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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I only have a minute, but DS (age 4.5) tantrums have gotten significantly worse (more often, more intense, longer lasting) in the last month or two.<br><br>
His diagnosis is up in the air, but he is not neurotypical. (One doc said mild to moderate autism, the other said he's not even on the spectrum.)<br><br>
The changes I can think of off the top of my head are that we moved in august and we got a dog about a month ago.<br><br>
I'll come back when I can. Thoughts?
 

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Could it also just be developmental? I'm a big fan of the developmental answer because I think when we have SN kids our minds go first to their issues rather than where they're just like every other 4 year old. I know for me that 4 has been one of the most difficult times developmentally for my son. I've also heard - and it seems to be often true - that the half year marks (2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, 4, 4.5) are often hard developmental times. Right after my son turned 4 he suddenly potty trained but also started having these big, stubborn tantrums. He's the kind of guy who will wait patiently with me in a check out line (I know, I know, my non-autistic child does NOT do that), but during that time I could take him almost nowhere. Then things got calm again. We're approaching 4.5, though. I'll let you know!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It really could be developmental. DS is an only child and I was the youngest in my family--so I've had very little exposure to typically developing 4 year olds. In addition to the tantrums he's been very contrary lately. It really seems that he's looking for conflict.<br><br>
He's had two tantrums today. I can't remember the last time he had two in one day.<br><br>
The first was this morning. School was delayed start by 2 hours b/c of the snow. So we played in the snow for a bit then came in. He said he was hungry and wanted oatmeal. I started to make it and he had a fit b/c he didn't get to pour the oats into the pan. He often does this, but he knew I was making it and wandered off so I just kept making it. I would have let him put more in, but we were out--I had used the last of it. And i had already put some water in so I couldn't just scoop it back out. I offered to let him put more water in and/or stir. No go. He took the pan and dumped it all in the sink. Then had a 15 minute tantrum over the situation.<br><br>
The second was this afternoon. He wanted to play in the snow. I said yes, after quiet time and a trip to Target (for ice-melting stuff to make our front steps safe). He had an hour and a half tantrum because he wanted to play in the snow first and I would not rearrange.<br><br>
These are pretty typical in terms of "triggers" and 15 minutes is quite short and an hour and half is quite long.<br><br>
So, possibilties include: developmentally appropriate, low blood sugar, changes in routine. . . . Any other ideas?<br><br>
Thanks,
 

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My son has severe autism, and his issues with tantrums started getting much worse right around 4 or 4.5. He has a lot of trouble transitioning, and as he's getting older he's tending to move from just long periods of being upset to periods of being in a rage. It's been a drastic change.<br><br>
We're giving him a large dose of Fish Oils and other "omegas" right now to see if it has any effects on his mood, but we're also sitting on an offer of a risperdal prescription.<br><br>
He's almost 6 now, and we're fairly sure that this new pattern of his isn't a phase of some sort. In your case, I would wait and see if it is a phase. It really could be.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> I'm sorry I don't have a nicer experience or explanation.
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">The second was this afternoon. He wanted to play in the snow. I said yes, after quiet time and a trip to Target (for ice-melting stuff to make our front steps safe). He had an hour and a half tantrum because he wanted to play in the snow first and I would not rearrange.<br></div>
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One of the things we're trying with Andrew (4 in Feb. and extremely volatile with fits that last over an hour over miniscule things like you mention) is for situations like this. We give him three step sequence and get verbal agreement.<br>
So in this case we say "quiet time, target, play in the snow", "quiet time, target, play in the snow" as he tunes in slightly I say "quiet time, target, play in the _____________" and give him a chance to fill in the blank. If he doesn't fill it in I try it again leaving a pause. Until he tunes in and fills in the blank or blanks...the goal here is his verbal joining and agreement. That is long time sequence though compared to the situations we're using it for. We were at Target. He wanted to see the Christmas trees and was out of control fit. I did get a shelf, pay for it, see the tree. It worked. It has multiple times. Our therapist told me it seems to help kids like Andrew becuase once they tune in and give verbal assent they are more likely to follow through. Andrew is a bit younger but it's helped and I know the kiddo she originally used it with is between 4.5 and 5 now.<br>
On the other fits my son has we're making him aware he's feeling out of control and then together making a choice of something that might help him calm down. The finding that thing has been really hard here. So far for him it seems like mental engagement with auditory stuff is important. So the last couple of days we've used headphones with a story CD. But that part is still tough here. In our case Andrew gets riled up and then just cannot calm himself down or think logically at all. So rather than tantrum it's a meltdown. But she was mentioning things like jumping or weighted blanket or whatever calms the child.<br>
We're also trying to help him be more aware of his emotional state. But I think that is particular to Andrew.<br><br>
I find this part of all of it the hardest thing here. It puts us all on edge and I know Andrew hates the feelings as much as I hate seeing him be out of control.<br><br>
Oh, blood sugar is important here so if these are coming at times when he's gone too long without food that may help a lot. Sleep matters here too. I'm doing plain gaba to hopefully help regulate/calm him too--prothera brand because a lot of gaba's have glycine which some kids don't handle well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
RedOakMama, <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> Thank you for sharing your experience with me.<br><br>
sbgrace, hmm, that verbal assent trick just might work. I've been trying to have him sit down with me and talk it through and show him that it's win-win (I get the stuff I need at Target and he gets to play in the snow). It's not working. Even though DS is quite verbal, I really think it is too many words, too much explanation for him. The verbal assent pattern you describe is probably a lot more at his level, especially when he's already starting to get upset.<br><br>
For the calming thing, I remain at a loss. His pattern is anything that has ever helped him calm down once is strenously objected to ever there after. (For example, if I calmed him down once by singing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star once he starts screaming at full volume to drown me out the next time I try it.) It seems like he does not want to calm down. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
The other thing that occurred to me is that he has had a bit of a spurt in fine motor skills/self-care. He just figure out how to zip his jacket (putting the two pieces together) and how to put on his own hat and mittens. Maybe the tantrums are related to that?<br><br>
Thank you all. I always feel better when I "talk" with you.
 
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