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Increase in irritability and temper/aggression - reasons?

(10 Posts)
sphil Mon 12-Sep-11 21:29:07

DS2 is nearly 9 and has ASD with SLD. Over the last six months or so he has changed from a passive, flexible, happy and calm child to one who is frequently oppositional, irritable, sensitive (in a sensory way) and angry. For example, he has just had a meltdown at the swimming pool because
i) it was more crowded than usual
ii) there were some screaming/crying children there
iii) I didnt get dressed quickly enough
iv) I made him go into a cubicle to get changed (we were in Ladies)
v) I didnt have change for the vending machine and had to queue. Using the word 'change' made him think I was going to get changed again (!)

Now all these things might have caused a minor strop before, but he would have recovered quickly/been easily distracted. Now he just loses it - and the losing it carries on for longer and is usually accompanied by hitting amd pinching + screaming. I am unable to control him when he gets like this, which is completely new for me - he has always been 'manageable'.

When he's not being like this he returns to his sweet, happy self, but I can't help feeling that he's unhappy for increasing amounts of time sad

Have any of you experienced a similar sudden (or fairly sudden) character/mood change in your children and what do you think were the causes?

AlysWho Tue 13-Sep-11 08:50:45

Hormones? sorry very brief but DD is 14 and DS 12, from my xperience i'd say the hormone rollercoaster is starting!x

LaDolcheRyvita Tue 13-Sep-11 09:11:44

My son is ten....ASD and OCD which started when he was nice. Dx ASD at age 4.

It could well be hormones, as young as he is. My son is high functioning but just before his tenth birthday he changed enormously. His anxieties went through the roof and he became aggressive toward himself.

Speak to your GP? ASD specialist? School?

LaDolcheRyvita Tue 13-Sep-11 09:12:11

OCD started when he was NINE...

zzzzz Tue 13-Sep-11 12:32:05

I would concider

Has anything changed at school/is it getting harder for him?
Are people less forgiving of him now he is a bit bigger?
Are you perhaps expecting more of him [like being in a cubicle because it was ok outside at 6 but not at 9]?
Are you more worried when he kicks off now because he is bigger to handle and people notice more?
Are you happy at the moment? [ie could you be more irritable/sending out vibes]
Is he eating enough/sleeping/having fun?

Your post sounds tired and you have probably thought of all the above, but those are the things I would be mulling over.

I do think describing him as "having a minor strop" in the past that has grown into "losing it" when he is stressed is the wrong way of thinking about it. Both conjure up images/feelings that he has been naughty. I am not in anyway in the "poor dear" crowd of sn parents, but I think the way you characterise his behaviour is important. I am reading it that he is increasingly overwhelmed and unable to cope with things. If you feel this is the case I think it would be more appropriate to be thinking up a more robust plan for him to cope with his anxiety/emotions. For example I would think he may be old enough to start recognising when he is getting upset and could perhaps learn to ask for 5 mins on ipod or something.

That was all a bit of a round about way of saying that I think you need to calmly think about what could be causing the change/escalation and ALSO what you can do to help him deal with what is a more pronounced problem.

We have only had this when school was going very badly, and mine is younger, so developmental may of course be a more obvious answer.....but either way he is going to have to change how he is behaving if youare going to be able to keep doing things in the way you did before.

sphil Tue 13-Sep-11 12:36:48

I did wonder about hormones, specifically a testosterone surge. He has suddenly become much more physically developed - bulkier somehow. He's also getting erections more often, which bother him when hes wearing clothes - had a problem with school trousers this morning, which were obviously rubbing. His older brother (10) is also going to reach puberty early I think.

Any ideas how to cope- or anything natural I coukd try to help with hormonal changes?

ovenchips Tue 13-Sep-11 13:30:54

My DD went from being smiley, giggly and easygoing to volatile and awful ups and downs for no apparent reason. I hope you don't think it's a hobbyhorse I'm getting on again but it's possible this could be adrenal fatigue in your DS. It causes emotional volatility and real ups and downs. Other physical signs as we discussed before are craving for salt and also overly dilated pupils especially when a light is shone into them.

Adrenal support is giving them lots of sea salt (celtic sea salt is mentioned a lot), vitamin C - I adore this stuff and it is also fantastic at supporting adrenals (high doses needed regularly throughout day as it is metabolised quickly), adrenal cortex extract (ACE) - I get Thorne ACE from Mandi Mart, this supplement is the most effective adrenal support for my DD and also natural licorice (most palatable is that soft eating kind but my DD still won't eat it).

My DD has benefitted an awful lot from it emotionally/temperamentally, and no longer craves salt whatsoever and her pupils are much less dilated.

If you wanted to try it (ACE, vit C and salt) you would only have to trial it for a couple of weeks. You would see results fairly quickly if it was going to help. If it does help it's worth to keep giving it, increasing everything until you stopped seeing improvements then maintain the supplementation.

sphil Tue 13-Sep-11 14:20:16

Thanks ovenchips - Id forgotten that discussion! He does crave salt and I do sprinkle a bit on his meals. He also takes Vit C, but only half a tsp a day. What sort of dosages do you give?

I'll check his pupils later.

ovenchips Tue 13-Sep-11 14:43:11

Vit C - 3-5 grams+++ a day (yes grams) but needs to given regularly over day (3-4-times at least). I give as much as I can get my DD to take in any one day. There's no toxicity level. General advice is to bowel tolerance (i.e. until it gives them diarrhoea).

The ACE is the most important supplement imo for adrenals.

Salt: you need to use an awful lot. There is talk of 'salt loading' as well but don't know specifics.

The pupils thing. There's a specific little test to do. Can't remember specifics so please Google as am bound to explain it wrongly. But something like - put child into wardrobe or other dark space(!), shine a torchlight into eyes, observe pupils. Healthy adrenals will cause pupil to contract and stay like that. Fatigued adrenals will initially contract but then dilate a fair bit back again. Fecked adrenals will initially contract, then dilate, then contract, then dilate etc causing a curious flickering of pupils. My DD's flickered.

sphil Tue 13-Sep-11 20:41:27

Shining a torch into his eyes will be difficult as he hates things like that. But will have a go...

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