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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a foster ds that is 3yo. He has been with us for 2.5 months. They are working on a diagnosis, but suspect fetal alcohol syndrome, possibly autism, and definitely some developmental delays; he does qualify and receive services from the Division of Develpomental Disabilities. Early intervention thinks he definitely has processing problems, and he has no concept of abstract thought. He is very bright in some areas, but IMO he functions at an 18mo-2yo level socially/emotionally.

Okay, here's the problem. He is horrible in the car. He did/does everything in his power to get out of the seatbelt and booster. We had him in a belt positioning booster (he is almost 50lbs), and he could unbuckle it; he'd take his arms out, etc. We bought a Britax Husky because it has the 5pt harness, so that has eliminated the escapeism for now at least; BUT, he constantly hits and kicks my other kids. He will reach over and poke/prod/hit foster ds1, who sits on the same bench seat (the middle seat is empty), and he'll kick my ds1 who sits in front of him. He'll also spit. Car rides are extremely unpleasant, as he bugs all the kids who then bug me, lol.

If I firmly tell him to stop, he will stop for about a second, but then go back. I've tried pulling over and talking to him, pulling over when he does it, nothing works.

Natural consequenses or taking away privileges won't work at all with him because he can't grasp the concepts; and doesn't understand cause and effect. With my ds2, who is also three, he can understand that if he kicks then he won't get dessert, but foster ds2 cannot, so it would be totally useless.

He isn't uncomfortable in the car, he likes going places, he likes his new carseat, so those aren't issues. I don't know why he does this, it seems to be intented to annoy the other kids, not hurt them, and boy does it annoy them! He doesn't behave like that outside of the car.

Any suggestions?

Kristi
 

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I certainly sounds to me like he doesn't like the carseat. You said yourself that only the 5pt system has prevented escape. So he doesn't like being restrained or he is having sensory issues with parts of the carseat. That's my take on it, anyway. I work in early intervention with children who are on the autism spectrum.

Is he verbal? It sounds to me like he is trying to interact with your other sons but doesn't have an appropriate way to do that. I'd be happy to think of some activities that he could do in the car with your other son that would keep him occupied but if he's bothered by the carseat then that may be causing him to be overly irritated in his interactions.
 

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sounds to me like sensory issues also, like he can't handle the sensations of the carseat/car and the lack of control over his situation. You could try doing some preparation beforehand, talking over exactly where you're going, that he's going to be in the seat, so-and-so will be sitting next to him, so-and-so behind him, and you'll be driving... also if there are any smells in the car or if someone will be eating a snack tell him that ahead of time... anything to give him some mental plan which will coincide with actuality and therefore reduce his anxiety...

I've just been reading Judith Bluestone's book, so I'm sounding just like her I know - she thinks a lot of autism and austistic behaviours are sensory related...

hth
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It isn't the carseat; he did this in the booster he had, as well as simply in a seat belt (in the home he was in before me). He loves to go places, doesn't get upset or angry or scared, but he just likes to bug my other kids! He does do this sometimes at home, too, but on a normal scale, kwim? In the car, it's constant. He has toys, I've tried food, but he is intent on annoying the other kids.

He is verbal, but doesn't communicate well, if that makes sense.

He is in early intervention and they don't have any ideas for me; he was in therapy, but his worker quit so we are in limbo for a few weeks until we can get a new one........and maybe they will have some recommendations.
 

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Hi Kristi,

How about adding some soothing sensory elements to the carseat. A lap snake or weighted blanket, a chewy tube and a variety of fidgets may be enough appropriate stimulation to keep him from behaving inappropriately. Elliott (who is an only) loves going places, but the road noise, car seat, and radio can be his ungluing. Using a personal music device helps (hey, that ipod shuffle was mine!) and he has a box of various fidgets to use. He also enjoys drawing in the car--occupying his hands and mind seems to help him deal with the discomfort he feels. Sounds like your guy is having a tougher time than Elliott ever did, but I will say that things were worse for Elliott when he was younger. Good Luck!
 

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I understand what you are saying about it not being the individual seat, booster, etc. but the fact that he has fought being in all types of restraints surely means that he doesn't like being restrained. Some kids with SN love that and others hate it.

I also think that Piage had a bunch of great ideas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by PikkuMyy
I understand what you are saying about it not being the individual seat, booster, etc. but the fact that he has fought being in all types of restraints surely means that he doesn't like being restrained. Some kids with SN love that and others hate it.

I also think that Piage had a bunch of great ideas.
Oh, absolutely he doesn't like being restrained.....I'm sure he'd be thrilled to run around the car, lol. I thought your post was referring to the specific seat I bought, as it is new. He also doesn't like to be hugged, cuddled, etc; they do think he has some sensory issues as well.

Anyway, I appreciate all the suggestions, thanks!

Kristi
 

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I applaud you for putting him in the 5 pt harness, he definately sounds as if he needs it.
The idea of a weighted blanket is a good one. Anything toys or whatever you want him to have access to can be attached to the blanket rather than the seat, which can (in theory) help prevent them flung around the vehicle.
 

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He definitely doesn't like to be restained in carseats or a regular seatbelt. You said yourself he has had this trouble with being restained at his other homes he's been in.

He is trying others ways to get out of his carseat prison and the fact that he can not is getting him frustrated enough that he is taking it out on others in the vehicle who are in his reach. Since he doesn't understand about the need of being in a carseat to have safety in an accident if it should occur, then you need to find lots (I should say) of ways to distract him from even thinking about trying to find a way to get out of the carseat while the vehicle is in motion until you have made it to your destination. If he is not thinking he is in prison anymore then he will not be taking his frustration out on others. Make sure you try to have a large basket or bag he can have in his reach or let the others help him get to these things while in route and do a switch on them often so he won't get bored.

Another thing is having his therapist quitting on him has taken a toll on his security once again. He has had his security taken from him plenty of time when moved from one home to another. I hope he gets a new one soon and that one stays with him, but there again it will take time to build up a relationship with him to be comfortable with his new therapist. In the meantime go to the place of the former therapist and ask them if they can have someone give you instructions on how to keep him occupied while driving in the vehicle until you get him a new therapist (let them know your need).

I hope for the best in this situation you have here. Good luck and let us know how he is doing in the future.
 
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