Edited by Plummeting - 9/5/12 at 10:29pm
My DD does this. If she wants something, she repeatedly asks for it or about it until she gets it. Even if we tell her she's going to be getting it later, she asks over and over and over until it happens. She has no concept of the passage of time and it's very hard for her to understand delayed gratification.
Things not going as expected are a BIG trigger for horrible behavior for my dd. She really doesn't seem able to deal with disappointment. She also gets an idea in her head about what she wants to do and will not.let.it.rest. She just keeps asking over and over and over, and you either tell her what she wants to hear or she won't stop unless you give an absolute and firm no, which results in an all out meltdown. So for instance yesterday we went to the zoo. There is a small park with giant turtle statues she likes to climb on near the zoo, and she wanted to go there when we were done. She asked about it for 2 hours straight, repeating the request about every 2 minutes. I told her I wasn't sure that we'd have time. Then eventually I said, "Yes, if we have time." That was a big mistake, because she just hears "yes" and not any of the qualifiers, and we really didn't have time once we were through with everything at the zoo, and besides that, dd2 fell asleep about 30 seconds after we got into the car, so we couldn't go anyway. I know better than to say the word 'yes' in any way, shape, form or with any qualifiers, unless I'm certain it will work out, but she wears me down with her incessantly requesting the same thing over and over. I do know better, though. Ugh. I'll have to be more disciplined.
I just don't know what to do when she gets that way, though. If I tell her I'm not sure she keeps asking. If I tell her no she has a meltdown. If I tell her yes, if XYZ happens, she thinks it's a done deal.
We have this same problem with DS. He has a need for the idea of the plan he pictures in his head to match with reality. Sometimes it can erase whatever fun he had in his mind. For example, he went to a youth movie night this year. The movie was supposed to be Narnia, but all the other kids requested the other movie. He argued at first but was convinced that maybe it was OK to try the other movie. He appeared to watch it all happily, but when the movie night was done and he realized Narnia was not happening, he blew a fuse even though the liked the movie. This seems to be what happened with your DD. She pictured seeing this turtle but couldn't let it go.
Why not just leave the zoo with time for the turtles? Why not plan them in as an important part of the day?
Huge things about our family life revolve around what works for my DD. Huge. We plan vacations around her. We plan family fun around her.
If she isn't OK, then it's going to be miserable for everyone.
Your DD needs you to make a plan that works for her, let her know what it is, and then make it happen. Playing it by ear doesn't work for her.
Agreed. Major planning is probably necessary.
Because she had certain things she wanted to do at the zoo, and those things were more important to her (according to her), and we had things we had to do after the zoo with other people. I wasn't sure if we would complete all of the things she wanted to do at the zoo and still have time to make our other commitments. In this situation it was not possible for her to get everything she wanted. I wasn't sure if it would be or not, at the beginning of the excursion.
What I'm wondering is, have you tried breaking down the logistics of these situations to her? Could you say, "I think we might be able to both go to the zoo and to the turtle statue. To do that, we need to go to the zoo at X time," and show her with your watch or tell her what it would say on her's. If she asks to do more at the zoo, you could then remind her, "We have X minutes until this time when we need to leave if you want to see the turtle statue." If she asks to do something that for sure means that she would miss out on the turtles, you could check in with her and say,"If we do this activity, you won't be able to see the turtles. Do you want X activity, or the turtles,"
I'm thinking your DD might br more upset with a change of plans than a direct no to something not already planned. I'm also thinking she might need to have the choices broken down for her to help her see how she can make her plan a reality that works for you all. Being very verbally direct about plans and rules, no matter how many times I repeat myself and no matter how small of steps I need to break things into is about yhe only way I've been able to survive combining DS's needs with those of the rest of the family's.
Since it is only two days and the problems only happen at home, I'd probably have him finish it. Ds is reluctant to try new things so though we still have him try we agree to a time limit; right now he is in gymnastics for a minimum of 8 classes because I have to give 30 days notice to the gym for him to drop it (his only objection is that he doesn't like being sweaty). After 4 classes he can tell me whether or not he wants to continue so I can give notice.
I'd have him go again.
With my DD, if we let her only do things she wanted to, she wouldn't have left her bedroom for a couple of years. Honestly. Eventually, she figured out that there are some things she enjoys, and we are THANKFULLY past that stage, but we had to push push push to keep her from just hiding from the outside world.
(I still make her do things she doesn't want to, but it isn't so horrid now)
I'd finish it, but I'd plan on an early bedtime and maybe a bath to soak his ankles. I'd tell him that the early bedtime and bath is because he worked so hard at camp, and that sometimes having fun can be tiring. It's an opportunity to teach him some self-care skills.
I agree with the others that what he'll get from the experience is worth the frustration of outbursts at home. He's in his "safe place" at home and that's why he's doing the melt downs there. He's got to hold that anxiety in all day and cope. Hard work for a NT kid. Super hard work for a kid with ASD. Do what you can to minimize the outbursts and just ride it out. That which does not kill us makes us stronger, right? ;)