What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disorder that starts in early childhood. Children with autism spectrum disorder look just like other children. Although they may have learning problems, they have normal or even above-average intelligence.
Children with autism spectrum disorder have difficulty communicating and interacting with people. They have problems reading the emotional signals from others that let them know how someone is feeling. They may also seem clumsy and tend to have repetitive behaviors, such as repeating certain routines or rituals over and over again. Children with autism spectrum disorder don’t outgrow it it is a lifetime condition but with proper treatment most people can lead full and productive lives.
Causes Of Anxiety And Challenging Behaviours
If your child displays many challenging behaviours, for instance screaming non-stop, can become a very frustrating and overwhelming situation to deal with as a concerned parent. Challenging behaviours or tantrums can make it very difficult for children with autism to participate in typical activities or even prevent them from leaving their home.
Certainly, it is not an easy task to calm a child with autism but there are certain techniques on how to help them calm down. However, we need to consider how children with autism react to physical and emotional distress differently than typical children. For instance, they may not be able to say I want a toy or I dont want to do it, instead, they will throw fits to get what they want to avoid doing something they simply dont feel like doing.
Subsequently, as a result of feeling stressed, anxious, excited, frustrated, etc., they will display behaviours that we consider challenging and for them have become adaptive. You can predict some of the stressors that generate the sensory assaults that provoke the screaming such as a loud noise or a major change in their routine but some are less obvious.
What Is This Word
It’s stimming, short for the medical term self-stimulatory behaviours – a real mouthful.
Stimming might be rocking, head banging, repeatedly feeling textures or squealing. You’ll probably have seen this in people with Autism Spectrum Disorder but not really wanted to ask about it.
It is a term used widely in the ASD community.
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Theres A Difference Between Forcing Behaviors And Encouraging Independence
Ive learned from experience that trying to force independence is counterintuitive, whether or not your child is autistic.
When we push a child, especially one prone to anxiety and rigidity, their natural instinct is to dig their heels in and hold on tighter.
When we force a child to face their fears, and I mean screaming-on-the-floor petrified, like Whitney Ellenby, the mother who wanted her autistic son to see Elmo, we arent actually helping them.
If I was forced into a room full of spiders, I would probably be able to detach from my brain at some point to cope after about 40 hours of screaming. That doesnt mean I had some kind of breakthrough or success in facing my fears.
I also assume Id store those traumas and theyd invariably be triggered later in my life.
Of course, pushing independence isnt always as extreme as the Elmo scenario or a room full of spiders. All of this pushing falls on a spectrum ranging from encouraging a hesitant child to physically forcing them into a scenario that has their brain screaming danger.
When we let our children get comfortable at their own pace and they finally take that step of their own volition, true confidence and security grows.
That said, I understand where the Elmo mom was coming from. We know our kids would enjoy whatever activity if they would just try it.
We want them to feel joy. We want them to be brave and full of confidence. We want them to fit in because we know what rejection feels like.
My Husband Yells At Our Autistic Daughter What Should I Do
Q: My daughter is 7 and on the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum. My husband often has a short fuse with her , and will yell at her I’d say at least once a day. I don’t just mean a slightly raised voice or a case where she’s about to touch a hot stove, but yelling with anger in his voice, such as, “Just go to sleep!” when she’s having sleeping issues, or, “Fine, don’t eat the eggs!” if she’s being picky. I suffer from anxiety and am sensitive to people yelling , so when he yells, I get anxious and protective of our daughter, which tends to upset him more . We saw a marriage counselor in the past who basically said it’s normal to yell at your kids , and that he’s screamed at his before. Meanwhile the individual therapist I’m seeing says that it’s never okay to yell at your kids that it may happen, but it’s not okay. I’ve tried talking to my husband about it, but he seems to think it’s no big deal or will deny actually raising his voice. Any suggestions on how to deal with this? He seems reluctant to see a different marriage counselor.
Whatever you do, make a decision and move forward for yourself, your daughter and your husband. Life is precious and short your daughter needs you to find courage. Good luck.
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My Autistic Child Has Feelings
A common challenge children on the Autism Spectrum and their parents face is the assumption that because an autistic child cannot verbalize or express their feelings like a neurotypical child might, those feelings must not exist. But nothing could be further from the truth. As one parent bluntly describes, Even children who dont speak can still hear you. Dont talk to me over my children like they arent there, especially if youre going to sympathetically tell me what a saint I am for dealing with a horrible situation every day. Im not a saint. Im their mother. And she HEARS YOU and understands that youre saying shes a burden to me.
Theres No Need To Tag Us In Every Facebook Article About Autism
Parents of children on the Autism Spectrum are research junkies, and do their best to stay up-to-date with each and every advancement in the autism community. Certainly, they know more than the average person. As one parent put it, Theres literally no Facebook article we havent seen. So, before you share it and tag us because were that friend with the child with autism, take that into account.
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How To Calm Down An Autistic Child During A Meltdown
A meltdown is generally a reaction by the individual as they are overwhelmed. The first thing in learning how to calm an autistic child is to identify what is actually overwhelming for them.
By identifying the trigger, the meltdowns could be prevented later on. Keep a diary to see if meltdowns occur at particular times or places.However, there are also things to try while the autistic child is having a meltdown to calm them down. Here are some tips and strategies:
How Autistic Meltdowns Differ From Ordinary Temper Tantrums
Many parents of typical children refer to their child’s tantrums as “meltdowns.” The word “meltdown,” of course, comes from the catastrophic, dangerous exposure of radioactive material in a nuclear power plantand few typical temper tantrums rise to that level of intensity.
Autistic meltdowns, however, come closer to the euphemistic meaning of the term. In addition, autistic meltdowns have specific qualities that make them different from the average temper tantrum.
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Please Let My Child Play With Your Child
A study done in Australia found that 42% of teens and adults on the Autism Spectrum do not feel comfortable leaving their own home because they often feel others treat them negatively. Not only is this heartbreaking for the affected individuals, it also leads to further misunderstanding and stigma about autism by the general public. Children with autism like to play with their peers, and largely benefit from being included in things like play dates and sports teams.
Is Hitting A Sign Of Autism
Hitting is not a universal sign of autism but people with autism tend to engage in behaviour that can cause harm to themselves or others when they feel frustrated, overwhelmed or unwell. Some of the behaviours that you may see are banging their head on walls or other objects, hitting themselves or others and hitting their head with their hands. Since some of them lack communication and social skills, this seems to be an adaptive behaviour that gets them the attention they desperately seek.
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Observe And Wait For Quiet Mouth Or Appropriate Vocalization
The third step: sit back and watch your child. Reinforce Quiet Mouth . Whenever there is a split second of Quiet Mouth, immediately tag and hand over a treat. Every time the childs mouth is Quiet, tag and treat. Soon there will be much more Quiet Mouth behavior.
When doing this it is important not to react to vocal stims or screaming. Dont look at the child, dont speak to him/her or explain. Stay quiet yourself and immediately tag and treat as soon as there is even a split second of Quiet Mouth.
Please note, the purpose of this is not to mute the child. The purpose is to teach the skill of being quiet in appropriate settings and to increase the range of sounds or words that the child can say. For this reason, be sure to tag and treat a child for any Appropriate Vocalizations/Communication. If he/she says a nice word, makes a comment, or emits any sound that could be the basis of a word, then tag and reinforce that. The ultimate goal is to increase social and communication skills.
For all of us, there is a time to speak and a time to be still.
Tink has developed in leaps and bounds because her parents use TAGteach and understand the science of behavior. Tinks parents were told not to expect her to walk or talk and shes starting to do both. to follow Tinks journey with TAGteach.
Autism Isn’t Speaking It’s Screaming
I’m a lover of my family, my students, and the desire to be my best me in every way all day.
“WOOOOOOOOOOOH. Woo Woo Woo Woo. I’m a policeman,” my four year old screamed at his chair, spoon poised in his hand, half eaten macaroni and cheese in his bowl.
My husband jumps. “Charlie, we don’t scream at the table,” I say patiently, trying to keep my tone straight.
“WOOOOOOOOOH. WOO oooooooooo.”
“Charlie,” my husband says, a little agitated. It had been a long day at work. My school day wasn’t any better.
“CHARLIE,” I cut him off. My tone is not straight anymore. “You will sit on the steps. No more screaming. Let’s finish our dinner if you want a treat.”
He takes a spoonful. “WOOOOOOOOOOOOH.”
I go back and forth with him, explaining how he needs to act at the dinner table, helping him with his spoon. Helping him eat with the airplane noises, the truck noises, the “whatever” noises. My husband’s not saying much. He wants to tell me not to baby him. Not to help him. I shouldn’t be helping him. He’s four years old. But he is not what many people will say is a “normal” four year old.
I’ve finally had enough. I get up and take him to the step. My dinner gets cold. My husband tries to entertain our older son while I start the struggle, the time out, the reasoning, the figuring.
I want to help my child, but until I know how, there might be some tears … and a lot of screaming.
How Do I Get My Autistic Child To Stop Pinching
If your autistic child recurrently starts pinching, it may be because this behaviour has been reinforced through attention or getting something they want/to need. The idea is to minimize the reward by approaching the child without making any eye contact. Dont reprimand or say anything other than stating the rule use your hands, no pinching. Then take your child somewhere they can take a break from others.
When Things Feel Out Of Control
Having a particular a routine or building a certain amount of predictability into your day is comforting. However, if things start to feel out of control or chaotic, that can cause anxiety, overstimulation or sensory overload and lead to a meltdown. It can also feel out of control when a series of smaller things seem to go wrong all at the same time.
What triggers me to feel extremely uncomfortable in my body and head is chaos, yelling or if theres a lot of movement at the same time that its loud. So if I go somewhere chaotic, I try to just plan for three hours. When it gets hard I leave for a bit, I bring a sensory bag and I always take my own car. Veda F-P
When too many unusual things happen at once and shatter my belief that everything is alright. marlynmorgan
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Our Home Is Safety Proofed
Youre probably familiar with baby proofing a house. But while most families can take down the safety gates and doorknob locks once the child ages, families with children on the Autism Spectrum often have these items and more protecting their child from their homes inherent dangers. This is because many children on the Autism Spectrum are prone to behaviors that can bring about self injury.
What Its Like To Have A Severe Autism Meltdown
One of the biggest fears a person can have is loss of control of self. The other is fear of the unknown. For many with autism, the unknown can trigger a loss of control. One great fear leads to another.
There are many sources out there that will tell you why we do what we do. . Articles will explain why we cannot handle change. Speakers will express the process of transition. Trainers will teach the need for scheduling and routine. However, there comes a point where none of these suggestions is helpful, and a meltdown still occurs. Like a seizure, it can happen out of nowhere, and it can be very frightening and traumatic for the autistic person . Especially when the cause of the meltdown is unknown. It is terrifying!
You may be very used to meltdowns that your child or adult child may have. However, a meltdown can look quite different in another person. Meltdowns can look like any of these actions: withdrawal or outward distress . Since you have experience with autism, you can offer help to that person in distress.
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My Child May Be Nonverbal But She Has A Lot To Say
We live in a very verbal society that is ill-equipped for those in our population who are nonverbal. Its estimated that about one-third of those on the Autism Spectrum are unable to speak. Still, it would be a mistake to assume these people do not have ideas, opinions, and other things to say. Some autistic children learn sign language to communicate, while others type or use other tools.
Why Going Out In Public With An Autistic Child Is A Challenge
The little boy thrashes in his seat at the small, quiet diner, whipping his long blond hair across his pale face. Strangers watch as his mother tries to soothe him without touching him, alarmed that she seems unconcerned that he might fall or hurt himself. Still, people try to be respectful, averting their eyes from the scene.
The boy stretches his leg as far as it could go, hitting a full glass of water and causing it to spill all over the table and the floor. The server silently walks over, wiping up the water without a word. The boys mother whispers, Im sorry, and the server simply smiles back.
The boys name is Matthew, and hes 8. He was diagnosed with autism two years ago.
Matthews parents are Renee and Anthony. Before they had Matthew, they were travelers, jetting off to Europe once a year, camping several times in the summer at various parks throughout the country, and discovering as many strange and unique places as they could before they decided to have children.
At 42 and a first-time mother, Renee had been warned her life would change drastically once she decided to have children. When youre an older mother, youre quite aware of what youre giving up, although I hate saying it that way, Renee admits. What Im trying to say is that I knew Anthony and I wouldnt have the same freedom we did before, but we never once considered wed ever have a child with special needs.
First, why are there meltdowns?
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How Does Stimming Differ In Autistic People
Almost everyone engages in some form of self-stimulating behavior. You might bite your nails or twirl your hair around your fingers when youre bored, nervous, or need to relieve tension.
Stimming can become such a habit that youre not even aware youre doing it. For most people, its a harmless behavior. You recognize when and where its inappropriate.
For example, if youve been drumming your fingers on your desk for 20 minutes, you take social cues that youre irritating others and choose to stop.
In autistic people, stimming might be more obvious. For example, it may present as full-body rocking back and forth, twirling, or flapping the hands. It can also go on for long periods. Often, the individual has less social awareness that the behavior might be disruptive to others.
Stimming associated with autism isnt always cause for concern.
It only becomes an issue if it interferes with learning, results in social exclusion, or is destructive. In some rare cases, it can be dangerous.