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Tantrums or more?

(5 Posts)
HelpIHaveaToddler Sat 08-Apr-17 20:56:17

I have a nearly 3 year old boy and most of the time things are great. He can be extremely loving and a happy young man. I have however started to wonder whether he could be borderline autistic but do not know if I'm reading too much into it or if it is in fact just him being a toddler.

It started with his need for consistency and what I see as OCD (doors have to be shut, things have to be done in and certain order, routines stuck to). Over the last 6 months this has now escalated into some very severe tantrums/meltdowns when things don't go his way. For example, this evening I asked him to put his bath toys away and pull the plug. After the 3rd time I put the toys away and went to get him out of the bath. He then went into a complete meltdown and started screaming and pulled all of the toys back out as he wanted to put them away. I gave him a minute but as he messed about I took him out of the bath. He kicked and screamed and took himself back to the bathroom and climbed into the bath so he could put the toys away. It took him around 30 minutes to calm down.

Daily I have the issue of walking down stairs. If I go in front of him and don't let him 'win' that will cause a meltdown.

This afternoon it was because I got the pegs out of the peg bag to hang the washing. I told him he could help but he kept screaming so I carried on and the tantrum got worse.

He often gets upset if I put his clothes on in the wrong order (tee-shirt before pants) and will take the clothes off and start again.

The easy answer is to let him do the things he wants in the way he wants but I don't want him growing up thinking he will always get his own way. On the flip side if it is a form of autism I don't want to be making it worse.

I don't want to put a lable on him, I just want to know what to do for the best for his development.

Any advice is greatly appreciated!

LoveDeathPrizes Sat 08-Apr-17 21:04:14

Honestly, my DD did all these things at the same age. But then I often wondered about ASD too. We used to have to revisit situations for her to resolve them her way.

She's calmer now and a bit more flexible. She's always been very intense and clearly has some issues around control. She does have a lot of asbergers markers. I guess time will tell.

Spotsondots Sun 09-Apr-17 08:23:03

My DS is 3.5. We experience, or have recently experienced, all of those things you describe. We are through the stairs thing now. The bath thing is still going on. It is part of their normal development to try to gain control of a situation/be in charge. They are figuring out their place in the world and learning negotiation skills at this age. The negotiations are extremely primitive because they are just starting out so when it doesn't go their way it often ends in tears and tantrums. For example, DS has just had a 20 minute screaming fit because I came downstairs with him this morning and not daddy. Apparently I "wasn't allowed". He's curled up next to me now... It's just a variation on the same thing. Most of the time he's completely fine. His friends are very similar. I don't worry about ASD. It's tough at times, but keep being consistent in your responses to his behaviour (so following through on things exactly as you have been) and you will help him learn to navigate these social situations as all of us have had to learn as young children. He will probably scream and cry along the way, but you can be there to help him cope with those feelings too. Good luck from the mum of one strong willed three year old to another!

HowamIgoingtocope Sun 09-Apr-17 08:54:00

I've just had a major meltdown from my boy who's 9. So he's now grounded . Sorry kid not having it

Goldmandra Sun 09-Apr-17 21:08:53

If he is autistic, you won't make it better or worse by disrupting or supporting these rituals. If they are about reducing anxiety in what feels like a chaotic world, supporting them is probably better.

Lots of two and three year olds have a need to gain control in some way. It can be about who opens the door of who puts them to bed. Children with autism can do it all day, every day about everything because that us the only way they can keep the world predictable enough to cope.

If he has autism, he just has it. There isn't such a thing as borderline autistic. Either it has a profound effect on his life or it doesn't. Some people are autistic but it is very well masked.

Children with autism usually have a variety of other difficulties in addition to the need for routine and control, e.g. sensory processing difficulties,impaired executive function, poor theory of mind, difficulties reading tones of voice, facial expressions and body language. They can be loving, empathetic and have a highly developed imagination.

Labelling is a non-issue. If a child has autism, a diagnosis is helpful to them. If they are not, a diagnosis won't be forthcoming. The assessment process can give you really helpful information about how to help your child if they need it.

If you start to realise that your son is significantly different from his peers and you find yourself having to adapt your daily lives to accommodate his anxieties, you can ask your GP to refer him for a neurodevelopmental assessment. There is usually quite a long waiting list and you can cancel at any time if things change.

Children with autism do benefit from early intervention if it is offered so it's usually better to seek an assessment if your gut feeling is that it is needed.

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