Missing Greg

Steven, a ten year old boy on the autistic spectrum was missing his little dog, Greg, who died suddenly at home.  Steven was unable to express his shock and sad feelings in words but acted out his confusion and anger in inappropriate ways.

Children with autism have difficulty connecting to their feelings and struggle to comprehend the feelings of another person. This lack of understanding and confusion may result in aggressive behaviour at school and the child could be a danger to themselves and others. The child with autism may enjoy observing the effect that their behaviour is having on others because they cannot see or feel things from someone else’s  perspective.

All behaviour is a form of communication and meltdown and shutdown are usually caused by high levels of stress, to a point where the child is no longer able to cope. Unacceptable behaviour can be triggered by any situation.  It can be the result of an accumulation of stressful events over a period of time (hours, days or even weeks). Some children internalise their feelings and can appear as though they don’t care but this is not the case.

In the event of the loss of a pet, creating a Memory Box can be a great help. Help your child to collect anything that is a reminder of the lost pet e.g. the funny hat he wore at Christmas, his food bowl, the ball he played with, photos etc.  You could make a recording of anything that your child would like to say to or about his or her pet.

Steven chose to make his own TiK ToK video of lovingly remembered photos that he watches when he remembers Greg.

 Manuals for parents or teachers working with children with communication problems are available as free downloads: Sensory Rainbow and Happy Talk