Children on the Autism Spectrum - they make us laugh, they make us cry - and we love 'em to pieces!
Being a single mum with an autistic child presents challenges normal support doesn't even touch on. Share your experiences, ideas - or even just vent if you need to, in here!
Anytime Carly, and that's what this site is for.... rants! :-) I also completely forgot, when I was in a really bad place with my son and his behaviour was at it's worst. For example, giving me a black eye, breaking my nose, stabbing me with his cutlery, kicking, punching, biting, headbutting you name it he did it. We were referred into a RAI program run by Mission Australia. You have to be referred to get into it, and in our case we were referred by child safety. (the deadbeat baby daddy and his wife called them..... but that's another longer funnier story lol) You can also be referred by child health, a dr, or women's health. The RAI program has federal government funding to spend money on you and your daughter, get you into see dr's, specialists, and enroll you in programs designed to help you in your situation. They put me in my first positive parenting program, and paid for a nanny to watch him for me, then they put me in a playgroup called Sing and Grow, which is just for kids with delays and behavioural or physical problems. It's basically music therapy, it took a few lessons till he calmed down and we even got one on one lessons at home so that he would behave better at home. I met alot of parents with autistic and aspergers children from my experience in RAI, and I can tell you, you are definitely NOT ALONE. Even those parents were struggling to get someone to diagnose their child with something or anything, cos the minute they are diagnosed, a whole world opens up to them where they can join support groups, get on going help in the home to manage the behaviour, even additional money to help pay for the extra care the child needs.... all sorts of things.
Sing and Grow is under playgroup australia, and community organizations fund the groups. Their website is and hopefully you can find one near you and see if you can join.
And the website for Hanen is . That's the original site for Hanen, it was developed in Canada, and speech therapists use it all over the world. Our new speech therapist the other day gave me a behaviour questionnaire, and I found myself ticking the often and always columns ALOT! And she said that was perfectly normal in children who are developmentally delayed, for whatever reason, they are frustrated cos they either can't understand what's going on or we can't understand them, which leads them to lash out and escalate. So if your girl isn't yet talking, it's definitely worth trying this program out, if one is available nearby, as it's for both parent and child. So you'll get some training too. I also went and taught myself (through the power of my iphone and an awesome app) sign language. More of a refresher as I did learn it when my sister was younger, and that side of the brain that does the sign language is where the speech is, and in delayed children sign language can help that side of the brain realize it can do more so they tend to speak after learning some signs. My son's first word was at 22 months and it sounded like bubble. All speech therapists use sign language too with the children as does the music therapist.
You've also probably been told about occupational therapy, they can help with things like toilet training and eating problems, and they focus on developing the fine and gross motor skills as well. They are also part of the child health unit and they are completely free, your gp should be able to refer you to this, but I waited 8 months just to get into the Hanen program, and now they've met him they said he should've come in sooner! Aaaarrrggghhh!!!!
You could also try one on one swimming lessons for her, some parents from the group I went to found some luck with it. Personally my son can't swim due to his grommets, but we just got our ear plugs today so we'll be heading back to the pool.
But they are some ideas of things you could try, see if they help her and you. You may not find an improvement for a while and trust me there will be times when she will make a huge improvement and then revert back to naughty again, we go through that all the time. So don't feel discouraged, I know it's hard but if you stay determined your girl will notice that you have changed and eventually she will adapt her behaviour.
And YES wherever I go my son draws attention to me, huge tantrums to the point where he's hurting himself. I try the planned ignoring and I'm seen as a bad parent, I try the quiet time, and then I'm seen as a parent who lets her kid rule her. Or I could lash out and yell at him harshly and tell him to stop it, and then I'm seen as a parent who can't control her own temper. Then there's my favorite mid mall adult tantrum, then I'm just seen as a crazy person entertaining her giggling son! So there's no winning, we're always going to be judged no matter what we do with our kids, but until they live a day in my shoes they don't get to judge me and their opinions mean squat to me. I'll do whatever works for me, and whatever keeps me sane, or at least appear to be sane in public! lol
I'm certain that there is something or someone out there that can give you the help you so desperately need. I hope my advice has pointed you in the right direction. And anytime you hit the wall and need to have another vent, I'm here, we all are, and you're not alone. xoxo
Hi Carly, I am a single mum of three. One diagnosed with ADD, the other with high functioning Autism and the youngest with Developmental Delay and Pervasive Development Disorder (a form of Autism). With there diagnoses I was able to get support both financial and emotional. With therapy the children's lives have improved and therefore making parenting easier. My oldest two are in mainstream schooling with plenty of one on one support. My youngest will start school next year and hopefully I can return to work. (I miss having money). Carly, get the help you are entitled to by first visiting your GP to get referrals needed for diagnoses.