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Tracker
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24 Feb 2010, 3:42 pm

Ok, this should be a long post...

To herbal mistress: I haven't been ignoring your post, I have simply been trying to figure out how to respond to it appropriately. Since I can offer no simple explanation, I shall go with the full and very long explanation. I do hope you have brought your popcorn.

For starters, and perhaps most importantly: Your problem is that your child is too stressed out and that is what is causing the majority of your problems. The simple truth is that autistic people have to deal with a lot more stress then normal people do. A simple example is just having overactive senses. I know that the way I hear things is effectively about 20 decibels louder then the way most people do. I can easily have a conversation and clearly hear everything said at about 20-25 DB, whereas most people have a hard time hearing anything below 40 decibels. On the other end, things bother me at a much lower volume then it takes to bother a normal person. To me, a car horn going off near me would be as painful and unsettling as an air horn going off in your ear would be to you.

For example, just look at this nicely labeled chart:
http://www.dangerousdecibels.org/teache ... ices_3.pdf

As you can see a normal conversation is about 50 decibels, to me that sounds closer to 70 decibels which is about as loud as standing next to a vacuum cleaner. A slightly louder environment like being in a classroom with a bunch of rowdy kids can be downright painful. Imagine if you had this conversation when you came home from work:
You: Hi honey, how was your day?
Husband (YELLING): MY DAY WAS FINE! HOW ABOUT YOURS!
Now imagine every single conversation you had was with somebody yelling at you. You would feel a bit stressed out by the end of the day, wouldn't you? What if you had to live with that constantly? And thats just the over sensitive hearing.

Also, consider that as you look at your son, you think he is very strange. His actions confuse you, and you can't seem to understand what he is thinking. He thinks the exact same about you. Trust me when I say that from my perspective, you normal people are the strange ones. Now for you this causes some confusion and a bit of stress when dealing with your son because you have such a hard time relating to him. Now try to imagine what your son feels like when he is surrounded by people who are as strange to him as he seems to you. If you think it is difficult trying to get along with one person who thinks differently then you, then try getting along with people when everybody you meet seems that strange. Try forming connections with other people, or discussing things of interest with people who you have nothing in common with, and can't relate to. Try fitting in when you haven't a clue what in the world fitting in entails.

And that is just scratching the surface of what can cause anxiety and stress. I could talk about being bullied by your peers because your different, or about the stress resulting from being threatened by your parents. Or I could discuss the stress resulting from failing to meet all the expectations that people place on you. There is also a neurological aspect involved in that the autistic brain is much more susceptible to stress due to an overactive amygdala. I could easily write a book about this, but I think you get the point I am trying to make which is that your child is dealing with a lot of stress.

As for how this all relates to the meltdowns, perhaps a more detailed description is needed. I wrote this in a post about 2 months ago, and I think it still applies. Counter to observations, a meltdown really isn’t an off or on thing, but more so the far extreme of being overwhelmed, stressed out, and anxious. For example, if we where to make a chart from being fine to being in a meltdown, it might go something like this:

1. Calm and relaxed
This stage is your happy, idealistic mood. I.E. what both you and the child want.

2. Slightly anxious
At this stage your child is slightly defensive, but no major problems thinking or acting.

3. Moderately anxious, slightly overwhelmed
At this stage your child is more defensive, and starting to have some small trouble processing input. They can still think rationally and are in full control of their actions, but they often times process information a bit slower. For example, if you ask your child to pick something up, or put something down when he is calm and relaxed, then they should do it with no delay. When your child has entered this stage, it may take them some time to process what you are saying. So there may be a few second gap between your request and a response. This can sometimes be mistaken for being stubborn or defiant. For example, you tell your child to do something, and he just sits there with a blank look on his face for a few seconds. Many parents falsely assume that this is a sign the child is not listening, or is choosing to ignore the parent. In reality it may simply be that the child is trying to figure out what is going on. You may need to repeat your instructions (calmly and patiently) more than once when your child is in this mode.

This is also the time when you (or more preferably your child) should start taking actions to avoid the situation, or try some calming techniques (deep breaths). I know from personal experience that I can tell when my brain is starting to slow down and my responses are getting sluggish. That is my cue to take a break, and go walk around for a bit to clear my mind. If you take actions to avoid being overwhelmed at this phase, then it doesn't go any further. It takes several years of practice before your child begins to recognize the signs on his own and takes actions to avoid the problems, but you can help with this. I will discuss in further detail later.

4. Very anxious, moderately overwhelmed
At this stage your child is very defensive, and having more difficulty thinking clearly. Instincts start kicking in more heavily here, and the flight or fight response becomes more pronounced. The child will either probably start being avoidant (flight), or perhaps become aggressive, argumentative, and resistant (fight). The child does still have control over their actions at this point, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to think rationally and clearly. If you get your child out of the overwhelming situation, and deal with them calmly, then you should still be able recover without any major outbursts or problems. It may not work perfectly when you first start out working on this, but as your child grows older, matures, and gets more practice he should still be able control his emotions better and pull back before he gets more overwhelmed.

5. Extremely anxious, very overwhelmed
At this stage your child operates mainly on instinct. Your child may become very unresponsive and avoidant. They are very easily startled and very jumpy (flight response). Your child may have an angry outburst and yell at you, say things they don’t mean. They may physically push you away and be very aggressive (fight response). They are still conscious enough to be aware of their surroundings, if you say something, they can hear it and probably understand it. At this point, trying to reason with them isn't a good idea. They aren't thinking clearly enough to contemplate the various outcomes of their actions and decide how to act based on that. All you can really do is speak calmly to them and maybe give them simple instructions. Whether or not they actually follow your instructions varies based on what the instructions are, how well they can control their emotions and how far overwhelmed they are. Generally trying to come up with a solution on the spot won’t work, because it will require your child to think and do something new. Your best bet in these situations is to already have a contingency plan set up that your child knows about and has agreed to. For example, you have an agreement with your son that if he is feeling overwhelmed he should go to his room, turn down the lights, and play on his Wii. So, you could tell him to go to his room and play on his Wii, and that might work. Trying to have a discussion about the socially appropriate actions and cultural expectations while your child is very overwhelmed won’t work.

6. Full blown meltdown
At this stage your child basically loses their ability to think clearly, and they start acting on instinct alone. Your child may attempt to run away from you (despite it being a dangerous thing to do) because their heart is pounding and the adrenaline in their system is just telling them to run (flight response). Your child might also collapse into tears and cry uncontrollably (My most common reaction). Your child may fly into a rage and attack anything and everything including themselves, random strangers, furniture, anything near them (fight response). At this point, their ability to interpret information isn’t there. They can still hear things, but sounds no longer make any sense. You may be speaking English, but all your child hears is random sounds. The part of their brain which processes speech isn’t working anymore (at least from my experience). At this point, your child's body just does whatever it wants and your child is just along for the ride. There is no way for the autistic person to stop by themselves at this point. It doesn't matter what you say, or what rewards/punishments you have set up. The child is effectively unconscious; they can’t control whats going on.


There are of course shades in between. It isn't as though your child only has 6 steps between fine and meltdown. It is a continuous transition, not a sudden jump up or down from moderately anxious to very anxious. So your child at any given time may be at a 3, or a 2.7 or a 4.8 or whatever. I hope that makes sense. And of course your child's exact reaction depends on the child. For myself I usually had the flight response as opposed to the fight response when overwhelmed. So I would try to run away, or collapse into tears, or otherwise withdraw. Your son might have the fight response instead. It depends on the individual person, and also the circumstances.

This may help to explain the difference between a 'tantrum' and a 'meltdown'. Most parents look at the child being defiant, disobedient, or otherwise 'naughty' and asume that is just the child acting poorly. The common parenting advice at that point is to force your child to accept your authority by threatening him into submission. In reality, if your child was just being naughty, then time outs, and stern parenting would indeed work. As you have seen for yourself, it isn't working. When your child is like that, what you are dealing with isn't him being naughty, but him just being overwhelmed, stressed out, and backed into a corner. Effectively he is just shy of having a meltdown, and pushing the issue by insisting that things go your way isn't helping to diffuse the tension.

Perhaps I should give you an example from my own life to show you how these sorts of things come about. When I was young (3rd grade), I was getting ready for school in the morning. I was already anxious because I didn't like school. I was often treated poorly by my classmates and my teachers, and well to make a long story short, I didn't have a very happy childhood. So I was pretty much always anxious. If I had to give it a number value based on the above list I would say I started the morning at maybe 2.5. So, then I go to my drawer, and start to get dressed, only to find out that I don't have a matching pair of socks. Now this of course is a very stupid thing to get upset about, but the problem is that I didn't want to wear mismatching socks. If my classmates saw that, they would insult me, call me stupid for not being able to match my socks, etc. So, this thought raised my anxiety up to a level 3 or so. I then began searching for a matching pair of socks all around my room. After a few minutes my mother was annoyed with me that I was taking so long to get ready, so she started yelling at me to hurry up. Now I was stuck. If I couldn't find matching socks my classmates would insult me, but if I kept looking my mother would get mad at me.

As I stood there for about 30 seconds or so trying to figure out what to do, my mother got angry at me. After all, she just told me to hurry up and all I was doing was standing there with a blank look on my face. So she comes over, yells at me some more, and threatens to hit me if I don't hurry up. This of course makes me more anxious and we get to level 4. I tried to explain what is going on to my mother but it didn't go well. I sort of stammered a bit and all I could get out was 'I can't find socks'. My mother at this point was very annoyed with me, so she dragged me over to my dresser, got out 2 random sock and handed them to me. This didn't help much as I don't really like being touched or dragged around, and it also didn't solve my problem of not having matching socks. So, we get to a level 5 or so, and I am starting to lose major functions, such as speech. I tried explaining it again to her but this time I wasn't even able to get words out, all I was able to get out was a few grunts under my breath and just stand there highly overwhelmed and unable to figure out what to do, what to say, or anything.

So, my mother now very annoyed with me for just standing there grunting when we are behind schedule starts yelling at me, and thats when I went into full on meltdown mode. I have no idea what she said, but my guess it was something threatening because I could definitely tell that she was yelling. So, I ran out of the room, got to the bathroom, locked the door, and sobbed uncontrollably for about an hour or so. And all that simply because I couldn't find a pair of matching socks. Hopefully this helps you to understand what sort of situations result in the problems you are experiencing. Sometimes the trigger is fairly obvious, as in being picked on by classmates. Sometimes the trigger is fairly innocuous, as in mismatching socks, but the meltdown is caused more so by the environment (yelling parents).

But in all cases there is a progression where the anxiety gets higher and higher until the meltdown occurs. It may not always be obvious on the outside, and sometimes the rise in anxiety is fairly rapid (especially at a young age before you learn to control your emotions properly), but I have never gone directly from fine to meltdown without the intermediate steps. The 'trick' to dealing with meltdowns is to recognize the increasing anxiety and take steps to deal with it before it gets high enough to cause a problem. And there are several ways to do this:

For starters, try to keep your child's stresses as low as possible. The less stressed your child is, the less likely they are to get overwhelmed, and have problems. For example, if my mother didn't have such a short temper and was more patient with me, a lot of the problems I had could have been avoided. Try to keep your household as peaceful as possible. That may mean overlooking some of the small stuff. For example, your child has clothes on the floor. This isn't exactly a life threatening situation that you need to address and harass anybody about. You can talk to your child about it, maybe give him a reward for a clean room, but dont yell at him and threaten him with violence if his room isnt spotless. Likewise, try not to require any unnecessary responsibility or actions from your child unless it is reasonable. The more responsibilities and requirements you put on your child, the more stressed out they will be. I am not saying that you become a push over and let your child do whatever they want, but I am saying that creating unnecessary drama doesn't help anybody.

Simply spending time in a world with a chaotic environment, dealing with other people, having demands put on you (basically just living life) can cause an increase in anxiety. So while your son may leave the house fine and dandy (I.E. 1 on the list) he may come back from school stressed out and a bit overloaded (I.E. a 3 or 4 on the list). At this point he is fairly easy to set off because he is already fairly anxious and overloaded. By allowing him time to relax, unwind, and calm himself, you can get him back down to the point where he isn’t going off and having a tantrum about random and unimportant things.

Perhaps one of the best ways to have your child relax is to just allow him to be himself. For example, your child may want to rock back and forth, pace around, and act, well, autistic. I know that for some parents this is a bit disconcerting to watch their child act so strangely, and they can sometimes try to get the child to act more 'normal'. This most often times back fires. Your child is autistic, and when you prevent him from acting in his own way your not letting him relax and be himself. So, do try to be understanding and don’t think poorly of him if he acts strangely.

You can also help lower your kid’s stress by making sure they have plenty of time to do things which they find enjoyable and relaxing. For myself I happen to know that spending time on the computer is very enjoyable and it helps me to unwind and relax. Spending a good portion of my time on the computer has allowed me to let out my frustrations. Other people may enjoy things like hiking outdoors, or maybe reading books, or maybe watching TV. I don’t know what your son enjoys, but find out and give him every opportunity to do so. This will help him to reduce the amount of stress he is under and help him to relax. I’m not saying it will completely stop meltdowns, but it will make your child more relaxed so he isn’t on edge about to have a meltdown constantly.

Aside from reducing the stress your child is under, you may want to look into what his ‘triggers’ are. A trigger is just what sets off the problem (I.E. failure to find matching socks). Many meltdowns/tantrums can be avoided by simply avoiding triggers. For example, you want your son to brush his teeth, but he doesn’t want to. So, you try forcing the issue, and it winds up in a meltdown. Try talking with him and find out what the problem is. Does he not like the taste of the toothpaste? Does it hurt his teeth? Can the problem be solved easily? For example, would getting a different toothbrush, or different toothpaste fix the issue? I don’t know if that’s a problem you have, but that’s just an example of something you could do. If you find that certain situations routinely lead to meltdowns, then try talking with your son (after the incident is over and he has calmed down) and figure out what the problem is and what can be done to avoid the problem.

Part of preventing meltdowns is learning what sets you off, and avoiding those things. I know that there are certain things which I avoid because it would be very problematic for me. I also may do things differently than normal because in doing so I can avoid a problematic trigger. For example, when I cook with raw chicken, I use a fork and tongs so that I don’t actually touch the raw chicken. It just feels so slimy and I dislike the slimy feeling. Basically, I know what sets me off, so I avoid it. Your son will also need to learn what sets him off so that he can learn to avoid it, or tell other people (you or his teachers), and then you can brain storm and find good ways to either avoid the trigger, reduce exposure, or help him to deal with it in some way. If you want some advice about how to deal with certain triggers then feel free to post it on this forum and we will gladly offer our opinion. You obviously can't prevent all sources of stress in your son's life, but if you look for situations which often result in stress and look for ways to reduce the problem then your son will be under a good deal less stress, which will lead to fewer problems.

Now lets look at how this relates to your son specifically:

My guess is that your son has a pretty high base line for stress. Looking at the above chart he might always be at a 3 or a 4. Which is why you asking him to do simple things like cleaning the dishes sets him off. It isn't as though washing the dishes themselves are the problem, thats just the final straw that broke the camels back. His tantrums and meltdowns are also probably caused in part by you pushing the issue when your son is already overwhelmed. For example, my guess is that the conversation didn't go something like this:
Your son is sitting happily at the table eating a snack.
You: OK son, it is time to wash the dishes.
Son: NO! I HATE YOU!! *Breaks chair*

My guess is that your conversation started more with you giving your child an order to clean the dishes, he then refused, and you forced the issue. You spoke in a firmer voice and reasserted your order. He then said no and then you went back and forth, and back and forth, before finally your son lashed out and broke something. Basically, the problem is that you tried to work with your son when he was already too overwhelmed and anxious to be worked with. And your constant back and forth did nothing to reduce his anxiety, it just made him more anxious until he had a meltdown.

The situation here is that you want your son to act rationally. You want him to clearly understand the consequence of his actions and to think things out. But the problem is that once you back him into a corner and start demanding things of him when he is already stressed out, he is no longer capable of thinking rationally. The ability to do so is no longer there when he is on the verge of a meltdown. You can remind him about his promises, or tell him all about how it is important, but the fact is that he can't think clearly enough to understand that once you get into this situation. Trying to have a rational conversation when he is like this doesn't actually help the situation. All it does is make it clear to him that you aren't giving up which only makes him more defensive and makes the situation worse.

So, my advice is pretty strait forward: Do not get into power struggles with your child. These cannot end well. Situations like this end in one of two ways; either you lose, or he loses. And neither one of those works out well in the long run.

For example, lets look at what happens if your child wins. Lets say he melts down, tantrums, screams, hides, runs away, or otherwise just refuses to do what is asked. Eventually you get so fed up with it that you decide it isn't worth it and you just give up. Score one for the child. This doesn't work out well for several reason. For starters, the task that you wanted done didn't get done. Secondly, it sets a bad precedent that all your child needs to do is refuse for long enough, and eventually you will give up. Thirdly, the child doesn't learn the lesson he needs to learn. If you can never get him to do chores or make his own food because it is too much of a battle, then he is never going to learn to cook, or clean for himself.

The second way this can end is for you to threaten or harass your child into submission. Score one for the parent. This may get the task done, but it isn't going to work out well in the long run for several reasons. Primarily, using this method makes you the enemy. I have said it on this forum, and I will say it again; you do not want to be your child's enemy. If you want your child to open up to you, or tell you whats bothering him then he cannot see you as the enemy. And if your child doesn't open up to you and tell you what is bothering him then it is only going to make more stress, which is going to make situations like these a lot more common. Another reason this isn't a good way to get things done is because it isn't pleasant for anybody. Your child doesn't enjoy being threatened. You don't enjoy threatening him. You have got enough problems in this life without adding on to them.

So, then the inevitable question is what can you do to make your child do something they don't want to. The simple answer is that you dont. This may sound obvious, but the best way to avoid having your child argue with you about what to do is to have them agree with you. If you can get the child to go along with you then you wont need to coerce them into anything.

Since I have been working on this for about 5 hours and my stomach is grumbling I am going to go get some food and continue discussing how to get your child to agree with you in my next post.



FD
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24 Feb 2010, 5:26 pm

Im sure this is a commom question, and you covered it somewhat in your previous post. But.....what is the 'stubborness' all about? My son has just turned 5yrs, has some language difficulty too.

eg. In school if my son is asked to go to circle time (or whatever) he will just not co operate, but we all have learned now, to just leave him be, and in a matter of a minute or two he will come along. His teacher says "dont get in the ring with him ! !"

eg. I say to my son "okay, lets go to the park", he will not co operate with putting on shoes / coat etc. so I just treat that like I would my NT toddler, and I just say nothing more, ignore the little 'protest', and carry on organising to go out, and say good bye that I was going now, he would run after me straight away willing to put on his shoes etc with no fuss :?

I thought it might be to do with transitions, and now provide him with a visual timer before changing activities, but with him since he was a baby its always been........"My way, or the high way ! !"

Even given a minute to 'come around' seems to be enough most times, its like an oppositional thing, "Ill do it when Im ready, and not a minute before" But he is the most loving, kind, sweet little boy, has never had any major tantrum, is fun loving and passive, so whats this little 'stubborn streak' mean?



pumpknmom
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25 Feb 2010, 7:56 pm

I just wanted to chime in and say that your insights have been really helpful, Tracker. I've found a lot of this helpful in understanding my 6 y.o. daughter as well.



momof3boys
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25 Feb 2010, 9:20 pm

So I have a question....

Why does my son pace for hours at home but his school tells me he does not pace at all there. Is it possible. He paces everywhere else, why not there?



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26 Feb 2010, 12:01 am

what is the biggest help to decrease anxiety in school so he can work at his potential.



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26 Feb 2010, 2:02 am

Ok, first off, I know I promised a follow up about how to get your son to agree to things like chores, homework, and so forth. And I really have been meaning to get around to it, but I am busy with other activities right now so I don't have the time to write a complete and individualized response. Instead, I have a similiar response already made for a somewhat similiar question which I think would apply in this situation.

Take a look in this thread: http://www.wrongplanet.net/postt105468.html
Primarily I am referring to my replies where I discuss things like setting priorities, and deciding what is an important task to do.

Also, have you tried sitting down and making a chore diagram of who has to do what and when? Get your family together, and write down a list of all the chores that need to be done. Then, go over the list and explain why each chore is on the list, and what benefit the chore serves. Then, divide it amongst the family members in a way that you can all agree on.

When you just tell your son: You've got to do the dishes to make up for the damage you caused, it seems a lot like revenge and can make your son defensive. When you sit down and work out a solution together while everybody is calm and relaxed, youll get much better results.


To FD: It sounds to me like your typical 5 year child trying to exert some independence. While I dont know the full story, based on what your describing it doesn't sound like anything out of the ordinary. Perhaps it would be a good idea to talk with him about the importance of cooperating, otherwise he may miss his opportunity to participate. I can't say it is a good idea to sabotage your child, but if your child missed out on his favorite show because he dawdled too much then he might be more inclined to hurry up a bit?

To mom-o-3boys: Pacing is a good way to organize your thoughts. It is very calming and helps you to think clearly, so it isn't surprising your son does it a lot. I do it a lot too when I am thinking. The reason he doesn't pace at school is because people treat you like your crazy if they see you pacing around, and he doesn't want the other children to think he is crazy.

To Hyacynth: That is a book in and of itself... Could you be more specific about the problem?



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26 Feb 2010, 8:58 am

Tracker...I understand that it is calming...I actually like him doing it because that makes him him. If that makes sense. I like his uniqueness!! He is only 5 and does not attend elementary school yet...just preschool. I feel like his preschool does not allow him to do it even though I have told them not to stop him if he does. He paces EVERYWHERE else...in stores, at home, at other peoples home, at his brothers baseball games, etc...yet the preschool swears he does not pace there. I dont know if I should believe them. Why would he pace everywhere else and not there?



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26 Feb 2010, 1:44 pm

momof3boys - your son may have learned that he'll get a negative response from the kids. OR the room layout may not suit the pacing. My son is quite particular about where he'll pace - he needs to be able to walk in a straight line for a certain distance or it's no good.


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26 Feb 2010, 1:58 pm

Perhaps he doesn't have time to pace?

When you give him unstructured time (i.e. let him do whatever he wants), thats when you see him pacing back and forth. If he goes to a highly organized preschool with a set schedule then there may be no time to pace around by himself. For example, there is story time, then arts and crafts time, then nap time, then snack time, then more story time, then art time, etc. If there isn't any unorganized time for your child to just do whatever he wants, then he may just not be getting the opportunity.



FD
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26 Feb 2010, 4:32 pm

Tracker - Thanks so much for your reply. My 5yrs son has been diagnosed with AS, but does have some language difficulty, so any big explainations / conversations he would not understand.

Are you suggesting from your reply that he may be at the developmental stage of a toddler trying to become independant etc.? That is something I have considered. But if you do "force" him when he is not "ready", you risk him switching off altogether, and running away, hiding under the table etc.

So we just have to give him the space to do whatever in his own good time ! !! ! Is this an AS thing in particular, or a stubborn personality trait?

Its written all over his psychology report for mainstream school, due to start in Sept. His current pre school teacher is afraid that the mainstream teacher will not allow this "extra" time to get anything done. Any suggestions? or just wait till he is "ready"??????

Thanks again, I have learned so much from your wonderful advice on WrongPlanet, you are a true inspiration to us all x



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26 Feb 2010, 7:02 pm

To FD: I don't know what causes it. As you said yourself, it could be a problem with transitioning. Have you tried giving him 1 to 2 minute warnings or something like that? For example, there are little 3 minute hour glass things that you could use. Perhaps you could give your son a little bit of a heads up saying that your leaving in 3 mins and flip the hour glass so he could see how much time he has.

Perhaps he just feels rushed and gets overly anxious if you trying to switch between things.

Perhaps he is just doing the standard toddler thing a bit late. It isn't unheard of for autistic people to go through phases like that a bit late. Based on the way you describe him, it certainly sounds like it to me.

Short of spending time with your son I don't know if I can give any definitive answer. I would say my best guess is that he is just being a bit of a stubborn toddler, and that your handling things just fine. Unless it becomes a major problem, dont worry too much about it.



FD
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26 Feb 2010, 7:28 pm

Tracker - Thats great, thanks so much. You are right.....boy he hates being rushed!! We are donig the visual 'warings', it helps sometimes, but I think that stubborness will be there for life!! ! But thats okay, there are so many positive sides to his personality that I hope he will be just fine.

I am sooooo stubborn, maybe he is just like his Mummy :wink: xx



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04 Mar 2010, 10:56 am

Tracker-I have 2 new questions for you.

1)Why does my son continue to love mouthing objects (including his hands) I thought we had gotten past this just after he turned 3 or so. Now he is almost 5 and it has started up again!! !

2) My son loves to sing and clap his hands and talk about things off subject when the teachers are trying to show him something new. Is he doing it as a stim or is he just trying to avoid what they are saying? Do you think he will be able to learn to control this at school? Right now he is still young, but I am getting concerned about this as he gets a bit older.

Thanks!



Tracker
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04 Mar 2010, 3:01 pm

To angelbear:

1. It sounds like your son is just stimming. If you dislike him chewing on his hands, then perhaps you could give him something else to chew. Something like gum, or plastic straws, or the like. If this is a major concern, then you may want to get him to do other stims instead. Perhaps things like a mini trampoline that he could bounce on would be a better alternative for you?

2. He sounds like an excited 4 year old to me. I can't tell you whether it is him avoiding the teachers, or just him being highly energetic and trying to get everything out at once to the nearest person who will listen. Perhaps your child just loves to clap, sing, and talk about random things. And when a teacher comes over to show him something he sees the perfect opportunity to show off his clapping/singing skills, and tell his stories to somebody. In either situation, you may want to try things to calm him down before teaching time. I don't know what calms him down, but generally getting plenty of exercise tends to help. Perhaps getting a nap in first would help too?

It may also help to give him a simple explanation about things like listening time, and talking time. For example, he has 5 minutes to talk to you or whoever about whatever he wants. And then it is time for him to listen to you show him something new. Part of the problem could simply be that he doesn't know he is supposed to be listening to the teacher, and thinks that it is just open conversation for any and all topics.



angelbear
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04 Mar 2010, 5:51 pm

Thanks Tracker---I have been trying to get him to do more physical activity, but he has low muscle tone, so sometimes he acts like he is really tired when he gets home. Overall, he is not really hyper, he just has a hard time focusing on what the teachers (or me) is showing him. So, I am not sure what to do to calm him down. I sometimes wonder if it is some form of vocal tic that he has. However, he seems to have control over it. He will stop for a minute if you ask him too. He is not really that loud at home, but if my husband and I are having a discussion, it is like he doesn't want us to talk, so he will start his routine of the clapping and singing and verbal outbursts. I have also wondered if he has sound sensitivies, and this is his way of blocking it out.

For the mouthing, I have tried the gum, and he did okay with it, but the last time, he pulled it out and was playing with it, and I found it allover the floor. He does like straws. I also give him lots of lollipops. It just recently flared up again, so I am hoping it will maybe start to fade again.

Thanks so much for your input!