need advise please

Alisha - posted on 12/07/2009 ( 8 moms have responded )

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My son is 3 and he is getting uncontrolable he is having melt downs of things being put in the "wrong" spot all day long he will even have meltdowns over someone just looking his direction ..he is becoming mean and is not being my sweet lil boy all the time now he hears someone laugh and melts down screams stop it it seems like everything is triggering a meltdown...but then hell be fine and sweet again until another something happens and i dont know how to disipline.. timeouts are not working and neither is 1 2 3 magic ...I dont want to spank him and im not sure if your even supposed to punish him for something he cant control....or can he and does he need to be punished? Ive run outta options and i cant listen to the constent meltdowns over simple things and watch him punch himself in the head anymore i just want him to be happy...HELP PLEASE!

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Alisha - posted on 12/10/2009

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thank you very much and i did need some reasurrance thank you ..im going to try everything and try my very hardest to stay calm and believe in myself thank you!

Shelly - posted on 12/10/2009

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Oh my this sounds so familiar. I can relate all to well, my son started headstart when he was 3, in a special program this state offers and until then i didn't think there was anything wrong with him. I would have to pick him up from school around noon because he would get so angry and hurt another kid or tear something up. I couldn't figure out what was wrong because he wouldn't do that at home then. The second yr he was still in headstart and for the first month or so he was ok then she started calling me and so i started taking him to a therapist to try and find out what was wrong. He was diagnosed with ADHD then and nothing else, so we went with that for awhile and nothing was changing, I couldn't even keep him in day care because he was just getting worse. To shorten my story, we went through 3 years of constant therapy and medication changes until his first grade resource teacher suggested to his MHMR therapist that he be tested for Aspergers Syndrome, and her expression immediately changed and she said " well that would explain alot" and we had him tested by their dr. and she said most definately yes he does have Aspergers and so now we have the correct diagnosis and we have been working hard with him since. He has come along way and let me say it will get better, but it sounds like your son has the anger management part of the problem like my son and that is a learned behavior. You should get your son into therapy with someone you like and works good with him, He will probably need to be on medication for the parts of the syndrome that require medication and the meltdown part will take alot of time and patience to deal with, but you can do it. Disipline, that's tricky, You should not spank at all, ever. The therapist my son works with suggest taking something away for that day. You can try a reward system also since your son is young and what you do is, if you can get your son to understand, tell him he needs to try really hard to not get upset and if he can go for so long without getting mad and acting out he will get something, since he's young you will probably have to reward often, but when he gets school age and around other kids then i would start rewarding by the week, if he has a good week at school then on friday he will be rewarded. This worked for my son some of the time and sometimes not. He did not like people looking at him either and when he would have a meltdown he would start choking himself, and he would do that until his face started to turn blue. I don't know how things are when your around other people and he has a meltdown but if it's anything like my situation then you feel like your always apologizing for something and forever explaining that your son has a disorder that keeps him from being able to control himself and if those people are anything like the ones i've dealt with then they all refuse to understand. The hardest part of behavior control for him and you will be when he starts school and he is in class with all those kids and he has to sit and listen. Start trying to get him to take his anger out on something like a pillow, find him something soft and use the same thing all the time, tell him when you get so upset and you just don't know what to do then just start hitting this until you feel better, but be sure and let him know that the anger item is the only thing he can hit. As for the looking at him part of the problem, you should have him out in some kind of social setting as often as you can and don't be worried what other people think because it doesn't matter you're doing what you need to do for your son so he can have a better life, this will help with the anxiety of being in large crowds. One other thing is to always be calm and don't let him being upset and raged do you the same way, If you stay calm and you talk to him in a calming and reassuring voice then he will calm down, also everyone who lives with him needs to understand that he has a problem that requires special attention and they need to be on board with you and everyone needs to be the same with him. I know it's hard and you sometimes feel like you just can't do it anymore, but it will get better and the more you work with him the easier will be for him also, but consistancy is the key, you can't break stay with it.

[deleted account]

My 14 year old grandson used to have horrible meltdowns. That was before we knew he had Asperger's. Noise, particularly a lot of people talking at the same time, was the most common precipitator. Also, moving furniture around, tight clothing, visitors, shopping. These things still bother him, but he (and I) know better how to prevent and/or control these meltdowns. The combination of counseling, occupational therapy, being in special ed. and medication has helped. He now goes to a middle school/high school where all the kids are somewhere on the autism spectrum. And very few of them have meltdowns. Hang in there. It will happen for your child, too.

Tracy - posted on 12/09/2009

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That sounds all too familiar. My son started acting the same way around the same age. It got to the point where you were afraid to say or do anything. We couldn't take him anywhere for fear of tantrums. We later found out that he had Autism. I can relate. You have to be extremely patient. I hope things work out for him. Have you taken him to the doctor yet? I did a lot of research online and that helped me. I feel your pain........my son is 16 now and things have gotten a lot better over the years. If it's any comfort...this behavior won't last forever. If you have any other questions or need any information, just ask me. I know all too well what you're going through.

Alisha - posted on 12/08/2009

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Thank you all for your wonderful advise..Amanda I will be getting that book ASAP....Susan I will definatly be scoping for warning signs...and Sheila Thank you very much for being so detailed and I will definatly be trying out some of those techniques ..You ladies are amazing...Im very gratefull for the help! Hope all of you have happy holidays!

User - posted on 12/08/2009

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Does your son have any therapy? If not, get him to a therapist (OT, speech, behaviour....whatever he needs) to assess his needs.

Be very methodical for a couple of days. Write down what triggers the meltdown (be as specific as you can) For example, high pitched music (think Disney princess music) will trigger a meltdown in my son. When he was tiny and I would have a disney princess movie on for his big sister, I did not make that very specific connection for the longest time...I look back now and think How could I have not noticed?? Then, as much as you can, eliminate or avoid the triggers that you can...again, for my son there was high pitch (loves Bon Jovi though!) music, emotional images on tv, abrupt switches in routine, etc

So, laughing is a different pitch/tone. Would your son benefit from wearing earphones...my son used to wear them, and he would keep them nearby to put on himself (giving him some control) when some type of noise was really bothering him
(his hearing is very acute...we have walked into stores and he will hear the buzzing of lights or very quiet music...things I strain to hear).

You don't want to spank, it does nothing for him and makes you feel horrible. This is a neurological disorder. Spanking a child with ASD for a meltdown is like spanking a diabetic child for wonky sugar levels.....it is part of their physiological make-up. If he is destructive, make sure his room is clear of anything that could harm him if that is where he needs to go. Tall-boy dressers can topple over onto a child, so side-by-side six drawer sets are best...no mirrors/sharp objects, etc/ Instead of discipline, think strategies....what will make this better? What can I do to redirect the meltdown...a suggested "hold" is a basket. Sit cross legged, have your child in the bowl of your legs. If he is being harmful with his hands, hold his right in your left and his left in your right (criss cross) In attempting to pull away, his energy works against him and the resistance helps to calm your child. If he is just screaming, hold him and gently rock back and forth, ask repetitive questions...what colour is your shirt, what colour is the sky, answer for him if he is "too far gone" but keep it up. It is exhausting, but it worked with my son. I also did this regardless of our location..grocery store, mall...museums, dr. visits...if it brought my son back to me from a meltdown, I would do it regardless of location and the looks that followed. Your child needs to know that when they are out of control, you are the anchor that will keep them safe.

Get a small pop-up tent and put some of his favourite items in there. Let him play in there. Many children with ASD need a sensory "time-out" built into their day. We had a tent for my son, and he would crawl into it on his own just to chill! When he started OT, she had a tent and he would scoot in there if he was feeling anxiety. Our OT made it part of their session. He hasn't been in the tent for ages and ages, but we keep it up.

He might be punching himselfing in the head because he is craving a physical release from the anxiety build up. (my son does this) We give head-hugs...open palm on forehead, and open palm on back...then a gentle squish..1,2,3 release then repeat. When I do these, I say quietly, mommy loves you, no hurting, I don't want you to hurt...(he is 5.5 so I can be a little more verbal)

An air mattress that is on the ground that he can hop on, and throw himself into is often beneficial...or a tiny trampoline. A bozo the clown that he can hit...sock 'em bopp'em inflatables that can't hurt him or others.

Take pictures of everything that you do so that you can show him a schedule of where and what you will be doing.

Example: the car, the grocery store, nana. Show the pictures and say
First we are going in the car, then we will go to the grocery store. Only introduce the second and third pictures if he is developmentally ready. Otherwise, take it one step at a time.

This is hard and you have to find what works for you. My son is 5.5 and he has meltdowns, but they are nothing like what he used to experience at 3. He still "trashes" his room, but he knows now that he will be helping to clean it up when all is said and done. During those times, we talk strategies...what could you have done, what would make it better, etc.

Good Luck,

Sheila

Susan - posted on 12/08/2009

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My son is 5 and when he meltdowns look out! The best thing I can say is be consistante and look for the warning sighns. With Chris he has a little giggle he dose just befor he starts to throw everytrhing in the house. Thats are que to step in and start taking things out of his hands. Also if he gets time out for hitting then stick with it. We count to 3 to give him and chance to stop then its in your room with mom or dad sitting by the door untill you can calm down. Try not to yell just hug and say I love you but its time to calm down now.We have good days and bad days but it dose get better.

Amanda - posted on 12/08/2009

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A have been reading a great book, called 'Ten things every child with autism wishes you knew- By Ellen Notbohm', It explains that children with autism have these meltdowns for a reason and things that can often be a trigger, usually it isn't that they are being naughty, their senses are super acute, they have stronger hearing, senses of smells, sights and touch so when your son hears someone laugh, that sound could actually be hurting his eardrums. This book will completly change the way you think about your sons behaviour, it has for me, now rather than punishing my son I have more of an understanding and realise what he usually needs in a meltdown is comforting, and that is the only thing that has worked to settle him down, I don't talk to him, I just hold him and give him a cuddle and pat his back until he is calm.

I hope this is helpful. :)

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