Autism - Support Across the Spectrum

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bigmessylife
Help for a runner?
April 14 at 6:57 AM

My 3 y/o with ASD has turned into a super runner lately.These are the biggest issues.

He jumps all of our baby gates and runs up the stairs, then waits for me to run after him and starts jumping down the stairs at me.

He runs away, specifically from me, in public places and avoids me catching him while laughing the whole time.

He thinks this is all hilarious and doesn't understand any sense of danger. Yesterday he was running into people and they were spilling food/drinks, but he just kept going while laughing and making sure that I wasn't fast enough to catch him. He eventually got out of sight and I had to hunt for him in a fire station.

I have him wear a harness at grocery stores, but what do you do in other situations like a kids' birthday party and is there any way I can get him to stop going up the stairs and jumping down them?

Replies

  • Momof4AEMW
    April 14 at 8:17 AM

    My son is a runner, but not to that magnitude, it is more just oblivious to safety with us.  I would ask your doc/therapist if he has one.  I would think a therapist could help him learn appropriate behaviors.  Since it is a safety issue, I would also treat it as a behavior issue with consequences.  Like if he will run at parties and such, put him on the harness so he understands his freedom comes with correct behavior.  At home with the stairs, I'd give him a time out once wrangled or take away a preferred item for a short time so he realizes jumping down the stairs comes with a negative consequence as it is not safe (instead of the negative of breaking an arm or something worse).  Or do the opposite and reward for correct behavior - anytime he is on the stairs correctly make a big deal of it or any outing that goes well make a big deal of it.  You can also find what motivates him and make a sticker chart or something that with X amount of correct behavior occurrences, he can pick a X (like outing to park, to watch a favorite movie, to bake cookies or get ice cream, whatever he likes).  good luck!

  • JTMOM422
    April 14 at 10:15 AM

    I would use the harness more often. Does he have a therapist you can work with on this. My son was a runner. We did the death grip until he learned to hold hands. Now he searches for a hand to hold. My dh refused to do the harness unless absolutely necessary. Also we worked with his behavior specialist on him stopping when we call his name or said stop. Good luck momma. I know this is hard and scary

  • bigmessylife
    April 14 at 3:06 PM


    Quoting Momof4AEMW:

    My son is a runner, but not to that magnitude, it is more just oblivious to safety with us.  I would ask your doc/therapist if he has one.  I would think a therapist could help him learn appropriate behaviors.  Since it is a safety issue, I would also treat it as a behavior issue with consequences.  Like if he will run at parties and such, put him on the harness so he understands his freedom comes with correct behavior.  At home with the stairs, I'd give him a time out once wrangled or take away a preferred item for a short time so he realizes jumping down the stairs comes with a negative consequence as it is not safe (instead of the negative of breaking an arm or something worse).  Or do the opposite and reward for correct behavior - anytime he is on the stairs correctly make a big deal of it or any outing that goes well make a big deal of it.  You can also find what motivates him and make a sticker chart or something that with X amount of correct behavior occurrences, he can pick a X (like outing to park, to watch a favorite movie, to bake cookies or get ice cream, whatever he likes).  good luck!

    I can try to talk to his OT about it, is that something they would work with him on? He doesn't have a developmental pediatrician anymore because the practice (that was 6 hours away as is) just shut down. I need to check around again and see if we can get into another practice.

    We have been doing time outs when the stairs bit happens, but I might have to bring our harness to public outings and not just the grocery store.

  • tiffyhamm
    April 14 at 3:10 PM

    I'm going to follow this thread to see if there are any suggestions that I can use with my son.  He is a runner big time, only thing is, he is a strong, tall, seven year old.  Harnesses will not work for him and he is FAST!  He giggles when he runs away, he thinks that it is a game and doesn't understand the dangers of just running off.  It's up and down, back and forth with him.  He is sometimes difficult to handle at family member's homes and parties.  I really do not know what to do in regards to his running.  Usually when he has those days where he just runs and runs, we put him outside and we run him til he wears out and that helps, but that just isn't possible for us to do all the time and for every situation.  So like I said earlier, I'm going to follow this thread for some answers.  Good luck to you, hopefully some of these wonderful ladies can help you out. 

  • rhiannonaisling
    April 14 at 3:15 PM

    The first several family gatherings and parties after my son started doing this we put him in his harness and leash...he got the point quickly. And then he had to wear it with the leash attached but no one holding on. Then just the harness with the leash unattached but on sight...then the harness with the leash in the car and then the harness in sight but not on before being able to leave the harness in the car...now we don't even have to bring it most places...it took about a year all told but only two or three events where I had to hold it at parties...we did the same for parks and other public places.

  • rhiannonaisling
    April 14 at 3:17 PM

    My son has a wheelchair for safety now that he is too strong for his harness. We only really use it for very crowded places (amusement parks, the zoo, local festivals, etc.)

    Quoting tiffyhamm:

    I'm going to follow this thread to see if there are any suggestions that I can use with my son.  He is a runner big time, only thing is, he is a strong, tall, seven year old.  Harnesses will not work for him and he is FAST!  He giggles when he runs away, he thinks that it is a game and doesn't understand the dangers of just running off.  It's up and down, back and forth with him.  He is sometimes difficult to handle at family member's homes and parties.  I really do not know what to do in regards to his running.  Usually when he has those days where he just runs and runs, we put him outside and we run him til he wears out and that helps, but that just isn't possible for us to do all the time and for every situation.  So like I said earlier, I'm going to follow this thread for some answers.  Good luck to you, hopefully some of these wonderful ladies can help you out. 


  • tiffyhamm
    April 14 at 3:32 PM


    Quoting rhiannonaisling:

    My son has a wheelchair for safety now that he is too strong for his harness. We only really use it for very crowded places (amusement parks, the zoo, local festivals, etc.)

    Quoting tiffyhamm:

    I'm going to follow this thread to see if there are any suggestions that I can use with my son.  He is a runner big time, only thing is, he is a strong, tall, seven year old.  Harnesses will not work for him and he is FAST!  He giggles when he runs away, he thinks that it is a game and doesn't understand the dangers of just running off.  It's up and down, back and forth with him.  He is sometimes difficult to handle at family member's homes and parties.  I really do not know what to do in regards to his running.  Usually when he has those days where he just runs and runs, we put him outside and we run him til he wears out and that helps, but that just isn't possible for us to do all the time and for every situation.  So like I said earlier, I'm going to follow this thread for some answers.  Good luck to you, hopefully some of these wonderful ladies can help you out. 

    Does your son also get overwhelmed in those situations and just not want to walk at all?  For instance, at zoos, carnivals, festivals, sometimes shopping centers, etc. Aidan will see the crowd and pretty much not want to walk anymore and he'll try to sit on the ground or lean into us as we walk.  He'll cover his ears and just kind of stand there, sometimes sit there.  You have to almost drag him to get him moving, we have to talk to him and try to get him to walk with us.  My husband one day made the remark that maybe Aidan needed a wheelchair or something.  He was joking, but now I'm wondering.  There are a lot of things we cannot do or have to leave early because he just cannot keep going because of all the people.  Taking lots of breaks helps him out though, but for only so long. 

  • JoshRachelsMAMA
    JRM
    April 14 at 3:41 PM
    Time to alarm the doors and windows and get him a gps watch. Mine is 17 now.
  • rhiannonaisling
    April 14 at 3:57 PM

    Not usually. He would run into oncoming traffic. I finally explained to the dr. that they could either approve the wheelchair or I would sue for malpractice when he got hit by a car.  However, he does do better with the wheelchair. Use noise canceling headphones as well because it sounds like noise may be a big problem. Also having a stuffed animal helps my son. We are getting him a weighted one soon. The wheelchair we have is a convaid cruiser with harness and foot straps (this is to prevent his kicking...)

    Quoting tiffyhamm:

    Quoting rhiannonaisling:

    My son has a wheelchair for safety now that he is too strong for his harness. We only really use it for very crowded places (amusement parks, the zoo, local festivals, etc.)

    Quoting tiffyhamm:

    I'm going to follow this thread to see if there are any suggestions that I can use with my son.  He is a runner big time, only thing is, he is a strong, tall, seven year old.  Harnesses will not work for him and he is FAST!  He giggles when he runs away, he thinks that it is a game and doesn't understand the dangers of just running off.  It's up and down, back and forth with him.  He is sometimes difficult to handle at family member's homes and parties.  I really do not know what to do in regards to his running.  Usually when he has those days where he just runs and runs, we put him outside and we run him til he wears out and that helps, but that just isn't possible for us to do all the time and for every situation.  So like I said earlier, I'm going to follow this thread for some answers.  Good luck to you, hopefully some of these wonderful ladies can help you out. 

    Does your son also get overwhelmed in those situations and just not want to walk at all?  For instance, at zoos, carnivals, festivals, sometimes shopping centers, etc. Aidan will see the crowd and pretty much not want to walk anymore and he'll try to sit on the ground or lean into us as we walk.  He'll cover his ears and just kind of stand there, sometimes sit there.  You have to almost drag him to get him moving, we have to talk to him and try to get him to walk with us.  My husband one day made the remark that maybe Aidan needed a wheelchair or something.  He was joking, but now I'm wondering.  There are a lot of things we cannot do or have to leave early because he just cannot keep going because of all the people.  Taking lots of breaks helps him out though, but for only so long. 


  • Kaaden
    by Kaaden
    April 14 at 4:16 PM

    Hi there,

    something I have seen in NZ is a autism dog.  The child is harnessed to the dog- usually something like a lab as they are heavy and lazy.  They are trained not to let the child run.  In NZ the cost is covered by the govt.  good luck


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