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What do you do on days where everything is wrong?(12 Posts)
My ds is 4 and suspected ASD. He's partially verbal and prone to headbanging.
We have days where absolutely everything is wrong. All the things I say cause headbanging. On these days he also seems to seek out things that don't work and repeats the behaviour until he gets so frustrated he has a meltdown or headbangs. It's worse if I try and encourage him to try something else or take the toy away.
I've currently given in to Spongebob and an ice lolly!
I suppose what I'm trying to ask is does anyone give in to things just to regain some peace on days like this? Or any other tips to stem the repetitive behaviour that causes the meltdowns?
I would suggest that the repetitive behaviours aren't causing the meltdowns, more likely they are indications of attempts to self-regulate as a result of high anxiety/stress levels.
If you can spot the early signs and introduce a relaxing activity (spongebob and ice lollie sounds fine to me!), you effectively model to him how if you have those feelings and then do something you like that the feelings go away.
It's not about giving in
Thank you, that makes so much sense! I think sometimes I get so fixated on trying to help him with a behaviour I can't see past it.
Why do you think his having the meltdown/ repetitive banging ?
He could be all in all frustrated... that could be due to sensory... lack of verbal communication skills. Have you looked at emotional cards ? The Hanen 'More than words' book gives excellent tips regarding this. In one example, it showed you can create a simple book of what makes your child, happy, sad and frustrated. You can model his feelings back to him... e.g. If your DS is upset because he wants to watch Spongebob but his banging his head to indicate this. You can model "DS, I think you feel UPSET (then point to the angry/sad picture on the emotional card) became you want to watch Spongebob". You do this all the time.
Another example, if you feel your DS is experiencing sensory overload you can teach him to ask for a break " I need a break"... using pictures or verbal... and then give him choices..."would you like to go outside, watch TV, jump on the trampoline...need a hug... a squeeze.
I sympathise OP... I had similar experiences with DS where he would just get really frustrated and start shouting, running around, screaming. I would get upset and put him in timeout. But I realised this was the wrong approach... DS couldn't handle these strong emotions, so I did things differently. Whenever he was upset...shouting, crying... I would ask DS "How you are feeling ?"... usually I would wait for him to calm down... if DS doesn't respond, I will model..." I think you are feeling angry... and I would point to an angry picture "..... I then would ask him "why are you feeling angry...:"... no response back for him... then I would model to him "...your angry because you don't want to go out..." and I will point to an "X" image..as in he doesn't want to go out. I would then recast it back to him " DS... I know you don't want to go out but you have to go to school to learn"....DS would cry again. But ! This effect really helped, he was quiet for those few moments to think.... now DS is able to tell me how his feeling and why and we have very few episodes.
You can easily make emotional cards... phrases via pasting images on word and cutting them out. However, if your like me and would rather buy it... there are some emotional cue cards you can purchase.
I'm not sure I agree with using feelings cards, it's too easy for the parent/care-giver to name the feeling they see which might not be the one the child feels.
Focus on making life calm and happy, just like for typically developing kids, not everything needs to be a learning opportunity or a therapy, but all kids learn best and develop best when they're happy.
I'm not sure I agree with using feelings cards, it's too easy for the parent/care-giver to name the feeling they see which might not be the one the child feels
Well, don't we parents always interpret our child's needs / wants / likes / dislikes ? More so when our DC's (some) have limited verbal communication. That's why I encourage the OP to look at her DS actions and interpret....
not everything needs to be a learning opportunity or a therapy
I didn't know highlighting DC's emotions were "therapy".
Sometimes I don't bother to post advice on this board and this is why I venture to other boards.
OP gave advice. This is what worked for our situation.
The beauty of these boards was always that a parent could ask for advice and get lots of different ideas and it would generate thinking and discussion about what and why some people do some things.
We don't need to all agree to be supportive.
Nothing changes if we don't question what we do and why we do it.
I totally get that but I don't think we should brush off other posters suggestions. Shouldn't the OP make that decision for herself ? You may feel emotion cards are not right but in OP's case it may just be the thing. It is important to make life stress free, calm and possible...I'm not disputing that but the Op did ask *"..Or any other tips to stem the repetitive behaviour that causes the meltdowns?...".
Recognising children's emotions is not therapy or a teaching opportunity...I've learnt this from the triple P course... and read it from the book "How to talk so children will listen". The problem was...when my DS was feeling overwhelmed he didn't know how to express this emotion... he could label it but couldn't express it himself... I recognised that visual stuff seemed to really help DS and combined these approaches. I'm honesty, I don't actually know how my DS is actually feeling or what's causing it../ but I interpret his body language... reflect on what made him initial upset/anxious... what his expressing. I'm always careful to say " DS your crying, folding your arms../ I think you are feeling upset".
Don't want to derail as this is the OP's post.
Thank you for all the advice and support!
I have the Hanen book so I will definitely give it a look. I think long term it sounds like a good strategy but at the moment I think it would be quite difficult to do. He still had a lot of problems processing spoken information (even with picture support) but I like the idea of having pictures of alternative activities to do.
He's been a bit more relaxed today so finger's crossed it lasts for a while.