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tantrums outside the home Lock Rss

I have a three year old foster son with some kind of developmental delay (possibly autism spectrum disorder). He frequently has tantrums which are quite full on and extremely loud. To deal with them at home I put him in his bedroom for a time out and ignore him, he knows that he can come out when he is ready to be good and settles down quite quickly. When we are out, on the other hand, I am unable to do this and I'm not quite sure how to get him to stop. He draws a lot of attention so I don't like to ignore him until he gets over it so we usually end up stopping whatever we are doing and going home. If anyone has had a similar experience any suggestions would be most welcome.

Erin,W.A. kids 12,5,2 and 1

Hi Erin,
You are indeed a very brave lady taking on a child (with suspected ASD) - having little ones so young yourself. I'm a special ed. teacher and I work with children who have a range of disorders aged 5 - 13.
Have you read up much on ASD and it's management (Tony Attwood - any books by him are great - also has a website)? The funny thing is, the strategies 'they' suggest you apply are just basic good management that all children respond to.
The shopping trips could 'trigger' a tantrum for the following reasons: 1. It throws the daily routine out of whack. 2. It's sensory overload (lights, movement, sound, smells). 3. Unfamiliar environment with unfamiliar people.
In children so young, their reaction often is perceived as the naughty 'tanty' - when it is actually their way of communicating that this experience is unbearable.
Does he have something that represents security, or calms him by stroking it? Take this when you're shopping. Alternatively, build up to the shopping expedition. How is he with being wheeled around the block, taken to the milkbar or newsagents where the trip is short and you quickly return to home? Maybe build these little experiences into longer experiences to de-sensitize him. Does he have an interest that really drives him? Make up a picture card for him to carry of this (maybe dinosaurs, Thomas) and at the end of each little trip, reward him with something related to this interest area (sticker, toy, sweet, yoghurt). You MUST make him aware that on this trip that he will be experiencing this interest if he relaxes and does the right thing.
Good luck!

Louise, Finlay (4 Feb, 02), Mackenzie (18 Jan, 06)

Hi Erin,
You need a gold medal. You're very courageous for taking on a child with behavioural difficulties by choice. I'm not certain but I'm sure an association that deals with autism would have reading materials available to you to help steer you in the right direction. Has he been correctly assessed? There is often government funding available for children in this suituation so that they can attend child care centres or pre-schools & have a smoothe transition into school.
I hope this helps,
Sorry I couldn't be of more assistance.

Peta, NSW, mum of 2 gorgeous girls

Thanks for that, Murry was originally placed with me for 2 weeks but he will have been with me for 2 years at the end of Feb. It's taken us this long just to get him on the waiting list to be assesed and that is apparently up to a year long although our speech therapist spoke to the paediatrician last week and he's going to try and hurry things through.
Although there are times when I just don't know what to do with him he can also be the most gorgeous kid when he wants to be. I think if he went back to his mother now i'd be heartbroken.
I'll have a look and see if theres any info on this sort of thing on some of the websites on autism.
Thanks again for replying.

Erin,W.A. kids 12,5,2 and 1

Thanks Louise,
I'll look at trying some of those things.
You're a special ed teacher, have you ever used PECS (picture exchange communication system)? we're starting that now with Murry. In some ways I'm really excited as, if it works, he will be able to communicate with us and it will make daily life just that little bit easier but I'm a bit concerned that it doesn't encourage him to speak, which would be the ultimate goal. The same with Makaton signs. He does speak some words (mostly naming words) and I suppose my concern is that if he is capable of speech then shouldn't we be encouraging that?

Erin,W.A. kids 12,5,2 and 1

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