J.C. asks from Hebron, CT on May 26, 2009
Time-out Advice Much Needed
I've decided my time-out routine needs a bit of work. When my son has a time out, he is in his Pack N Play. This worked great when he was smaller, but now I'm realizing it has become a negative place for him to be... not good when i actually want to use it on trips out or over nights at a friends house! Putting him in time out really doesn't even seem to faze him anymore. He sits there for his 2 minutes and just plays with the mesh netting.
I was thinking of investing in a few time-out mats, or even just little mats from the dollar store, but i just cannot picture my son staying put! He was just diagnosed with Autism a few weeks ago, so I'm not even sure if this would be the right approach for him.
Any advice? I know it will take long to "train" him to stay put until his timer goes off, and lots of consistency. Tips from moms are greatly appreciated, especially mommas that have a time-out routine for kids that are Autistic. Thanks!
1 mom found this helpful
J.E. answers from Boston on May 26, 2009
Something that has worked in our home has been our "naughty steps" :) yes, we stole the name from Nanny 911 ha ha but they work. What we do is put them in the "time out" spot, speak to them and tell them why they are there in the first place. The older on who is 6 doesn't move, she takes her time outs like a champ but the little one who is 2 does squirm, wiggle, scream, cry, the whole 9 so we make sure she is on the lowest step and put a gate up right behind her so she can't get up and climb all of the stairs or hurt herself during her tantrum. When she does get up, she is placed right back at the step, we do not say a word, eventually she gives up the good fight and gets her time out over with. It's not easy but yes, consistency is key. My girls are not autistic so I am not sure if the same procedures would work but I guess it's worth a try. Best of luck. :)
C.M. answers from Boston on May 27, 2009
My son has autism too. At age 2, his EI teacher created a time out 'task' that he had to complete. It was dropping puzzle pieces or Legos into a coffee can with a small hole cut in the lid. He had to calm himself and focus to succeed, then he could get up and resume playing or whatever. Sometimes he could not calm down and tossed the pieces, sometimes he settled right in and did the task quickly. It was about teaching him self-control after emotional outbursts. It seemed pretty effective. Good luck - and ask your EI provider for her/his ideas too!
L.S. answers from Hartford on May 27, 2009
I have three kids under three. a 3.5yr old, a 2 yr old and a 5mo old. I started each child out in time outs in their booster seat strapped in. As they got older the booster seat became not strapped and now with both older children they will go to any corner or any chair that i put them in. We do time outs in ever place we go.
S.A. answers from Boston on May 27, 2009
If your child is having behavioral problems and is diagnosed with autism, a good resource would be to get him ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) services from Early intervention. They have ways of doing 'time out' that are very helpful. You can also contact the local special ed parent advisory council in your area and they may have resources for you. It;s for parents of school aged children, but most parents have some resources locally that would be helpful. Framingham sped PAC can be found at www.f-sepac.org
ONE OTHER THOGHT - THE AUTISM ALLIANCE OF METROWEST MAY BE A GOOD RESOURCE FOR YOU. THEY ARE IN THE MORSE LIBRARY IN NATICK AND THEY HAVE SOME GREAT EVENTS.
K.E. answers from Boston on May 27, 2009
I am not sure about the autism piece -- I know there is a big spectrum of autistic behavior, and so I don't know what might be appropriate for your son. But I was also concerned that my older son would not stay put in time out. He is the same age as a friend's daughter, and when my friend started using time outs effectively and having her daughter stay in a corner, I was just incredulous because I just knew my son would not stay there. He is VERY active and very spirited. What we ended up doing was holding him there for his two minutes. We would make him face the corner while we cupped one hand around his neck (just at the base, so you can feel the shoulder bones). This did not hurt him (obviously, you don't squeeze) but did prevent him from comfortably turning his head. After a while he learned to stay there on his own because then we would let go. We now successfully use this same technique with our younger son (who is only 18 months, but time outs are so effective! We only make him stay in the corner for one minute, though).
J.G. answers from New London on May 27, 2009
Time out does not work for all children - and it is often not used correctly. It's not the same as sitting in the corner as punishment - it's a break to regroup and change the behavior. If a child likes time out and acts out to get in the pack and play - then that's not working. If time out escalate to a power struggle, it's not working. If your routine helps diminish the unwanted behavior - then it is working.
The autism component adds to the mix. I would suggest getting Birth to 3 - (in CT) or whatever early intervention program your state has - involved as soon as possible. It can make a really big difference in all aspects of your son's life. They can also help you work out discipline and behavior routines. The best advice I got from my son's Birth to 3 case worker was to stop using time out with him - and especially to stop making it like "sitting in the corner" as punishment. If he needed a break it was to be a very short break - otherwise it became a conflict over staying in time out rather than teaching appropriate behaviors (also, focus on teaching appropriate behavior rather than punishing bad behavior). Sure, it's awkward when my son and another child have a conflict - his buddy will put himself in time out, stay there for several minutes and then talk to his mom about the issue. My son stays for about 45 second to 1 1/2 minutes until he calms down and then I have him engage in physical activities that help him maintain control of himself (the PT suggested 3 somersaults followed by 10 jumps - works wonders for my son's issues). I have to explain to moms that this is what works for my son - I'm sorry for the conflict between the children. My friends now understand and I can't worry about the rest of the people - I need to do what is best for teaching my son in the long run.
Your son's case worker can help you and your son build strategies so he can maintain his composure.
Good luck and know that there are support groups where parents can offer tips on raising a child with Autism spectrum issues.