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3 yo's public meltdowns Should I be concerned?

(9 Posts)
Avondale Fri 19-Apr-13 13:55:48

Just had to leave older sibling's school event because 3 yo DS went into meltdown, screaming, crying and shouting. Large crowds seem to set him off especially. Other places he has behaved like this is busy museums, crowded park etc but sometimes it is just because it is a new place.
His speech is 'delayed but developing normally', he shows empathy to others and enjoys cuddles and communicating. However I've wondered for a while if he might be 'on the spectrum' or 'just' hyperactive?
Any advice greatly appreciated

ClearlyDad Fri 19-Apr-13 14:30:15

Most kids go through some kind of tantrum stage ("terrible twos") so it may be perfectly normal... and a kid deciding to kick of is not necessarily an indicator that they are "on the spectrum" (as otherwise, that'd be about 90% of the population).

My concern is that by caving and removing yourself from the situation, you are encouraging him to use this behaviour when he's bored (and, speaking as someone who is "on the spectrum" if that's the case, any habits you set early on could be with him for a long time!)

Perhaps think about threats/sanctions/appeals to his better nature ("What would your gran think?" "We wont have icecream") rather than acquiescing. You have to remember that up until now, every time he's been noisy he's got what he wants (food/nappy change etc) as that's how babies communicate, but it's probably time for some ground rules.

humblebumble Fri 19-Apr-13 14:39:13

Perhaps he is getting a sensory overload?

My youngest DS has a few sensory issues and sees an OT, she suggested a few activities to do with him through out the day so he can get sensory stimulation and find situations where there is an overload a bit easier. Obviously it depends on your child. Mine loves physical attention/affection. He like to hug, be squashed, etc. One of the activities is to get him under some pillows or blankets and squash him ... it sounds ridiculous now I am writing it down (obviously he can breathe!) but he loves it and apparently it helps him. We only started doing this yesterday, but he started regular OT about a month ago and there has been a definite improvement for him in these situations where there is a lot of noise and people.

Avondale Fri 19-Apr-13 14:51:22

Thank you for your replies. Felt I had no choice but to remove him today as was disrupting assembly for the whole school. I'd never thought of it in terms of him being bored tho. Just felt he couldn't handle the situation. I had hoped he would grow out of it but shows no signs of improving. It means my other DC miss out on things because I'll avoid certain situations. Were you referred to OT via GP or HV?

ClearlyDad Fri 19-Apr-13 15:12:13

Sometimes it is that simple... very young children scream when their basic needs aren't met... and for a 3 year old, stimulation is a basic need!

humblebumble Fri 19-Apr-13 15:35:08

We are currently based in the US and the system here is very pro early intervention. So we also get speech therapy as well for my son's "delayed but progressing" speech. I am unsure on how the system works in the UK.

ClearlyDad does speak some sense. If your child has issues expressing how he is feeling (what 3 yr old can clearly articulate boredom, etc.?) then they are likely to tantrum, it is very normal. Rules and boundaries are good whether your child has issues or not so I would definitely encourage you to continue to use them. However, I assume as you have an older child(ren) that you know this anyway. For some children overstimulation sets them off, however you can not avoid these situations for ever, so aside from rules and boundaries perhaps helping them find ways overcome the sensory overload until they can cope better is additional method of getting them to cope in the meantime.

Prior to getting OT it was suggested that I take DS to a gymnastics class as they are often noisy, busy but still have structured rules (age appropriate of course). He really struggled with being overloaded with everything to begin with, but now he has improved and manages the whole class well. He has no issues with "rules" etc at nursery where they are a little more relaxed and loving.

Sorry it's a bit garbled, I hope I make some sense.

Avondale Fri 19-Apr-13 18:27:59

I understand what you are saying Clearly, but his meltdowns happen when there is plenty of stimulation, for example Eureka children's museum, playgrounds etc. We had spoken to him about today's event as that does help and he was excited about seeing his brother on the stage.
I guess the question I'm asking is, will GP / HV think I'm the one with issues if I ask for their advice?!

ClearlyDad Fri 19-Apr-13 22:56:07

It depends on your GP. Some are incredibly well informed... others, not so much. Be prepared to ask for your suspicions to be tested.

buckingfollocks Sat 20-Apr-13 22:36:34

I feel for you, my DS (3.9) still has meltdowns particularly when in a busy, noisy environment. It was DD b'day party recently and he spent at least 40mins of that wailing, due to the "noisy children".

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