Help!!! Super sensitive sense of smell, super sensitive hearing, and an attitude about everyone who "offends" him with it... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 36 Old 03-31-2009, 09:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm crossposting in Parenting and in Special Needs Parenting, because part of this is about a physical problem and part of this is about an attitude problem. In short, we need lots of advice, because my son is driving us crazy and we're driving him crazy as well.

My son has Asperger's. He's socially inept and doesn't think about other people's feelings. Not because he doesn't care, but because he just doesn't get it.

My son has always had a very sensitive sense of hearing and an even more sensitive sense of smell. When he was a preschooler, certain smells would actually make him gag. About a year ago, around when puberty hit, his sense of smell and his sense of hearing became even more sensitive. This is the first problem.

We have a fairly big apartment, but if somebody's cooking in the kitchen, he says it's smelling up his room. We have certain resteraunts we go to that he doesn't like to go to... and doesn't like us to go to without him, either, because he says he can still smell it on us, even after we get home, even hours later. (Is this even possible?) And God forbid, anyone go to the bathroom. We have two- one next to his room and one on the other side of the house. If someone goes to the bathroom, even just #1, he will go on and on about how he can smell it and it's "stinking up his room". And his hearing. He can hear someone chew from across the room or sometimes even from another room. (Is that even possible?) And it drives him crazy. That's the first problem- the sense of smell and the sensitive hearing. I have unusually good hearing, and I've always had a better sense of smell than most people I know, so I do know a bit how he feels, and I think the Asperger's plays into it some with his sensory issues. But I do suspect that it's really not as bad as he lets on to be- we've tested it a couple times, with something "smelly" before he came home, and him not picking up on it. Anyways, that's the first problem. For his own comfort, what can we do about how he can't handle smells and sounds?

The second issue at hand. Life with my son has become a constant state of critisizm. He will constantly tell us (me, my Hubby, my little girl) how distgusting we are, because of a smell or a sound.

This morning, he went on and on about how the smell of my Hubby's coffee was making him sick and how disgusting it smells and how disgusting his Dad was gonna smell and on and on about "how can I (me) stand it, with him smelling up the house like that?". Needless to say, my Hubby left for work early and all pissed off.

Last week, it was raining (read: sprinking), but I had to walk the dogs, because they really needed to go. I came inside, and you would have thought I had commited a felony, the screaming fit about "wet dog smell" and "couldn't I have put them in their crates and made them wait" and how I'm so disgusting, can't I smell that? And of course, as soon as we came into the house, the dogs, like they do every time, went over to say hi to my kids and Hubby. My son started yelling at the dogs for coming over to him when they smelled like that, pushing them roughly away, and then yelling at me and the dogs because he touched them and now his hands will smell until he takes a shower and none of this would have happened if I didn't walk the dogs. (On a side note, one of my dogs has always been very sensitive and has anxiety issues. Within the last six months or so, when his outbursts became getting more frequent, she's become even more neurotic. I'm worried about her mental health now as well.)

A couple weeks ago, my Hubby and son went to my Father-in-Law's house and my Father-in-Law's brother was there. The brother is a cool guy, a bit rough around the edges, but everyone loves him. Except, apparently, my son, now. The entire visit, my son was disrespecting the brother, would not shake his hand (something he's always done- he used to love this guy), because earlier, the brother had been working in the yard with my Father-in-Law and, although he's washed his hands, it wasn't up to my son's standards. Another example, was, my Father-in-Law dropped a roll of tape, and asked my son to pick it up. My son refused, because it had rolled closer to the brother and the brother smelled. My Husband was absolutely humiliated (as was I, when I heard about it later) and sent my son home. (We live across town). We'd had plans to have dinner with my Father-in-Law and his brother, but my Father-in-Law actually uninvited us, because of this.

And then there was lunch on Sunday. My son and stepdaughter were eating lunch in the livingroom. Next thing I know, my son had my stepdaughter in tears, because "she was chewing too loud" and she was "disgusting". Not just those two simple comments, but he went on and on about it, chewing her out for at least ten minutes. And then another several minutes complaining to me in front of her about why can't I do something about her loud chewing. (Please note here, if my stepdaughter's Mother get's word of any of this, she will make a big federal case about this and try to stop visitation because of the "emotional abuse".) This is beginning to happen on a regular basis, the latest this morning, when I mentioned that his sister would be coming today instead of tomorrow, because tomorrow, my Hubby's going on a business trip. My son started going on and on about "why's she have to come over" and "she's disgusting" and "she gets her germs all over everything" (did I mentoin, he's become a germaphobic recently, as well?) and how she ruins everything for him. (This is not the son I raised, not the personality he used to have at all!!!) He does this every time she comes over, sometimes even in front of her. I'm surprised she even talks to him anymore. Of course, my Hubby, hearing this on the tail end of the coffe comments, left for work early and pissed off.

What can I do to help my son get rid of his attitude? It's one thing to make a comment about a smell, but quite another to completely verbally destroy someone with rude comments about a smell. My son's relationship with my Father-in-Law is shot, with my Hubby, damaged, and I'm always feeling like I need to protect my little girl from him, lately. (She's got the kind of personality, where she might be in abusive relationships when she's an adult. I don't want my son to be prepping her early on this, making her think that's her place in the world.) I love my son very much, but I'm even not wanting to be around him much lately. And this is causing alot of tension between my Hubby and I. I suspect he's been working late in order to avoid all this. Sometimes I wish I had that option. : What can I do?!

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#2 of 36 Old 03-31-2009, 10:15 AM
 
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Okay, I'm sure you've already tried these things, but here's my suggestion for solutions:

At 13.5, he can be given a set of earplugs and those swimming nose plugs and cheerfully told to use them whenever he feels bothered. Or a scented handkerchief (very dapper!) and a portable music system.

Last I checked, Asperger's makes it hard to read facial expressions and those subtle social cues that indicate how people are feeling? In fact, I seem to recall reading that adults with Asperger's learn social scripts to get them through places where other adults do what comes naturally. He needs to be given a script for handling the smells/sounds issue and needs to be rehearsed in it.

The fact that he doesn't notice smells when he's not expecting there to be a smell makes me think that a lot of his complaining is just habit. If you can change his habit from rudeness to discretely blocking his nose when he's truly bothered, he may become bothered by less (at least for me, my nerves get less frayed when an irritation is stopped quickly and I end up less sensitive to other things than I am when an irritation goes on for a long time).
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#3 of 36 Old 03-31-2009, 11:09 AM
 
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I don't have a child with Asperger's, but I do know people with it and I have worked with some children who have it. I would try a few things. At the first mention of the word disgusting, I'd remove him from the situation. We don't call people disgusting. I don't think you can let him continue to rant on and on about people and their habits in their presence. Perhaps you can come to a compromise with him, where if he wants to say these things about people, he has to do it inside his head, or leave the room and say them to himself, but you will not allow him to speak about people like that any more.

Has he ever taken any social skills classes? I know they are often offered for children with Asperger's. I think around here, they are through the intermediate unit. They might even be paid for. I think you should try to look into that. It sounds like you could use some outside help with this issue and your son needs to learn a little bit more control over his outbursts. I hope you can find a solution soon. Good luck!
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#4 of 36 Old 03-31-2009, 11:32 AM
 
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While I do understand that you need to be respectful of his condition and sensitivities, HE also needs to learn that he has to be respectful of others as well. Asperger's or not, there is no reason he should be allowed to go about insulting people constantly and behaving so rudely. Experience has taught me also that the more you let that happen the worse it will get - it won't be "outgrown" but assumed to be acceptable and only go downhill. I would have a talk with him about his attitude, give him a more workable solution and probably point out that you've tripped him up already and let him know you're on to him as well. I would then make him write a very sincere and thought out apology to FIL, uncle and hubby. Good luck!

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#5 of 36 Old 03-31-2009, 11:50 AM
 
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Is he in any sort of therapy? His issues aren't going to go away, neither is the rest of the world. He needs to learn how to deal with situations that make him uncomfortable. He cannot continue to ridicule the rest of the world.

As for the grown ups that are pissed off, grow up. Kids are kids and need to learn how to function in the world. Kids with issues get even more of a break.

I don't have any experience with special needs, but I'd really start seeking out some help. It's not fair to him or the rest of his family to have to deal with verbal abuse for just being there.
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#6 of 36 Old 03-31-2009, 12:10 PM
 
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My husband has Aspergers. He absolutely agrees that our response would be, "You are being a jerk. Go to your room until you can be polite." As a human being we don't get to decide much about how other people smell/sound we can only decide how we behave. Your son is not making good choices for himself. What he can do if he doesn't like someone's smell or sound is to go in his room and light a scented candle and play some music.

I've lived with Aspergers for a while now. I would not tolerate that sort of behavior for five minutes. Aspergers is not an excuse. Aspergers means you have to work harder at learning how to live in the world, not demand that the world accommodate you.

My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.

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#7 of 36 Old 04-01-2009, 03:18 AM
 
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Originally Posted by rightkindofme View Post
My husband has Aspergers. He absolutely agrees that our response would be, "You are being a jerk. Go to your room until you can be polite." As a human being we don't get to decide much about how other people smell/sound we can only decide how we behave. Your son is not making good choices for himself. What he can do if he doesn't like someone's smell or sound is to go in his room and light a scented candle and play some music.

I've lived with Aspergers for a while now. I would not tolerate that sort of behavior for five minutes. Aspergers is not an excuse. Aspergers means you have to work harder at learning how to live in the world, not demand that the world accommodate you.
Wow, I hope that you never end up with a child with special needs! I guess I should just tell my deaf daughter to suck it up and learn to talk!
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#8 of 36 Old 04-01-2009, 05:09 AM
 
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I think you need to tackle this on several fronts:

1. You need to provide him with a way to deal with stimuli that are actually physically overwhelming to him. Can you set up aroma therapy or something in his room or give him something that he can keep with him that's scented that he can use? I would offer him ear plugs/ear protectors or even another location to eat if the noise of the family is bothering him (not as punishment but as a sanctuary).

I would add to this that if he hasn't had occupational therapy, he NEEDS it. OT can be very helpful for this, and it can give you ideas of things you can do to combat the oversensitivities. (Try reading "Sensational Kids" as well.) If you can set up some place/way for him to get his sensory needs met, it might calm down the scent, smell kind of thing.

2. You need to teach him specific scripts of things he CAN say when he's bothered. Along with that would be scripts of things that he CANNOT say. Social stories would help with this.

Along with this, you need to teach him, probably through direct explanation, the affect his words have on other people. "When you say I smell disgusting that hurts my feelings and I don't like that."

I agree that a social skills class could be very helpful too.

3. You need to give him boundaries and options of what he can/cannot do when he's bothered by a stimulus. "If the smell of the dog is too much for you, you can go to your room/put on some aroma therapy/take a walk." Can he help you come up with things that would help?

I would also have some very specific rules about how often he can say things. "You can say you're bothered once. After that, it's rude. If you need to keep talking about it, please do it in your room."

Finally, reading your post, I'm getting a note of underlying anxiety from him. I'm pretty sure that anxiety/OCD often go along with Asperger's and it might be something you look into treatment for (cognitive behavioral therapy).

Honestly, it sounds to me like you need a bit of outside help, and that it might be more than you can do alone.

While I understand that your FIL is hurt and your husband upset, they also need to be brought up to speed on the fact that (a) he's really truly experiencing these sensations and (b) with Asperger's he doesn't have the social awareness to know that he's really hurt someone's feelings. He didn't set out to hurt your BIL - your son was 'protecting' himself in the only way that he knew how.

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#9 of 36 Old 04-01-2009, 05:52 AM
 
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It sounds to me like there is a lot going on in your family, and maybe your son is reacting to your dh (not his dad, I presume?) who seems like maybe he needs to try to be a little more understanding, from the very small amount you've shared... I totally agree that your son needs to learn how to deal more politely with his sensitivities, but while he's doing that, he shouldn't be made to feel like an ass, which will only make the situation worse, imho...

big hugs, it's hard dealing with this kind of thing!! my son gets super grossed out by a lot of gross kid things, like snot, chewing with mouths open, etc. he mostly ignores it with everyone except his poor sister, who gets serious scrutiny at mealtimes!! he's getting better, but I don't think he has aspergers, though I have been told by a few people that he seems like he might... very sensitive, anyway...

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#10 of 36 Old 04-01-2009, 09:04 AM
 
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Originally Posted by rightkindofme View Post
My husband has Aspergers. He absolutely agrees that our response would be, "You are being a jerk. Go to your room until you can be polite." As a human being we don't get to decide much about how other people smell/sound we can only decide how we behave. Your son is not making good choices for himself. What he can do if he doesn't like someone's smell or sound is to go in his room and light a scented candle and play some music.

I've lived with Aspergers for a while now. I would not tolerate that sort of behavior for five minutes. Aspergers is not an excuse. Aspergers means you have to work harder at learning how to live in the world, not demand that the world accommodate you.


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Wow, I hope that you never end up with a child with special needs! I guess I should just tell my deaf daughter to suck it up and learn to talk!

Oh for pity's sake, that is not what she meant. Her husband is an Aspie, so she should know a lot about Aspergers.

I am the mother of a child who has Autism and one who is currently being evaluated for Asperger's. Yes, the world needs to be more understanding of people with special needs. I agree with that. But, the behavior of the OP's son should not be simply tolerated because he is an Aspie.

I suppose that when my son, who has Autism, told a lady at our church that she was fat, I should have just patted him on the head and not addressed the issue? Thankfully, the lady knew about the Autism and just laughed, but I used it as a life lesson for him. That we do not blurt out what we think at all times.
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#11 of 36 Old 04-01-2009, 09:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
At 13.5, he can be given a set of earplugs and those swimming nose plugs and cheerfully told to use them whenever he feels bothered. Or a scented handkerchief (very dapper!) and a portable music system.
I life those ideas. He's got his IPod, and he's got a certain hand cream that he loves in his room. It makes his whole room smell like "fresh laundry". I'll have him go put some on or sniff thebottle whenever he's bothered, see if that helps.

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Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
The fact that he doesn't notice smells when he's not expecting there to be a smell makes me think that a lot of his complaining is just habit. If you can change his habit from rudeness to discretely blocking his nose when he's truly bothered, he may become bothered by less (at least for me, my nerves get less frayed when an irritation is stopped quickly and I end up less sensitive to other things than I am when an irritation goes on for a long time).
I suspect that this is part habit as well. (This is not to say I think he's faking, just that he's always needed a high amount of attention and he has been getting the desired effect that he's wants/needs.)

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I don't have a child with Asperger's, but I do know people with it and I have worked with some children who have it. I would try a few things. At the first mention of the word disgusting, I'd remove him from the situation. We don't call people disgusting. I don't think you can let him continue to rant on and on about people and their habits in their presence. Perhaps you can come to a compromise with him, where if he wants to say these things about people, he has to do it inside his head, or leave the room and say them to himself, but you will not allow him to speak about people like that any more.
We're trying that. My son has got to be the most stubborn person in the world, personality wise, and add that to his Asperger's, it's to the point where, the day he was "attacking" (better word, please?) his sister, I actually had to physically, against his will, remove him from the room, and even then, he was trying to yell from the other room to his sister how disgusting she was and why doesn't she change. (Bad Mom Award there, but what else was I supposed to do?)

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Has he ever taken any social skills classes? I know they are often offered for children with Asperger's.
We're in a really good school district, so social skills classes have been offered at my son's Middle School, as well as his own psychologist (is that the word? I always confuse them all) who works with him one class period during the day. The psycholigist (or whatever) is nicely trained and has been helpful, but the social skills class has become a dud. My son's former best friend/current arch enemy is another boy in the class (who I suspect has Asperger's as well) and this other boy has made my son's like a living Hell the last couple of months, so my son hasn't been going to the social skills classes as much. They were helping, before, though.

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Originally Posted by SunshineJ View Post
While I do understand that you need to be respectful of his condition and sensitivities, HE also needs to learn that he has to be respectful of others as well. Asperger's or not, there is no reason he should be allowed to go about insulting people constantly and behaving so rudely.
Exactly how I feel.

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Originally Posted by rightkindofme View Post
My husband has Aspergers. He absolutely agrees that our response would be, "You are being a jerk. Go to your room until you can be polite." As a human being we don't get to decide much about how other people smell/sound we can only decide how we behave. Your son is not making good choices for himself. What he can do if he doesn't like someone's smell or sound is to go in his room and light a scented candle and play some music.

I've lived with Aspergers for a while now. I would not tolerate that sort of behavior for five minutes. Aspergers is not an excuse. Aspergers means you have to work harder at learning how to live in the world, not demand that the world accommodate you.
And...

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Originally Posted by fairejour View Post
Wow, I hope that you never end up with a child with special needs! I guess I should just tell my deaf daughter to suck it up and learn to talk!
I don't think that's quite what she meant. I took it as, some people may need some help with it, some people may need lots of help with it, but if somebody's being disrespectful of somebody else, that's unacceptable and there needs to be a way to help them learn what is acceptable behavior or not. Kinda like, just because somebody is handicapped (I hate that term!), doesn't give them a free pass to say or do whatever they want to whoever they want.

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Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
1. You need to provide him with a way to deal with stimuli that are actually physically overwhelming to him. Can you set up aroma therapy or something in his room or give him something that he can keep with him that's scented that he can use? I would offer him ear plugs/ear protectors or even another location to eat if the noise of the family is bothering him (not as punishment but as a sanctuary).
At home, he has his IPod and some scented cream. We also have some nice scented candles he asks us to light on occasion. (In the living room or diningroom, not in his room, because of certain fire related experiments in the recent past.) Any suggestions for when we're not home?

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Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
2. You need to teach him specific scripts of things he CAN say when he's bothered. Along with that would be scripts of things that he CANNOT say. Social stories would help with this.

Along with this, you need to teach him, probably through direct explanation, the affect his words have on other people. "When you say I smell disgusting that hurts my feelings and I don't like that."

I agree that a social skills class could be very helpful too.
We have, and his social skills class has as well, but it doesn't seem to be working anymore. Sometimes after the fact, he's ready to listen to me explain what happened and why someone got upset with what he said, but never in the heat of the moment and it always happens again later.

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Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
3. You need to give him boundaries and options of what he can/cannot do when he's bothered by a stimulus. "If the smell of the dog is too much for you, you can go to your room/put on some aroma therapy/take a walk." Can he help you come up with things that would help?

I would also have some very specific rules about how often he can say things. "You can say you're bothered once. After that, it's rude. If you need to keep talking about it, please do it in your room."?
We do all that. It's hard to filter out what's his Asperger's talking and what's his stubbornness talking and what's his OCD talking.

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Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
Finally, reading your post, I'm getting a note of underlying anxiety from him. I'm pretty sure that anxiety/OCD often go along with Asperger's and it might be something you look into treatment for (cognitive behavioral therapy).
He's had anxiety issues since he was a toddler and OCD qualities since he was 5 or 6. What in particular made you think of him having anxiety issues? Maybe I'm just overtired right now, but I didn't think I said anything along those lines in my original post.

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Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
While I understand that your FIL is hurt and your husband upset, they also need to be brought up to speed on the fact that (a) he's really truly experiencing these sensations and (b) with Asperger's he doesn't have the social awareness to know that he's really hurt someone's feelings. He didn't set out to hurt your BIL - your son was 'protecting' himself in the only way that he knew how.
They are aware (my Hubby and Father-in-Law, don't know about my Father-in-Law's brother) of the Asperger's and they keep that in mind when he's having a day like that day, but they still find it unacceptable, the level he goes to. My Father-in-Law's way of dealing is to not spend time with my son when he's gonna act like that. Unfortunately, this leads to my son having other issues, because then it seems like my Father-in-Law is favoring my stepdaughter (who incidentally is my Father-in-Law's biological grandchild) and that's a very sensitive subject for my son (and a whole other thread!).

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Originally Posted by tiffani View Post
It sounds to me like there is a lot going on in your family, and maybe your son is reacting to your dh (not his dad, I presume?) who seems like maybe he needs to try to be a little more understanding, from the very small amount you've shared... I totally agree that your son needs to learn how to deal more politely with his sensitivities, but while he's doing that, he shouldn't be made to feel like an ass, which will only make the situation worse, imho...
I didn't think we were making him feel like an @$$... but yes, if you go through some of my other posts and threads, we've got so much going on in our family right now, it's ridiculous. It's a wonder we're not all crazy by now. And my Hubby is my son's "Dad", but not his "Biological Father", if you know what I mean.

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Originally Posted by tiffani View Post
big hugs, it's hard dealing with this kind of thing!! my son gets super grossed out by a lot of gross kid things, like snot, chewing with mouths open, etc. he mostly ignores it with everyone except his poor sister, who gets serious scrutiny at mealtimes!! he's getting better, but I don't think he has aspergers, though I have been told by a few people that he seems like he might... very sensitive, anyway...
I'm sorry, I know it must be rough for you, but you just discribed my son to a tee. My little girl usually gets the brunt of my son's scrutiny, also, simply because she's littler than him and because she'll just sit there or take it. Sometimes I wonder if I should be more worried about her because I can completely see her in a verbally abusive relationship when she's an adult and that's a horrible thought (and another completely different thread!).

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#12 of 36 Old 04-01-2009, 09:49 AM
 
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As for your dd, any chance that your ds would respond well to a plea that you want to make sure she's used to healthy relationships so she doesn't get abused as an adult? Working to protect her from verbal abuse might help him not do it as well as setting him up with a mindset that it's not okay in general which could protect him from that sort of relationship in future.
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#13 of 36 Old 04-01-2009, 09:50 AM
 
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To the OP have you read the posts over on special needs? I was sorry to see the thread closed there because I felt the posts had a different and more helpful tone.

You asked about away from home suggestions for smell. I would suggest either a wristband with the desired smell or a film canister for his pocket. That is portable and easy for him to take a quick whiff.

I'm wondering if you've spoken very much to the psychologist who is working with him. It sounds like that person might need to be better informed of his behavior at home so they could help you make up some plans to address that.

The other thing I wanted to suggest is considering what role, if any, puberty might be playing in this process. For some people with Asperger's puberty hormones take what was already a high level of anxiety and sensory sensitivity and kick it into extreme overdrive. That is the point at which many people decide to go on anxiety medication to help with that. Temple Grandin has written a bit about her experience at that time and the difference anxiety medication has made for her.
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#14 of 36 Old 04-01-2009, 02:58 PM
 
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Wow, I hope that you never end up with a child with special needs! I guess I should just tell my deaf daughter to suck it up and learn to talk!
I don't think she needs to learn to talk. But I think it would be inappropriate for her to lash out at people and treat them badly when they talk.

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#15 of 36 Old 04-01-2009, 03:16 PM
 
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Once upon a time people carried around pomanders that they would bring up to their nose to mask odors. If it worked pre-contained sewage it would probably help a lot with wet dog. Or really any kind of potpourri sachet. Those could both work with going out. He might feel a bit awkward about 'sniffing' stuff all the time, but it would solve his problem. If he can't have a candle in his room, would incense be ok? What about plug in sorts of scent distributors? Bath and Body has some really awesome scented oils that you can use with plug in diffusers.

For sound I really would think about getting a noise canceling head set that he can plug in to an iPod. In this modern world people don't find that terribly odd.

At his age I would also talk to him about the fact that if you are willing to go this far to try and help him feel better he needs to meet you in the middle by cutting people some more slack. I would be pretty frank about talking about how people feel when he expresses these sorts of opinions this strongly. It sounds like he has a whole passel of issues that are going to make life a lot harder for him. I don't think he should be punished for having these issues. I'm not that unreasonable. I also don't feel like "go to your room until you can be polite" is awful because I do that. I have trouble being polite sometimes.

I kind of want to keep babbling, but the baby woke up.

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#16 of 36 Old 04-01-2009, 03:19 PM
 
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maybe vicks vapor rub, and also some sort of non-verbal signs he can give that I have got to get out of here. In some ways I sympathize, when I was pregnant some smells didn't agree with me, but that meant I moved away from them, not ragged on the people nearby.

Does the doctor think there are meds that could help?
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#17 of 36 Old 04-01-2009, 03:40 PM
 
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Does he "go off" on people at school as well, or just at home?
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#18 of 36 Old 04-01-2009, 03:42 PM
 
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My husband has Aspergers. He absolutely agrees that our response would be, "You are being a jerk. Go to your room until you can be polite." As a human being we don't get to decide much about how other people smell/sound we can only decide how we behave. Your son is not making good choices for himself. What he can do if he doesn't like someone's smell or sound is to go in his room and light a scented candle and play some music.

I've lived with Aspergers for a while now. I would not tolerate that sort of behavior for five minutes. Aspergers is not an excuse. Aspergers means you have to work harder at learning how to live in the world, not demand that the world accommodate you.
I completely agree, I have Aspergers myself and that is not an excuse to berate and belittle people. He's more than old enough to learn how to control himself and while I know its a lot harder for him than other people he is still more than capable of it.
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#19 of 36 Old 04-01-2009, 06:36 PM
 
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I don't think she needs to learn to talk. But I think it would be inappropriate for her to lash out at people and treat them badly when they talk.
That's because Aspergers affects the ability to conform to social norms in way that deafness does not. It is absolutely the equivalence of the people who complain that my child (profoundly deaf) is making too much noise in a resturant bathroom. Yes, she will be taught that it is noisey when she makes that sound, but it might not be on your timetable. Does anyone here think that she has never tried to correct this behavior? Or that some how this is just him being a brat? I don't. I believe that he has a in born brain difference that causes him to react in a way that other's see as social inappropriate, just like my loud kid. Yes, he needs to learn, but it will not be an easy task, and it will take time.

I really wish this thread was in special needs....
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#20 of 36 Old 04-01-2009, 06:50 PM
 
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That's because Aspergers affects the ability to conform to social norms in way that deafness does not. It is absolutely the equivalence of the people who complain that my child (profoundly deaf) is making too much noise in a resturant bathroom. Yes, she will be taught that it is noisey when she makes that sound, but it might not be on your timetable.
I thought Miss Kat was under 10? (I'm thinking of her as being 6, but I'm not sure.) By the time she's 13.5 wouldn't you want her to have at least *started* to have learned some tricks for modulation?

No one in this thread is saying "punish him" or "he's just faking and needs to suck it up".

But it isn't fair to him to not be given coping skills. And at 13.5 either he has a good chance of learning those skills or his special needs are so great that his family would already be working with professionals and this topic would've only come up in the SN forum.
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#21 of 36 Old 04-01-2009, 06:53 PM
 
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Which reminds me, I mentioned about Asperger's affecting the ability to read social cues like facial expressions because I wanted to point out that he might not be continuing despite people being upset, but because he doesn't fully realize they're upset. Like, he isn't doing it because he doesn't care about their feelings, but because he doesn't see that their feelings are being hurt.

Subtle difference, but it makes for different motivations.
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#22 of 36 Old 04-01-2009, 07:18 PM
 
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Which reminds me, I mentioned about Asperger's affecting the ability to read social cues like facial expressions because I wanted to point out that he might not be continuing despite people being upset, but because he doesn't fully realize they're upset. Like, he isn't doing it because he doesn't care about their feelings, but because he doesn't see that their feelings are being hurt.

Subtle difference, but it makes for different motivations.
(Totally off topic but Sapphire, I love that there is even an error in the typing of your "please forgive my errors" siggy!
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#23 of 36 Old 04-01-2009, 07:21 PM
 
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I thought Miss Kat was under 10? (I'm thinking of her as being 6, but I'm not sure.) By the time she's 13.5 wouldn't you want her to have at least *started* to have learned some tricks for modulation?

No one in this thread is saying "punish him" or "he's just faking and needs to suck it up".

But it isn't fair to him to not be given coping skills. And at 13.5 either he has a good chance of learning those skills or his special needs are so great that his family would already be working with professionals and this topic would've only come up in the SN forum.
I would hope that she would be able to do it by that age, but honestly, some kids can't. There are times when the child can not learn that skill, and to continue to push it only makes for frustration and emotional harm. I have no idea if that is the case here, but it is a possibility.
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#24 of 36 Old 04-01-2009, 07:45 PM
 
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The objection I had to the theme of the postings is the idea that because someone knows a person with Asperger's who can do x, y or z that it means that of course all other people with Asperger's can or should be too. The spectrum is HUGE and I don't think anyone would suggest that because someone on the spectrum is a nuclear physicist that well, anyone could be if they just applied themselves.

I believe we should start with all children with the belief that they can improve and learn and he deserves this assumption. That said, I don't think simply saying he shouldn't be doing this really provides the mom with a lot to go on.

I really think there needs to be more information about what has been tried so far in order to make recommendations. It isn't entirely clear right now:
1. if he's had any kind of sensory integration therapy
2. If he's on medication for anxiety.
3. If he understands that other people are upset.
4. If he has clear ideas for what else he can do when he's experiencing these overwhelming sensations.
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#25 of 36 Old 04-01-2009, 07:52 PM
 
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I would hope that she would be able to do it by that age, but honestly, some kids can't. There are times when the child can not learn that skill, and to continue to push it only makes for frustration and emotional harm. I have no idea if that is the case here, but it is a possibility.
But they aren't going to know if he's able to start learning the coping skill if they don't try. And unlike most life-skills, he's probably not going to learn it without help.

Like, you wouldn't expect your dd to just develop the ability to modulate her speech, right? (Although, with the CI, maybe she will be able to do it on her own? That'd be cool for her.) You'd give her help, practice with her at home, gently remind her in public, stop doing anything about it if she isn't responding well--do things as she needs.

All teenagers need help with social skills. One kid might only need to be told once "ds, that's not cool, knock it off" while another might need to practice at home and be reminded at the first hint of a disgusted face "is a sound bothering you? remember you have head phones if you need them." Or more, and it could take an hour or several years, depends on the child, and place.

One can accept and love a child who isn't capable of learning coping skills to handle a difficult situation, but it isn't fair to anyone, least of all the child, to not try to teach those coping skills.

Really, the modulating the voice thing is a bad example because Miss Kat isn't too loud because she's being upset by something else, whereas the OP's son is rude because he's suffering. So it's more important for him to have ways to block the sounds/smells than it is for your dd to speak in a conversational tone.
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#26 of 36 Old 04-01-2009, 07:53 PM
 
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(Totally off topic but Sapphire, I love that there is even an error in the typing of your "please forgive my errors" siggy!

That's because Lina helped type it.
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#27 of 36 Old 04-01-2009, 07:59 PM
 
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The objection I had to the theme of the postings is the idea that because someone knows a person with Asperger's who can do x, y or z that it means that of course all other people with Asperger's can or should be too. The spectrum is HUGE and I don't think anyone would suggest that because someone on the spectrum is a nuclear physicist that well, anyone could be if they just applied themselves.

I believe we should start with all children with the belief that they can improve and learn and he deserves this assumption. That said, I don't think simply saying he shouldn't be doing this really provides the mom with a lot to go on.

I really think there needs to be more information about what has been tried so far in order to make recommendations. It isn't entirely clear right now:
1. if he's had any kind of sensory integration therapy
2. If he's on medication for anxiety.
3. If he understands that other people are upset.
4. If he has clear ideas for what else he can do when he's experiencing these overwhelming sensations.
1. and 2. Yep, working on the underlying cause is important. I thought your first post over in SN was excellent on that topic.
3. It's a "all Aspies are the same" thing, but I assumed he didn't know.
4. I assumed he didn't, that's why I suggested that Harleyhalfmoon give him some things to do.

I think you're reading "he shouldn't do those things" to mean that people think she should just tell him not to do those things. I'm reading it to mean that people think that it would be a bad idea to do nothing.
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#28 of 36 Old 04-01-2009, 08:25 PM
 
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I didn't think we were making him feel like an @$$...
no, certainly not intentionally, but sensitive kids take things to heart so much more extremely than other people, yk? we have to be so careful not to make my son feel like we're "mad at him" -- he needs to understand that his behavior isn't ok, but it just crushes him to feel like anyone is displeased with him, which makes it all worse, like you say here...

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My Father-in-Law's way of dealing is to not spend time with my son when he's gonna act like that. Unfortunately, this leads to my son having other issues, because then it seems like my Father-in-Law is favoring my stepdaughter (who incidentally is my Father-in-Law's biological grandchild) and that's a very sensitive subject for my son (and a whole other thread!).
that's sort of what I was talking about. Can you talk to your FIL and help him understand that his approach doesn't help at all, and only makes it worse? Dad maybe also needs to be extra careful to not leave the house pissy, making sure to forgive and forget after each episode. It doesn't excuse the behavior, but kids need to know that their parents' love is unconditional, yk? it's such a hard line to find, and really emotionally taxing for people who were raised with withdrawl of love (as most of us were) as a behavior controlling tactic...

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I'm sorry, I know it must be rough for you, but you just discribed my son to a tee. My little girl usually gets the brunt of my son's scrutiny, also, simply because she's littler than him and because she'll just sit there or take it. Sometimes I wonder if I should be more worried about her because I can completely see her in a verbally abusive relationship when she's an adult and that's a horrible thought (and another completely different thread!).
It can be rough, but my dd is older than my son, so I don't think it affects her the same way it might with your dd, being the younger one, it's probably more intimidating, and yeah, some attention to her needs is probably warranted there. I encourage my dd to ignore him, (because my first suggestion of politely telling him that he's hurting her feelings didn't go over all that well ) but he is getting better about it -- I did stress to him that SHE isn't doing anything wrong, it's HIS problem, and HE needs to look the other way or move somewhere else to eat -- we have to be very careful not to put them across from each other at mealtimes, and usually we just eat while watching tv or something to avoid the situation altogether -- he won't be able to eat at all if he gets grossed out.

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The other thing I wanted to suggest is considering what role, if any, puberty might be playing in this process.
that too! doesn't make it any easier, but probably helpful to keep in mind that he will mellow out in a few years. puberty is hard on everyone!!

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#29 of 36 Old 04-01-2009, 08:59 PM
 
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At home, he has his IPod and some scented cream. We also have some nice scented candles he asks us to light on occasion. (In the living room or diningroom, not in his room, because of certain fire related experiments in the recent past.) Any suggestions for when we're not home?
Can he bring his iPod? Can you get him some ear plugs to bring with?

Scent is harder - I would suggest a handkerchief with the hand lotion he likes, but would that be too weird for a 13 year old? Someone suggested a bracelet with essential oils on it, I think? Maybe he could dab some essential oils on his wrist and kind of put his head in his hands if it's overwhelming.


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We have, and his social skills class has as well, but it doesn't seem to be working anymore. Sometimes after the fact, he's ready to listen to me explain what happened and why someone got upset with what he said, but never in the heat of the moment and it always happens again later.
What about a code word or something like that to tell him 'enough', so that he knows when he hears you say that, he needs to stop talking or remove himself. It might take a lot of practice but it might help.

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He's had anxiety issues since he was a toddler and OCD qualities since he was 5 or 6. What in particular made you think of him having anxiety issues?
I was definitely reading between the lines - something in my brain was wondering that since he's in the middle of puberty it probably made his sensory system is out of whack and freaking him out. I didn't know about other family issues, but if there's other family stress, it could really bring out these qualities.

I suspect I thought about anxiety because of my own family history - we have a strong tendency to try to control EVERYTHING around us when stressed/anxious about things, and we've got sensory stuff and quite possibly Asperger's in the family.

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#30 of 36 Old 04-02-2009, 06:05 PM
 
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I only looked at this thread, not the one in SN so I don't know if this has been mentioned. But the adults I know who have Aspergers, wear sunglasses a lot of the time (more than most people do even in SoCal) and I assume it helps them to cut down a bit on general sensory overload. If he's up for wearing sunglasses a lot, you could see if that would help him to keep things down to a manageable level-- as in, maybe if his visual field were a little dimmed, he could tolerate smell and sound more easily.

p.s. what is that "fresh laundry" hand cream? I think I want to get some!
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