/week and adaptive PE 2x/week.

For the past few weeks he has significantly increased his verbal stimming, and his anxiety is up and focus has gone way down. Something is clearly bothering him, but we don't know what. His teachers and therapists have seen it, too, but don't have any suggestions. I feel like we're really losing touch with him lately and I don't know how to reach out. His friend has been stealing his lunch so there has been a lot of discipline that he's involved in- he's being told not to share his lunch, and his friend is being disciplined for taking it. He repeats a lot of what is going on, so we know it's bugging him.

Some stimming we know he needs and let it go, but a lot of his recent behaviors are "undesirable" as the teacher put it and are alienating his friends. Another thing he's doing is rubbing his lips furiously, so they're cracking and bleeding. So obviously, we would like to redirect this. And of course I want to make him feel better!

Today he was quite twitchy, full of noises when we were out shopping and then when we were at home, too. I finally got him outside to play when DD went down for her nap. I grabbed my rake and shovel and decided to do some gardening. He played by himself for a few minutes, then came to join me. He got a little shovel and started digging in the dirt and pulling away the weeds. That settled him down enough to stop stimming, and start talking to me.

So, I know he needs the sensory input. Heavy work is great, I need to pull out my trusty OOSC Has Fun and other books. But I was wondering if people had similar experiences they could share-- what worked? The big bunny is bringing a swingset this weekend and we're REALLY hoping that will help-- he LOVES to swing! He gets quite verbal the more he moves, too.

And brushing had helped him last year, but they gradually tapered and he doesn't get it at all this year at school. He's off from school the next 1.5 weeks so I'm thinking of starting it up again. If I can do it several times a day while he's home, maybe we can transition to before and after school and evenings once school starts up again?

Another thing that has helped him sleep better lately was getting him a comforter, instead of the regular sheet and blanket. He loves it-- it's not even a weighted blanket but is heavier. It helps that Optimus Prime is on it.

What about pressure vests? Is this something we should look into as well?

Any and all advice is appreciated. TIA.
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#2 of 7 Old 04-11-2009, 12:02 AM
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My sensory seeking almost 4 yo can't function without his heavy blanket to sleep under, so I bet the heavier comforter will be great, as will the swingset and heavy work. Brushing too, whenever something is "off", is always good.

The lunch stealing thing makes me mad! Why can't they just make sure his friend doesn't sit near him for a while, or put his aid with him at lunch so the whole thing is avoided?
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#3 of 7 Old 04-11-2009, 12:39 AM
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My oldest is a huge verbal stimmer. He makes all types of repetative noises with his mouth as well as vocal stims. I am totally overloaded with too much noise so I have tried a few things. The weighted blanket helps us a lot, so does massage with a vibrating massage animal thingy we use. Lots of heavy work like you notice. Usually these things help us for the next day, but don't nessisarily work immediately.
This may seem odd, because I have never seen it recommended for ASD kiddos, but I wrestle with the boys. They aren't agressive in thier day to day dealings, just to mention. They both love to wrestle and are full of giggles, then the intensity goes up and they get rougher... not to the point of anyone getting hurt, but I can tell that there is some sort of emotional release going on. Sometimes it ends in a cry and then a cuddle, or just laying next to each other and a good talk if your kiddo is verbal. This is often when I can get to the real issues of what is going on. I find that my kids stims go way up as thier stress goes up, so having a safe way to release this seems to help my guys. This obviously won't work if your kiddos are bigger or will actually hurt you. My dad used to let me box at his hands... I remember it going similarly asi t does with my boys. It would turn a little too serious at some point. I don't know if he realised how much that it helped me... or even I realised until this moment that that was where I may have picked up the idea. I have thought of getting my kids a small punching bag as they have gotten older and to be there with them for the emotional fallout. I find that many kids, more so for ASD kids don't have the skills to be able to acsess or express those feelings easily.

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#4 of 7 Old 04-11-2009, 09:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input!

The lunch stealing is happening on the bus. He sits up front behind the driver, but the driver has his hands full with the kids in the back who are always fighting. When we figured out what was going on, we started leaving his bag with the driver instead, and that put a stop to things. But if we forget just one day, he's at it again. And they sit together because they're "friends", and they're both in K so the little ones are up front together. The other child does it because he has issues of his own; they haven't said much because of course they can't but we gather his home life is a little sad.

And I'm off to attack him-- we'll see how that goes.

Thank you!
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#5 of 7 Old 04-12-2009, 12:55 AM
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The vest is definitely worth looking into--either a compression vest or a weighted vest--easy to implement at school and a good amount of "bang" for your buck, if it works. Does he have a sandbox or a water table he can use? My son is younger than yours, but they sound similar--my son's echolalia/verbal stims increase a lot when he's stressed. Therapeutic listening might be worth investigating, too.

Can you leave some kind of no-refrigeration-needed backup lunch at the school in case this happens? What do they do at school when he has no lunch?
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#6 of 7 Old 04-12-2009, 01:45 PM
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I don't know if this helps or not, but the season changes really affect my DS, who also does lots of verbal stimming. The 2-3 weeks in between changes is always really hard on him, and it's so frustrating for him because he can't pinpoint the whys of it. He just feels off.

He's 17 though, so pointing out the stimming and directing him to physical activities seems to help a lot. And patience.

Adrienne, ManyMom, Lover of Magical Moments

3x Gestational Surrogate, Currently carrying babies for A&T and due in March!joy.gif

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#7 of 7 Old 04-12-2009, 09:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Season changes, interesting. That could be it. Usually when he goes through these bad periods, it's over in a week or 2, but we're going on 2 months now. First we thought it was the vacation we took to visit MIL/FIL, because that usually sets him off for a week or so, but it hasn't stopped. The weather has been crazy, and I know it's wreaking havoc with all the bones I've broken over the years. I can see how it would affect him, too.

Yes, he does have a sand and water table outside that he's been playing with the last few days. It needed a good scrubbing and fresh sand first. He's been enjoying that.

About the lunch, they keep snacks in the classroom because they have an afternoon snack before leaving for the day. Usually the child takes everything but the sandwich-- seems he doesn't like 100% whole wheat bread, lol! So DS isn't going hungry, fortunately.

We've been brushing him for a couple of days now and he's gotten past the initial resistance and remembered how much he loves it. I do think it's helping. He's begun talking about his friend Danny at school (not the lunch thief, a child he has speech with several times a week), and asking to visit Danny and call him on the phone, and sit next to him. This is huge for him.

We've kept in touch with his favorite aide from last year, and she had some suggestions about vests. We might try to make one first, see if it helps, before spending the money on one. You know, cut the arms off an old jacket or something like that and add weights to it. See how it goes.

Thank you for the help!
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