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Can Temper Tantrums Be A Sign Of Autism

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Why Does My 10 Year Old Daughter Cry All The Time

How to Handle an Autism Tantrum | Autism

At 10 years of age, lots of children can feel stress and pressure. As a pre-teen your daughter is likely to be going through puberty and experiencing the emotional ups and downs this brings. At her age, academic pressure in school is usually mounting as well as social pressures to fit in and succeed.

How Do You Discipline A Child Who Doesn’t Care About Consequences

Here are 10 tips for how to give consequences that workeven when kids say they don’t care.Use Consequences That Have Meaning. … Don’t Try to Appeal to His Emotions with Speeches. … Make Consequences Black and White. … Talk to Your Child About Effective Problem-Solving. … Don’t Get Sucked into an Argument over Consequences.

A Temper Tantrum Is Not An Autism Meltdown

A temper tantrum usually occurs when a child is denied what they want to have or what they want to do.

Parents observe many tantrums during the terrible twos. This occurs when young children are developing problem-solving skills and beginning to assert their independence.

In fact, this terrible twos stage is typically experienced between 12 months through 4 years old!

When you look at why temper tantrums occur at this stage, it is important to consider typical development and why toddlers are so easily frustrated:

  • Emerging desire to become independent, but limited motor skills and cognitive skills make it impossible to actually BE independent.
  • Emerging, developing language skills make communicating wants/needs frustrating.
  • The prefrontal cortex of the brain has not yet developed – this is the brain center responsible for emotional regulation and social behavior – so they do not have the ability to regulate!
  • Toddlers are developing an understanding of their world, and its often anxiety-producing. This anxiety and lack of control often result in tantrums when it all gets to be too much to manage.

A hallmark of a tantrum is that the behavior will usually persist if the child gains attention for his behavior, but will subside when ignored.

When parents give in to tantrum outbursts, children are more likely to repeat the behavior the next time they are denied what they want or need.

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Is Level 2 Autism High Functioning

Yes, level 2 autism is high-functioning. This kind of autism is also called Aspergers syndrome by doctors.

People who have this kind of autism would need more support such as psychological therapies like speech therapy or social skills training.If you want to learn about this condition and how to implement effective strategies to improve their quality of life, check the Best Books for High Functioning Autism.

What Is The Difference Between Autism Meltdown And A Temper Tantrum

Are My Childs Tantrums Normal?

The difference between an autism meltdown and a temper tantrum is that it is not a response to bad behaviour when the child is being condemned for this kind of behaviour.

This kind of meltdown only occurs when the situation overwhelms the affected child

This kind of meltdown can be a response to let other people know that the affected child is stressed.

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How To Deal With A Meltdown

As no two kids with ASD are the same, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy on how to handle meltdowns. Not all meltdown strategies are guaranteed to work on every child on the spectrum. However, there are some general techniques that can be customized to your childs behavior and personality.

The best way to prevent your child from having a meltdown is to predict and avoid triggers. This can be avoiding crowds, establishing a set routine, and planning ahead.

However, when a meltdown is already happening, you can try the following approach:

  • Leave the room or location to help your child calm down
  • Use calming devices like a fidget toy, noise-canceling headphones, or a weighted vest
  • Choose a good time when your child is receptive to learning and teach breathing exercises, meditation, and counting from one to ten
  • Prevent injuries to your child or others during a meltdown by being in a safe place
  • Keep yourself calm as your child can feel your frustration and worsen the meltdown
  • Keep your face and voice neutral and be at arms length in case the child reaches out
  • Children who are in a meltdown cant be reasoned with so dont rely on logic

Interventions & Therapeutic Techniques

While parents are essential in helping to minimize and deal with meltdowns, they need assistance. Therapy plays an essential role in managing the problem overall.

Applied behavior analysis therapy is considered the primary form of therapy for autism. It teaches emotional regulation and communication skills. When a child is able to recognize and express what they are feeling, meltdowns are far less likely to happen.

Parents are active participants in ABA therapy, giving the therapist and technician valuable information that shapes the overall treatment plan. The lessons taught in therapy will be reinforced by parents in everyday life, helping these new skills to take hold.

Roleplaying can be an effective way for therapists and parents to set expectations for how to act in various situations. Your child can practice how to interact and react in specific environments with a therapist while in the safety of your home. Potential problems can be explored in this safe environment, such as the experience of having to wait in line or walking through possible changes that can suddenly arise.

When autistic children know what to expect ahead of time, and know what is expected of them, they are more likely to behave better. Reward positive behavior to reinforce the lesson.

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Recognizing The Motivation Or Purpose Of The Tantrum Behavior

Here are a few examples of motivation children might have:

  • to get attention
  • delayed access to what he wants/needs

Once you identify WHY your child is tantruming, you can respond more appropriately.

Recognize your childs needs in the moment, without giving into them.

For example: Bobby wanted to choose the TV show but his sister put on Sesame Street before he got to the remote to turn on Dora. Bobby is now on the floor kicking, yelling, and crying . Bobby wanted to choose Dora as the TV show but didnt get his way . The adult could calmly, concisely respond with I see that you are because you didnt get to choose your TV show. When youre calm, well talk about it .

When Bobby calms down, he can then be engaged in conversation about how to solve the TV show problem but he does not get his Dora TV show immediately.

Autism Masking In Women

10 Early Signs of Autism

When you are an autistic woman, you can struggle to have professionals, and others take you seriously.

Society expects all women to be nice and well behaved. Assertiveness is seen as a masculine behavior, and something women should not display.

Autistic men can say exactly whats on their mind, live their lives with logic instead of emotion, and its seen as a positive trait. However, when autistic women do the same thing, society shames us for being ourselves.

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Early Signs Of Autism

Signs of autism in babies

Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disorder, which means that signs become apparent as a child does not develop as expected, for example developing speech or learning to crawl later than expected.

As such, there are few signs of autism that are noticeable in newborns. However, if a baby fails to reach the developmental milestones expected at two months old, four months old, six months old, nine months old and a year old, this could be one of the first signs of autism or another developmental condition.

Good to know: Not all babies reach developmental milestones at the exact same time. It is normal to have some variation in development. If in doubt about a childââ¬â¢s development, check with a doctor.

Some of the early signs that a baby under one year old may have autism spectrum disorder include:

  • Not babbling by four months old
  • Not smiling by five months old
  • Not laughing by six months old
  • No interest in games like pat-a-cake or peek-a-boo by eight months old
  • Not responding to their name by 12 months old
  • Not looking at objects pointed out by other people by 12 months old
  • Being upset by loud noises
  • Not looking to a parent for comfort in new situations
  • Being happy to play alone for long periods of time
  • Not making eye contact

Signs of autism in toddlers

Some of the signs that a toddler, between one year old and two years old, may have autism spectrum disorder include:

What Should I Do After The Temper Tantrum

Once the tantrum is over, you can engage your child in conversation about what happened. You can also discuss how they can stop tantrums from happening again. Try to:

  • Offer praise for calming down: Reinforce your childs positive behavior and good choices. Children like recognition for good behavior. Be as specific as possible. Instead of, You were so good, say, You did a great job using your inside voice in the store. These statements help your child know what behaviors are expected and acceptable.
  • Acknowledge their feelings: Let your child know you understand their frustrations. Offer to help. Often, children are seeking attention, so acknowledging them can help ease their emotions.
  • Teach your child to label emotions: Children often dont have the vocabulary they need. They cant describe their frustration, jealousy, anger or disappointment. Tantrums are how they express their feelings. Give them the words they need to express themselves: I see youre angry now. Youre crying, and your face is red.
  • Teach your child how to handle strong emotions: Help them figure out how to deal with a problem without getting upset. Theyll learn they can solve some of their problems themselves. Theyll become more independent and less prone to tantrums.
  • Set a good example: Children look up to their parents, watching their behavior. Model healthy strategies when youre upset or frustrated. Your child will begin to copy your behavior.

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Temper Tantrums Up Odds Of Autism Diagnosis In Girls


Spotting signs:

Girls who show severe emotional or behavioral problems are more likely to be diagnosed with autism than those who do not, suggests a new study1.

The findings may help to explain why some girls with autism go undiagnosed or are diagnosed later than boys.

Girls in the study were just as likely as boys to show certain autism features, such as poor awareness of social cues. But having these traits is not necessarily enough for a diagnosis, says senior investigator Kirstin Greaves-Lord, head of the Autism Research Collaboration at Erasmus MC-Sophia Childrens Hospital and Yulius Mental Health in the Netherlands.

Girls may also need to show emotional or behavioral problems as a prerequisite for diagnosis, Greaves-Lord says. The work was published 9 December in Autism.

It suggests that if youre a girl and you want to get a diagnosis, youd better be disruptive, says Kevin Pelphrey, director of the Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., who was not involved in the study.

Greaves-Lord and her colleagues set out to identify behaviors that affect a childs likelihood of receiving an autism diagnosis. They assessed autism features in 167 boys and 64 girls, ranging in age from 2 to 12 years. The children were referred to six participating clinics for emotional, behavioral or developmental problems.

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Autism Spectrum Disorders: Signs &  Symptoms

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Anger Aggression & Autism

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists aggression as one of the symptoms of autism. As many as one out of every four children with autism struggles with aggressive behaviors.

People with autism have more trouble with aggressive outbursts than their neurotypical peers. In neurotypical children, boys tend to exhibit aggression more frequently than girls. But girls with autism are just as likely to express aggression as boys on the spectrum.

Anger and aggression are common across all levels of the autism spectrum. Children who struggle with more substantial social and communication issues, as well as those who engage in more repetitive behaviors, are more likely to have problems with emotional regulation and aggressive actions.

Anger and aggression can be one of the most problematic issues related to autism. It can lead to difficulties at school and home, and result in harm to the child and others. Aggression can be directed outwardly toward caregivers or peers, or it can be self-directed in the form of self-harm.

One of the most important roles of a parent is to keep their child, and those around the child, safe and healthy. When a child with autism frequently struggles with anger and aggression, its important for parents to learn what triggers these outbursts. Once the triggers are identified, methods to manage them can be implemented.

A Shortening Attention Span

Little ones should never be expected to have long attention spans, but when a child is clearly losing focus during a time when she is being told to do otherwise, her frustration will certainly grow. Using distraction or helping your child find an activity that does interest her can help to prevent an impending meltdown.

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How Do You Handle A Stubborn Child

DEALING WITH A NEGATIVE, STUBBORN TODDLERDon’t take this normal phase too personally. … Don’t punish your child for saying no. Punish your child for what she does, not what she says. … Give your child plenty of choices. … Don’t give your child a choice when there is none. … Give transition time when changing activities.

Why These Meltdowns Happen

The Difference Between a Meltdown and Tantrum in Children with Autism

Autism is a spectrum disorder that impacts as many as 1 out of every 54 children. As a developmental disorder, symptoms of ASD include problems understanding emotions in both oneself and others. Language delays and communication deficits are aspects of autism that can lead to frustration and an inability to effectively communicate wants and needs. Sensory issues, emotional outbursts, and aggression are common in autistic children.

Temper tantrums are a normal method children use to gain negative attention or to impact their situation. An autism meltdown is different. It is not used as a tool to get something the child wants. Instead, it represents a loss of control. Autism meltdowns signify a complete overwhelming of the system and a loss of behavioral control as a result.

Autistic children have difficulties regulating their emotions and struggle with changes to their routine. They often have sensory issues and problems communicating effectively. All of these things can lead to a meltdown when their system feels overloaded and they can no longer control what is going on in their minds or bodies.

Autism meltdowns:

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Why Do Asd Children Hit

For autistic children, aggressive behavior is a physical way of communicating when they cannot express their feelings in words. If they feel frustrated, upset, hungry or tired, their emotional state has a direct impact on their conduct.

This is why children react aggressively towards their parents or even siblings.

Aggressive behaviors are common and normal during early infancy, especially if your child has communicational challenges. The best way for you, as a parent, to deal with these situations is to understand what your child is going through and offer the support they need to express their emotions properly.

What Is The Difference Between A Tantrum And Autistic Meltdown

While they may look similar in external behaviour, its important to understand the difference between the two. A tantrum is willful behaviour in younger children and therefore can be shaped by rewarding desired behaviours, whereas a meltdown can occur across a lifespan and isnt impacted by a rewards system.

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When Should I Talk To My Provider About My Toddlers Temper Tantrums

Contact your childs healthcare provider about temper tantrums if:

  • They persist or get worse after age 4.
  • Your child hurts themselves or someone else or damages property during a tantrum.
  • Your child holds their breath during a tantrum .
  • Your child has headaches, stomachaches and anxiety.
  • You feel frustrated and unsure of how to handle the tantrums safely.

Your provider may ask you questions about the tantrums. These questions can help them figure out if the tantrums are typical or a cause for concern:

  • When do the tantrums occur?
  • Whats usually happening right before the tantrum?
  • What does your child do during the tantrum?
  • How long does the tantrum last?
  • How do you react to the tantrum?
  • How is your child behaving between tantrums?
  • Are there changes to your home or school environment?
  • Have you recently moved?
  • Has there been a family change ?
  • Did something upsetting happen to your child or another family member?
  • Does your child have any other issues that may affect them, such as a sleep disorder or behavioral disorder

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 02/05/2021.


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