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Autism - Support Across the Spectrum Autism - Support Across the Spectrum

What could be the reason behind increase in tantrums?

Posted by on Jun. 17, 2014 at 2:14 AM
  • 12 Replies

My son(3.5) hasn't had a major tantrum in the past one year. Since last week he has been having tantrums (loud, long, 45mins+) for different reasons. For example - I wiped out his painting from the whiteboard and he flipped. I apologized several times. I also told him he should be drawing on paper if he wants to preserve his art. I told him let's draw again. I offered him paper, he screamed even more. After a lot of coaxing he drew again on the whiteboard but kept screaming that it isn't the same as before. Apparently the sun wasnt going down(setting) in the new painting and in the old one it was. I had no clue where the sun was cause in reality it was only scribbles. So I had no idea how to fix it. This tantrum lasted for about 1.5 hours. During the tantrums he jumps, falls on the floor and moves in a circle or upwards by pushing his feet on the ground, cries continously and starts to choke. He used to act this way when he was 2 and non verbal, but it never happened after that. I have realized he has been hungry every time he has had a tantrum. After the tantrum, he sits down to eat and then he is a changed person, happy, calm. He has always been eating a handful of biscuits, crackers, cereals all day but no meals. He can't seem to sit long enough to fill his tummy. He looses interest after few bites. His eating has always been this way- no change. DH is saying he has learnt this behavior from school. I don't feel such things can be learnt. What could be the reasons for his sudden change of behavior? There has been no change in his routine either.

by on Jun. 17, 2014 at 2:14 AM
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Replies (1-10):
TheJerseyGirl
by Michele on Jun. 17, 2014 at 5:58 AM

 ANY behavior can be learned but I think with our kids, a tantrum can come from something obvious or not so obvious. At 3 1/2, I can see him getting upset over his drawing being gone, and getting over it quickly enough. My son doesn;t throw tantrums but can get extremely stressed over the slightest change in routine...it's always a trigger for him.

As far as eating habits...OYE...I swear that's something we have all complained about in here. My son is 13 and is still a picky eater.

JTMOM422
by Brenda on Jun. 17, 2014 at 9:28 AM

I am going to agree with Michele in that any behavior can be learned. Have you tried the first/then approach with him. First he must eat a meal then he can do something favorable such as drawing on the whiteboard. It may be hunger as you suggest. Do you have an OT or behavioralist that you can talk to about eating issues? They may have suggestions to help you

lisa12121
by Member on Jun. 17, 2014 at 10:29 AM

Here is the bad news. Our kids will have wild and crazy outburst for any reason at any time. And if there is a valid reason, those reasons will change all the time. Each year, my son had a tic. And at the start of every school year, that tic would change. And the eating habits seem to be fairly consistent for our ASD kids. A huge love of carbs and shunning everything else. We took our son to a feeding therapist which helped alot. Maybe something to consider.

lady_katie
by Silver Member on Jun. 17, 2014 at 2:44 PM
2 moms liked this

It's possible that your son could be going through a growth spurt or something internal which is making it difficult for him to self regulate. I'd try to decrease activities and increase down time for a few days and see if this helps. 

MixedCooke
by Member on Jun. 17, 2014 at 3:26 PM
Buy a Polaroid camera or teach him to use a digital and then his art will always be preserved.
SamMom912
by Gold Member on Jun. 17, 2014 at 4:26 PM

I agree with LadyKatie... Im thinking your son has a lot on his plate right now which is leaving him a bit mentally/ pysically stretched (maybe school, maybe temperature change, maybe growth spurt) and tired.. making the self regulation peice he normally has unable to "work". Im thinking the eating is the proprioceptive activity that is helping to calm him down for now.. so now, you see when he is upset, perhaps leaving the room, getting him a drink and an snack may help him to calm down faster. Im also going to add that talking to him when he is upset is pointless.. it adds fuel to the fire and does no good. Remain quiet. For every word you say, you can easily tack on 3-5 minutes of tantrum.. so if you're quiet.. the tantrum/meltodwn will end sooner. keep him safe, but no need to speak. let him problem solve, let him self regulate.. stay close, but quiet. Make sure you ask if you can rearrange or erase going forward.. our kids are black and white thinkers with expectations... just check in with him about those expectations and problem solve before hand.. :)
I see this beautiful painting.. Its on the whiteboard... Can I clean the board? Should we take a picture? Oh, you want to leave this picture.. ok.. we can do that for now.. :) HUGS... Our kids are tough. there is always a probelm that needs proactive solving.
I dont think that your son has learned this behavior BTW either... :) He may have seen it-- but that doesnt mean we do it... :) I see people cry.. I only cry when I need to... He acted out when he needed too.. just something else is going on that is pushing him a little closer to the acting out faster... :)

Simran81
by Bronze Member on Jun. 18, 2014 at 1:47 AM

Thanks for the tips!! I agree with what u say, "talking is pointless", but between bouts of screaming, rolling on the floor he comes up to me and speaks, usually he repeats the same thing over and over again. He would say "why mamma put water, mamma made all mess, where is the sun gone?". When he asks me questions like this I tend to answer and yes it escalates all over again. What I tell him doesn't sink in, he keeps repeating the same question but looks at my face expecting an answer. Next time I will try to stay quiet and see how it goes. Never again will I wipe that board, i will ask him to do it himself. Yesterday he flipped cause his father went to office in the red car(usually he takes the gray one). He looked out of the window, couldn't see the red car in the parking and started to scream. He wanted to call up DH and tell him to come back home from work. I can't be sure what is going to set him off these days.

Quoting SamMom912:

I agree with LadyKatie... Im thinking your son has a lot on his plate right now which is leaving him a bit mentally/ pysically stretched (maybe school, maybe temperature change, maybe growth spurt) and tired.. making the self regulation peice he normally has unable to "work". Im thinking the eating is the proprioceptive activity that is helping to calm him down for now.. so now, you see when he is upset, perhaps leaving the room, getting him a drink and an snack may help him to calm down faster. Im also going to add that talking to him when he is upset is pointless.. it adds fuel to the fire and does no good. Remain quiet. For every word you say, you can easily tack on 3-5 minutes of tantrum.. so if you're quiet.. the tantrum/meltodwn will end sooner. keep him safe, but no need to speak. let him problem solve, let him self regulate.. stay close, but quiet. Make sure you ask if you can rearrange or erase going forward.. our kids are black and white thinkers with expectations... just check in with him about those expectations and problem solve before hand.. :) I see this beautiful painting.. Its on the whiteboard... Can I clean the board? Should we take a picture? Oh, you want to leave this picture.. ok.. we can do that for now.. :) HUGS... Our kids are tough. there is always a probelm that needs proactive solving. I dont think that your son has learned this behavior BTW either... :) He may have seen it-- but that doesnt mean we do it... :) I see people cry.. I only cry when I need to... He acted out when he needed too.. just something else is going on that is pushing him a little closer to the acting out faster... :)


jaydensmom1726
by Bronze Member on Jun. 18, 2014 at 2:01 AM

with my son  his sudden change was (we forgot to tell the new daycare not to give him dairy)  and he was getting milk daily. he is sensitive to dairy.

we stopeed giving him dairy and took all artaficial dyes out of his diet. behaviors that he was having at daycare stopped

Simran81
by Bronze Member on Jun. 18, 2014 at 2:09 AM

First- then approach isn't working offlate. Aba stopped when EI ended in Dec. I haven't been able to implement it myself. We are starting aba again this month. It is funny how his behavior has changed right before we start aba. OT didnt help his feeding. Feeding therapy has been suggested but I am scared it might get worse rather than improve. I work on his eating everyday, he is making progress, but it is very slow baby steps.

Quoting JTMOM422:

I am going to agree with Michele in that any behavior can be learned. Have you tried the first/then approach with him. First he must eat a meal then he can do something favorable such as drawing on the whiteboard. It may be hunger as you suggest. Do you have an OT or behavioralist that you can talk to about eating issues? They may have suggestions to help you


darbyakeep45
by Darby on Jun. 18, 2014 at 4:11 AM

Hugs mama...these ladies have some good insight!

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