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Helping My Nephew With Autism, Help

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Old 02-23-2006, 09:26 PM   #1
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Location: London
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scartissuemark HB User
Helping My Nephew With Autism, Help

My name's Mark I have a 5 year-old nephew with Autism.

I just want a little more insight into they way my nephew's mind works.

His name is Jacob and we all love him so much, we worry for his future and how life will be for him.

He has mild-autism, he LOVES his computer games, seeing him playing them, and the smile on his face is wonderful.

Our main worry is of him being bullied when he gets a little older

Here's a brief profile on him:

He gets obsessed you could say with his playstation 2, and gameboy, when he plays he doesn't listen or take notice of things around him and gets very angry and tearful when it has to go off.
He plays for hours and once he is warned that it has to go off he sometimes understands and walks off to do something else, however he only seems truly happy when he's playing.

He has good memory and is very smart, however his communication is an issue with him, he talks to people but only saying "hello" or "how are you" or "it's you" then he gets distracted and leaves. With his family he is a lot better.
He has great a knowledge of words but his sentence structuring is hard for him. He can mix up words back to front, I think he just isn't interested and that isn't a bad thing for him, but it's hard for him to communicate his feelings. He finds it very difficult and frustrating to write.

Here is a list of some of his habits:

He grinds his teeth and has ground down most of his baby teeth.

Doesn't sit still for long.

Collects leaflets and reads them, it used to be signs and before that icleand bags and trucks.

takes an invested interest, hour or so, just watching swirling colours on a screensaver.

Will only take one route walking to and from school.

Won't uses forks or knives, only hands and spoons.

When Jacob goes off into his own world I can't help but think he is really lucky because in his own world, things are what he wants, and that must be great. He does this running on the spot, flapping his arms motion when he is excited and looks really cute.

I remember once when we were all sitting around and his dad had to turn off the game because he was on it for a good few hours, Jacob started crying and screaming while running about and I tried to envision what would make him that upset in his head and I had a kind of vision of myself (as him) in a blackened room with only one light far ahead of me, and a man was reaching to turn off the light, sealing me in the room forever. I thought it was that type of feeling that everything goes black for him when the game goes off.

Anyway, We all love Jacob and wouldn't change him for the world, He is Jacob, and we couldn't picture him another way.

So I guess Iím just asking for those of you who have autism if you cold give us some advice on what to expect in the future, how to help him, I read that overprotective-ness can be annoying, knowing what your experiences are like would be helpful.

So any help you all have will be greatly appreciated!



Last edited by scartissuemark; 02-23-2006 at 09:48 PM.

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Old 02-24-2006, 01:36 AM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Paisley Scotland
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bercol1 HB User
Re: Helping My Nephew With Autism, Help

I have a six yr old son with Autism. I always say, i would love to spend a day in his head and just see exactly for myself how he views the world.

Anthony loves playstation games too. He becomes upset when we turn them off. He normally just exchanges it with the computer.
If he has been on the games too long, what we do is give him some warning that his time is up. So we say "games off bye bye" and then leave him for a few more minutes and then tell him a second time. We then tell him what's coming next. "Anthony going to the park" or "Anthony bathtime" etc. so he has another activity to go to. Then we say "games bye bye" and count down 5-4-3-2-1 and then turn it off. That way he has time to understand that the game has now finished.
I also hide the games and turn off the computer hiding the plugs just to give him a break from them. He will find something else to do. Just getting down on the floor with him and playing at cars and drawing etc. can help him learn to do somthing different and hearing you speak and showing him that other games can be fun too.
I think it is important to give an autistic child time and space to do the things they like and to be autistic from time to time but it's also important to spend time encouraging them to play and interact and practice good social skills this can still be fun and done with toys and games and things he likes.

As for the future, who knows, it is more important to help and work with him now. The more input he has now the brighter his future will be.
He sounds like a lovely wee boy with a very caring family and that will stand him in good stead.
Take care

Old 02-24-2006, 07:51 AM   #3
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Airdrie, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 432
PinkPiglet HB User
Re: Helping My Nephew With Autism, Help

I'm so glad you are trying to better understand your nephew! I think that's great. I agree with Bernadette. Our kids need to know what's coming up. Letting him know he has five minutes to play his game before turning it off.

Try using a kitchen timer. Tell him he has, say 1 hour, to play and then set the timer. That way when the timer goes off that's it. Then maybe he'll get mad at the timer instead of the adult who turns it off. A number of timers have a little reminder at the 10 minute and then the 5 minute mark which may help things as well. It works well for us.

My son is 12 and still has a very hard time with knives. Cutting his meat at mealtimes is very difficult but he's working on it.

Routine and scheduling is VERY important for our kids. Taking the one route to school is an example. It makes him feel in control.

Has the dentist given him anything for grinding his teeth? I know they make appliances for that.

We homeschool our kids so now bullying isn't a big issue. My son was going into grade 5 when we pulled them out. Best thing we ever did! Definately not for everyone though lol.


Old 02-24-2006, 09:14 AM   #4
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 69
thelovelyamber HB User
Re: Helping My Nephew With Autism, Help

There's a book I once picked up at the library that was called "A Mind Apart".. sorry I don't remember who wrote it. It's sole purpose is to show you what it's like to have Autism. It contains stories about people who have it, and it shows you have to experience the world the way an autistic person would. It was very eye-opening for me.

I also read somewhere that for some Autistic children, they view the world as though they are on an LSD trip. I've never been high or done any drugs, but I think I can imagine how difficult it would be to live and learn with such a sensory- hightened world. I have no idea how true that is, but when I watch the boy I babysit move through the world, he sure does seem to be fascinated with color and sound and texture the way a person who is on holusenigens does. I can't make that jive with video-game playing though (which my charge loves). Seems like that would make video games so much more difficult. This boy loves them because they are something that he knows how to do. He beats each level exactly the same way, defeating all the enemys in the same order as though he'd never done it before.. babysitting is like going into that movie, Groundhog Day. When he gets to a new level he gets frustrated or bored, and stops playing. He can only defeat something if someone has shown him how, it seems. Or maybe he just likes the part where you shoot a gun, and he's not interested in any other part of the game. :-)

Good luck, and GREAT FOR YOU for taking an interest. You have no idea how many times I've heard "I have no support from my family because they're scared... they have no idea what it's like to raise him/her." Wow, I am impressed!

Old 02-24-2006, 06:54 PM   #5
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scartissuemark HB User
Re: Helping My Nephew With Autism, Help

Thanks for all your comments

His gaming anger isn't as bad once he's had the game for a while, we used to use an egg timer, we'd let the sand drop once for him and then tell him that when the top is empty next time it has to go off.

My sister is finding it hard because he is very much a mommies boy, he won't let anyone take him to school because thats his routine like you said. She gets frustrated with his teachers, althogh their are quite understanding, if he has a good few days they'll kind of forget or don't take it as him trying really hard at school to be "normal" around the other kids. so at school he acts okay but then when he gets home it takes its toll and he becomes very stressed.

She is thinking about having half a week at normal school then half at home or an autism school, but it's tough to get that arrangement.

He's gonna have to have an operation on his teeth to remove them, but all should be fine after that when his grown-up teeth grow in. He really hates being a patient at hospital, gets all worked up, but when he comes to visit me in hossie he is has a great times, strange, eh.

i remember a few months back i told him about the organs in the body and he'd go off and say "mummy this is where your lungs are" and hold his chest. when i was in, i showed him my x-ray and he was so intrigued.

Are family are very close so thats is one great thing he can always depend on, he's quite lucky i think.

Old 03-02-2006, 02:12 AM   #6
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Jana2676 HB User
Re: Helping My Nephew With Autism, Help

I really like the book 'Children with autism, the parents guide.' It had alot of insight about autism, how it affects people differently, how it affects family members, etc.

Good luck!

Old 03-12-2006, 10:50 PM   #7
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Cleveland, OH
Posts: 4
ttisme HB User
Re: Helping My Nephew With Autism, Help

Alot of kids with autism like video games, but the downside of this is that computer activities are passive and don't involve any interaction with others. Try to promote some variation in activity or routine by using a visual schedule. Pictures arranged in a vertical column that indicate a sequence of events (i.e. computer, book, toy, dinner etc.). Children with autism are visual and stress is reduced if they know what will be happening next. Check the "schedule" when it is time to change activties, give him the next picture and tell him "time for..." as you move to that activtiy. You can purchase a picture symbol computer program and print these symbols (i.e. Boardmaker by Mayer-Johnson is the most commonly used program). "first/then" schedules can also be helpful when children get upset because they have to do something they don't want to do. On the left side of a divided board is the picture of what must be done "first" and on the "then" side is a picture of the activity they want. "first"....."then...". The timers are also a good idea. There are "visual" timers available, where a red portion appears up to the time indicated and the child can "see" as the red disappears that the time is running down. Also, these timers don't "tick" so they are not distracting. Try playing alongside your nephew in an activity he chooses. Don't try to control activity or his play but maybe expand on it (i.e. if he lines up cars, you build a block bridge for your car to drive through). Play next to him, making brief simple statements "to yourself" as you play.

Old 03-14-2006, 01:59 PM   #8
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heartcreature HB User
Re: Helping My Nephew With Autism, Help

Every child will have a different outcome, but I thought I would let you know how my son who is now 19 is doing. He drives a car, he goes to a community college, he works part time, he has had girlfriends, he has very few really good friends. School in general was very difficult. Teasing is a huge problem. I don't know if there is anyway to prevent it. We tried to conteract it as much as possible at home by building his self esteem. He graduated from high school but he receive a waiver. In Indiana he would have to pass a qraduation qualifying exam. He passed the Math but was not able to pass the English portion. That is the area he is having difficulty with in community college as well. He is pursuing a career in graphic arts. He is very artistic and we've always been told to go with the positives. He would someday love to design car decals. He is a wonderful kid. Autism is not all bad. I wouldn't change my son but I sure wish life would be easier for him.

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