Beginnings and Curbing Undesirable Behaviors

Being a parent is somewhat of an emotional rollercoaster. We all celebrate our children’s little victories; we marvel at how they grow and learn. We laugh with them, we feel their pain. As parents, we do everything in our power to help our children reach their fullest potential. We want them to become loving, caring, responsible adults. At least, that’s what I like to believe.

But what if your child is on the Autism Spectrum?

Children with an ASD think differently; they learn differently. As parents, it is sometimes difficult for us to teach them how to cope with their condition, how to function to their fullest potential. With some, especially those on the higher end of the spectrum, this is difficult, but possible in many cases.

With parents of children on the lower end of the spectrum, this can be frustrating and heart-breaking. Parents of these children want to do everything in their power to help their child. But in many of the low-functioning autistic children, the ability to communicate is minimal. How do you make them understand that their behavior is inappropriate? How do you get them to communicate their needs?

In my years researching Autism on the internet, I have found very few resources for parents of children on the spectrum. I’d like to devote this site to creating an environment and real community for parents who need help.

With this post, I want to begin with ideas on how to curb undesirable behaviors. How do you, my readers, prevent your children from doing things like playing with their feces? How did you potty train them? Do you have problems with your low-functioning teenagers doing things in public that are very inappropriate (like touching themselves or others in inappropriate ways)? How do you curb those behaviors?

Please, all of you, feel free to discuss your ideas, what you’ve done that has helped, etc. I think this is an important issue with our children, and I think it is important for parents who are experiencing this, or for those parents who are new to the Autism diagnosis, to have varying ideas on things that may or may not have worked.


9 responses to “Beginnings and Curbing Undesirable Behaviors

  1. My son got potty trained at about age 10 when we started the GFCF diet, Houston digestive enzymes, and probiotics. Before that he had chronic diarrhea and enuresis which made it impossible to toilet train him. He was cured of poop smearing at age 2 when my husband finally yelled at him really loudly (but I don’t recommend yelling as a good behavioral technique!) Generally, we have a very empathetic approach to discipline and I think that when kids know you are on their side, and when you listen to what they really want and need (even if you can’t always provide it) they are more likely to be cooperative and communicative. But i know this does not work for everyone.

    When I heard Temple Grandin speak about prescription drugs for behaviors, she recommended first trying the GFCF diet, because, based on her experience speaking with many peope around the world for years, she believes that the GFCF diet really helps some people with behaviors.

    I have also seen Dr. Margaret Bauman and Dr. Timothy Buie talk about how much addressing gastrointestinal issues helps some people with autism and difficult behaviors.

    Our son has really mellowed out a lot over the years, and to what extent this is because of diet and supplements, and to what extent due to education and maturation, I can’t say. I often wonder what he would be like today if we had not found out about diet and supplements, what would he be like if we had started all that at age 2 or 3 instead of 10, and what he would be like if we had done more and bigger biomedical treatments. I also think he’s had a lot of really good teachers who have worked with him on being able to behave and pay attention.

    As far as advice on behavioral intervention I guess I don’t have much to give! There are a lot of resources out there, books and specialists with various philosophies, which work for various kids — though nothing seems to work for everyone.

    I would say, that I always find the “serentity prayer” helpful — asking for the strength to change what can be changed, the patience to accept what can’t be changed, and the wisdom to know the difference. We have so much stress in our lives, and sometimes we just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and doing our best, and know that sometimes surprisingly good things happen just when you almost felt like giving up!

  2. Minority and Twyla, thank you both for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it. And Twyla, your comment has some excellent pointers.

    Twyla, I understand that not everything works for every child. Every child is different, and every child has different physiology, so not every therapy or treatment will work on every child the same way.

    I want this site to be a sandbox. People can discuss the things that have worked for them, and parents who are new to this and need help can read this site over and gather ideas. They can look them over and try these different ideas out.

    All of us need a site like this; a resource for parents who need help with their autistic children.

    Minority and Twyla, I would really appreciate it if you guys mentioned my site. This is not in a bid to increase my traffic, but this is to help other parents.

    Thank you both again. And, I apologize for how long it took me to moderate your comments. I’m still trying to figure out how to allow comments on WordPress without moderation.

  3. Hi
    My son was diagnosed with ASD- prognosis of severe ASD- at 3 y 2 months. He had toe walking, stomache- crying and pushing his stomach, etc. After 3 days of GFCF diet he was totally potty trained. I was told no test for celiac disease is worth (former neurologist) but I found a pediatric gastroenterologist and did it. Not only he was celiac by testing but also had near 10 more medical conditions detected at that time. He had also sleep issues – correlated GERD and also stopped on the GFCF diet. Now, my learned experience was “Check for biological problems first with a concerned , committed and open minded doctor- prone to read published science on biological problems in ASD”·

  4. Thanks, Maria. We have a problem with keeping my son on the GFCF diet. He does much better when he’s on it, but he will go absolutely nuts for the first few weeks of the diet. And I do mean NUTS. He’ll run into the kitchen and pull every item he can find out of the cabinets until he finds something with Gluten or Casein in it. He will try to eat it until it makes him sick. And if you try to take it away from him, he will get violently angry. But once he gets it out of his system, he’s much calmer, much more alert, and much easier to deal with.

  5. Autismalms,

    We have gone through a unique situation with my grandson who is 5. He had been on several different supplements and therapies prior to the last year possibly two. During that time while on GFCF diet, enhansa, B12 shots, digestive enzymes, along with anti-fungal, and anti-viral at different times we had a pretty calm little boy. He went to many therapies and was for the most part literally very comfortable in his skin.’
    For the last two years approximately he did not receive the above mentioned GFCF diet, therapies , medicines and supplements. My son just recently gained custody of his son. He had tried to keep up with his treatments while his son was not living with him, but it became impossible. He won custody easily and now is restoring his previous regiment of therapies, medicines and supplements.
    I do not know what could be a bigger testimony to GFCF or bio-medical than my grandson a mere four weeks after my son gained custody. My grandson has gone from an inconsolable, tantrum plagued, stimming non-stop, dashing out the door, humping every chance he got, emotionally distraught child to the calmer loving little guy we all remember. It has been absolutely amazing. I can tell you I was scared to death that we were not going to recover what he had lost.
    Now, I will give credit to my son and his calm firm way with his son, but in no way can that alone be responsible for the major shift in my grandson’s behavior. His son is doing so much better it is just astonishing. Yeast is my grandson’s enemy and the diet along with daily Nystatin treatment I believe are the key and the recent addition of B12 shots again.
    I read that you were not wanting to enforce the GFCF diet. I think that by not doing that you are subjecting your son to discomforts that could be avoided. My sister’s husband and daughter were diagnosed with Celiac disease, because of this there whole family went GF. Maybe you could consider this for your family just to keep the gluten out of the house. My family is kind of going that way for several reasons. We all seem to benefit from eliminating gluten. If anything my grandson’s illness has opened my eyes to many health concerns that we all face.
    I am now frequenting the site SCIA or Stop Calling It Autism. This father healed his son by first proving and then treating the underlying autoimmune and other medical complications of autism. He now is on a mission to gather other parents to have their children tested with specific test and join his study that he hopes will show the underlying autoimmune disease behind what we call autism.
    As for AOA , they have been my savior and I am always there picking through the comments and looking for guidance. They are there to help not hinder and I appreciate a group that is willing to stand up to those that will deny the obvious.

    • I apologize about the delay in moderating your comment. I haven’t been available to check the site lately, and I only just now checked the email account associated with this blog.

      You should be fine now to comment and post. Thanks for stopping by.

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