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Old 01-20-2006, 11:18 AM   #1
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FayeBrummett HB User
Question I could use some help

I am a foster parent and I have a little girl that has autism. She is almost 8 yrs old and she doesn't talk or use the restroom. I currently can not get her to eat anything accept Cheetos and that's it. SHe is taking seizure medicine and a laxative but no other medications for this. She has also run out of her sleep aide so I am having a rough time right now. Also things I can do with her to help like activities that she would think was fun.So if there is anything anyone can tell me that might help me out that would be great!


Thank you so much,
Faye

Last edited by FayeBrummett; 01-20-2006 at 11:22 AM.

 
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Old 01-21-2006, 04:25 AM   #2
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geezermom HB User
Re: I could use some help

Thank you for having an open heart and open home for this little girl. Autism can be very frustrating to deal with...whether YOU are the one with it, or are the family of the person with it. Ultimately, though, you end up realizing that love and affection translate into a broader language than you ever knew before. Sometimes, a single smile will send you zooming to the stars in happiness. And you will be happy for having loved her.

First thing - her self esteem...Lots of times, you'll think that what you say to an autistic person rolls completely unnoticed, off their back. They seem to ignore you or are deaf. Sometimes they aren't "hearing" you. That is true, but not always! When you are discussing your foster daughter's autism with somebody, make sure you do so as if she were a 21 year old typical girl sitting right there next to you. Speak of her with respect because she may be absorbing every thing you say and do.

Educate yourself...getting online with this group is an excellent start! There are major sites set up by the national associations that have great all round info about autism. You will learn that autism can be debillitating (like the stuff you saw on made for TV movies 20 years ago) or as mild as the kind Bill Gates has. Many people with autism are extremely gifted in certain areas.

More specifically, find out from your foster daughter's case worker what history she has. If she's been labeled autistic, then obviously, she's been evaluated by a doctor. If she's been in school, then there should be school reports from her therapists/special ed teacher. Is she considered bright, average, below average? Remember that some kids who have lower IQ scores do so not because they can't answer the question correctly, its because they DON'T WANT TO ANSWER the question. Don't underestimate her smarts!

Learn/experiment if she has sensory issues...This is important because what one autistic kid loves, another will have a tantrum over if they're anywhere near that thing. You might get a tub of Cool Whip, a couple brushes, a couple packs of jello...let her paint some dark colored construction paper with the white Cool whip, she can mix A BIT OF jello powder in to experiment with making colors on some waxed paper or aluminum foil. Don't put out the entire tub of Cool Whip or the entire box of jello...she may not know she's only supposed to use a little and dump everything together.

My little boy likes to "bake", so you can also see if she wants to help you make pudding or fruit salad, something that doesn't have to be cooked but she can have fun mixing. Its fun to do it together, and she can have a sense of accomplishment when the family sits down to eat her salad.

Routine - routine - routine...most autistic individuals feel very comforted by having a known routine or schedule. I guess its because they can't always process verbal information.

You have to think about how they see/hear things. For example, you can say, "well, remember today we go to the dentist", then you get in the car, but when you hop out at the dentist's office and NOT school (where she thought you were taking her) she has a meltdown. If you know about autsim, you'll see that that is very understandable behavior.

Its like she's been dropped off in rural Tanzania and nobody speaks English. She asks for scrambled eggs and the idiots keep bringing her goat's eyeball soup. Every day, for weeks, somebody drives her to the fruit market. Then, one day they speak some gobbledygook to her and drive her to a landfill instead. Huh?

If you can make a big calendar for her, it might help. I bought one (about 3 bucks) at an educational store and use little yellow cut-outs (icons) of schoolbuses for the days my son goes to school. When we are going to go to the zoo, I put a picture of a zebra on that day. We have a little icon showing a kid getting a haircut. When we are going to the grandparents, I put on a little picture of my son & his grandfather riding a 4 wheeler.

You can map out the whole month for her visually. The visual component is important when the person has a communication problem. Remember, she wants scrambled eggs and you're the idiot serving up the eyeballs!

Autism is kind of a giant communication disorder...its hard to translate words, facial expressions, and body language. Eye contact can feel invasive, like somebody is sticking his finger in your ear. You will learn to communicate in new and creative ways with your foster daughter. You will be a better communicator with everyone in your life because of it.

I'm so sorry your little gal has autism, but I'm awfully glad she's got you.

 
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Old 01-21-2006, 06:41 AM   #3
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Join Date: Dec 2005
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bercol1 HB User
Re: I could use some help

Hi
I firstly, want to take my hat off to you and congratulate you for looking after this wee girl. i have a six year old Autistic son and i am still trying to learn his ways and see things from his point of view. At times he can seem so "strange".
Medication- my son is on no medication at all. But all autistic children are different.
I would suggest, when trying to play with her, put out a few toys and see which ones she chooses. My sons favourite toy at the moment is cereal boxes. Let her play on her own and you play along side her but not interupting her game. Once she is used to you being there and doesn't feel you are overpowering her, very gentley add somthing to her game a little bit at a time.
My son loves to glue and stick and make things. Again sit along side her, you make your own creation and let her make her own. then gradually show her things and over time she may take on your ideas.
My son also likes toys that he can associate with. He loves characters, books and toys from films and cartoons he likes on the TV.

My son also loves music especially clasical/opera music

I always say keep language simple. Don't overpower her with words especially if she is anxious and in new surroundings. For example when asking her to put on her shoes don't say "lets put on you're shoes" "can you find you're shoes" "we are going out now put shoes on" for an autistic child this can sound like 3 diffrent commands all said at once and can be confusing instead just say "shoes on" "Shoes on" forget flowery language and please and thankyou for a while. It sounds like you are barking orders but believe me it cuts down all the confusion for her.
All children are so different i hope some of my ideas are of some use.
Good luck and keep us posted as i would love to hear how you are doing. This board is a great place to get tips and help. Somtimes small and simple ideas can make a huge difference.
Bernadette

 
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