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Minx_Kristi's picture
Joined: 01/02/09
Posts: 1261

Is there ANYone out there who is dealing with autism in their child, or a family member?? How do you cope with it? What are you like with that child/adult?

My niece just turned 16 last month and if I'm honest, we're not 100% sure exactly what is wrong with her. She is 16, but she acts a lot younger than her years.... a few examples...

If she met you only once, the next time she saw you she'd come up and give you a hug.
She isn't great at telling the time.
She doesn't understand the concept of money, that say 10 dollars is worth more than 1 dollar.
She isn't great with hygiene so monthly cycles are a nightmare for my sister who has to keep telling her to put her underwear in the laundry basket, shave her armpits and wash her hair.
She is over weight, but will wear clothes that are too revealing (trust me, my sister has daily arguments with her about this!) like shorts that show off her cheeks....

All that being said, she can cook.... not like Gordon Ramsay but she can fry an egg and I can't even do that!!

Anyway, there is something called lights and sounds therapy and whoever does it is based in London. Apparently it's meant to be amazing and people come from all over the world for their child to be assessed. My sister put my nieces name down and she got accepted..... they came to see her yesterday. They told my Mum (sister had to work) that although my niece comes across really happy and jolly and appears to not let things bother her, she is in fact depressed and she over eats because she thinks food is her only friend in the world. Although we wouldn't think it AT ALL, her self esteem is very very low. She often lies about things and when she was being asked questions yesterday she lied.... They told my Mum is was because she is living in a fantasy world and the lies she tells are what she wishes was happening Sad

As you can imagine, my sister was in complete bits last night..... I was today. My niece can be such a handful, she'll root through your stuff if she goes to use the bathroom and I could never leave her alone with DD... I've caught her swaddling her in her blanket before at the age she is now.... she means no harm but it wouldn't be a safe thing to do. So, family reaction and I am guilty of it myself, is to avoid having her around. She has had many arguments with my Mum and she gets right up in your face, it's scary.

So I guess this post is to reach out for advice. How are you meant to treat them? Like normal people or like very young children??

This light and sound therapy will be undertaken on Monday so fingers crossed that something can be done to help her.


quiltingmarie's picture
Joined: 10/09/06
Posts: 117

I'm a special education teacher, and I've worked with some kids with autism. I have found a few things that really help. First, you can't expect a person with autism to just "know" the rules of etiquette. If you don't want her looking through your things, you have to tell her. "Dear, when you are at another person's house, it is not okay to look through their things." I have found that social stories help, too. Its essentially a story that tells the person how to handle a situation.
When I go to my aunt's house, she has different things than I have at my house. I want to look at her things. It is not okay to look at my aunts things that are put away. If I want to look at something, I need to ask and wait for permission. My aunt will be so proud of me for using my manners. I will be happy because my aunt will be proud.
It seems so simplistic, but it breaks down the exact problem. Social stories are meant to be read over and over again, so they can be compiled into a binder. If a new situation comes up, write a new story. If an old situation reappears, just have them read the story again. HTH!

Minx_Kristi's picture
Joined: 01/02/09
Posts: 1261

Thank you for taking the time to reply!

We constantly tell her she shouldn't be doing it, but it goes in one ear and out the other. Do you think a social story would make much of a difference? I will definately tell my sister about this, anything is worth a try.

I think the mistake we make, is we expect her to act like a 16 year old and so we get frustrated with her. We need to learn ourselves that she needs that little bit more attention.


Starryblue702's picture
Joined: 04/06/11
Posts: 5454

It doesn't sound like autism to me, only because you said that she loves to hug people. Most autistic people don't like physical contact, especially hugs. There's no way to know without proper testing, but it doesn't sound like autism to me.