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Emotional and Behavior outbursts: How do you handle them?


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#1 Sandra314

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 07:27 PM

One of the biggest challenges in parenting is dealing with children with emotional and behavior outbursts. Dealing with behavior disabilities is very stressful for parents.

For those with children with Autism/Asperger's Syndrome, how do you handle emotional and/or behavior ourbursts?

Michael our oldest son (with Aspergers and sensory issues) has both emotional and behavioral outbursts, at home and in public. Through the years, his AS symptoms have lessen but recently they have gotten worse. I have tried time out and removing priviledges and still no progress.

I have considered Howard Glasser's approach with children. Dr. Glasser is the co-author along with Jennifer Easley, M. A. of "Transforming the Difficult Child: The Nurtured Heart Approach."

He has worked with lots of families where health problems brings out the compassion of the parent who doesn't have the heart to keep the accountability and the child can easily become a tyrant. He says a child can be turned around. They need more structure, not less.

Glasser recommends:
A time-in is the child's sense of the energy you Demonstrate when things are going right and NOT going wrong. It's the experiences of success you choose to pickup on and report and the emotional/psychological nutrition she/he senses.

When it comes to outbursts,
he says that the 4-year old simply has the impression that we are being a more 'interesting " toy when things are going wrong. we prove it by being more animated, emotional and excited as compared to the bland, unenergized thank you when things are going right.

Michael is age 8 but still entertained when Timothy and I are scolding him by taking away priviledges. I think we need to rethink our system of doing things around here at home and try Glasser's approach.

I have tried 1-2-3 Magic and it works but sometimes I fall back on bad habits. I need to be consistent. Any advice?

#2 JamBerry

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 08:27 AM

For us it really depends on the cause of the outburst. For example, if the real root of the problem is a sensory overload, then I don't handle it as a discipline issue. Instead, I try to get him the sensory fix he needs. If I see it coming in advance, then I'll try to get him that sensory fix before the outburst.
Likewise, if it's because he's being asked to do something more challenging than he's able to do successfully, I'll try to scaffold or provide enough help and support that he can and will be successful and won't become overwhelmed and freak out.
It really does serve double duty--it keeps him from reaching the breaking point so often, so there are fewer outbursts in general, and it has built up in his mind a collection of memories of being successful with our help and of trusting us, which also leads to better interactions, better relationships, greater success, and fewer outbursts.
The other thing is that certain foods totally affect his behaviors and his thinking. If he's had artificial colors or dairy products, his emotions will be more volatile. If he's had apples, he'll be a space cadet. When we know he's eaten something he shouldn't, we just live with it, adjust our expectations, and help him through it.

Now there ARE times where it's NOT the autism (or allergies). At the times where he's just being a buttheaded 9yo boy, he gets in trouble with consequences appropriate to the offense and with his ability to understand.

I don't know that I'd say the child needs more 'structure' and not less, but what the child DOES need is all those times of success with mom and dad. Building a sense of competency in the child and the child's sense of trusting the parents to help guide them, to read them, to scaffold/help them when they need help, and also to let them do what they CAN do when they don't need help are very important for any kid's development, but especially important to remember with a spectrum kid.

I think one of the reasons that kids will 'enjoy' us more when they have an outburst is because our reactions are so predictable. For a spectrum kid, who has difficulty processing change and uncertainty, being able to push a button that gets mom or dad to react in a KNOWN and predictable way is actually very comforting. Again, it goes back to trust and competence. As they gain competence through a history of highlighted successes with mom and dad, and they gain trust in mom and dad, the need to create that predictable response (if I do this then mom will do that, and I'll know what to expect and not have to think so hard) will be lessened as well. Which again, lessens the number of outbursts and the severity of outbursts.

So, anyway, that's my spin on things. Our ds still has his moments. But they are fewer and farther between and not particularly impressive anymore, IMO, unless we're asking WAY too much of him without scaffolding for success OR he's eaten something that truly affects his physiological ability to self regulate.

HTH
Pam
<><

#3 Greta Lea

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 08:50 AM

My 14yo doesn't have any food issues that trigger him, but other than that, I do exactly what you do.

I've always got one eye and ear on my ds, making sure there's nothing that I need to "head off" before it causes him to have a meltdown.

greta:)

#4 Sandra314

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 10:04 AM

For us it really depends on the cause of the outburst. For example, if the real root of the problem is a sensory overload, then I don't handle it as a discipline issue. Instead, I try to get him the sensory fix he needs. If I see it coming in advance, then I'll try to get him that sensory fix before the outburst.
Likewise, if it's because he's being asked to do something more challenging than he's able to do successfully, I'll try to scaffold or provide enough help and support that he can and will be successful and won't become overwhelmed and freak out.
It really does serve double duty--it keeps him from reaching the breaking point so often, so there are fewer outbursts in general, and it has built up in his mind a collection of memories of being successful with our help and of trusting us, which also leads to better interactions, better relationships, greater success, and fewer outbursts.
The other thing is that certain foods totally affect his behaviors and his thinking. If he's had artificial colors or dairy products, his emotions will be more volatile. If he's had apples, he'll be a space cadet. When we know he's eaten something he shouldn't, we just live with it, adjust our expectations, and help him through it.

Now there ARE times where it's NOT the autism (or allergies). At the times where he's just being a buttheaded 9yo boy, he gets in trouble with consequences appropriate to the offense and with his ability to understand.

I don't know that I'd say the child needs more 'structure' and not less, but what the child DOES need is all those times of success with mom and dad. Building a sense of competency in the child and the child's sense of trusting the parents to help guide them, to read them, to scaffold/help them when they need help, and also to let them do what they CAN do when they don't need help are very important for any kid's development, but especially important to remember with a spectrum kid.

I think one of the reasons that kids will 'enjoy' us more when they have an outburst is because our reactions are so predictable. For a spectrum kid, who has difficulty processing change and uncertainty, being able to push a button that gets mom or dad to react in a KNOWN and predictable way is actually very comforting. Again, it goes back to trust and competence. As they gain competence through a history of highlighted successes with mom and dad, and they gain trust in mom and dad, the need to create that predictable response (if I do this then mom will do that, and I'll know what to expect and not have to think so hard) will be lessened as well. Which again, lessens the number of outbursts and the severity of outbursts.

So, anyway, that's my spin on things. Our ds still has his moments. But they are fewer and farther between and not particularly impressive anymore, IMO, unless we're asking WAY too much of him without scaffolding for success OR he's eaten something that truly affects his physiological ability to self regulate.

HTH
Pam
<><


I have been able to distinguish between the behavior from sensory overload and the frustration he gets from being challenged.

I have had difficulty on discipline with regards to the regular behavior of an 8 year old. I think it's mainly in part to the fact I have had the mindset that's it due to his Autism or his chromosomal abnormality. He has a deletion of the 2nd chromosome that his genetist says may also be a contributing factor to his behavioral and medical problems.

I have noticed differences in behavior with certain foods although I admit I have not noted which specific foods trigger the behavior. After reading your advise and comments, (you explained it to me perfectly) I thank you for your insight. I will be following your advise in

Building a sense of competency in the child and the child's sense of trusting the parents to help guide them..




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