My 6-year-old DS seems to fit an aspergers diagnosis, but he can't be evaluated for another 3-6 months (the wait list at the local developmental pediatrician's office). Until I can get him in for an evaluation, I am trying to find things that are helpful for discipline and day-to-day interactions. He has major meltdowns and tantrums that I can't predict nor can I stop them from intensifying. My current way of dealing with them is staying at home so that we're not in public for them (the last one he pushed a shopping cart that nearly hit an older woman after a 10 minute screaming and kicking fit in the check-out because I wouldn't give him a piece of gum, a treat that sometimes works as a bribe to keep him calm for short trips in a store). Staying at home doesn't stop the outbursts from happening, it simply keeps them more private and ensures he won't hurt others outside the family. He also has no idea when he's taking physical play too far with my 3-year-old DS who often has bruises from this play. I keep reminding him that screaming means stop, I physically remove him, but a lot of what I do often results in aggression toward me or a meltdown. Time-outs, redirecting, and other gentle forms of discipline seem either not to work or make a situation worse. I have locked him in his room when he gets to a point that he is hitting and kicking and out-of-control. This results in a scraming fit that eventually wears him out and he either falls asleep or gets out all his aggression and it's like a switch is flipped and he's calm and sweet again. Google has provided me with a lot of information on what aspergers looks like, but not much that I can do about it or to make things better. My younger son idolizes him and is starting to mimic these outbursts, but he's much easier to calm down. I am tired of being hit, name called, and emotionally drained and I need better tools to cope. Having a routine helps, but even then I am constantly asked about what we're going to do next or when we're going to do something fun, or when we can do a project together (even if we've been doing fun projects together all. day. long or he knows what to expect next). We are a family who doesn't spank or do other forms of physical punishment, so it's really hard for me to see him hit his brother and me. There was one day last week where I have never wanted to hit a child more after a long day of meltdowns and hitting and I don't consider myself an aggressive person (I didn't hit him, DH was there to take over when I was done and drained).
I have started preparing him for public situations and explaining to him what to expect and what he'll see and do and how he should act, but this has only shown minimal improvement. Taking things away or expecting him to pick up his messes (natural consequences) usually results in a tantrum before he'll pick up. I need ideas that will help, before we're able to get in for the evaluation.
(FTR, the aggression and tantrums are only part of the reason I'm wanting him evaluated, this is just a small part of his various symptoms, but these are the ones that I have run out of ideas for what to do.)