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DLA form again: Finding out the difference between a typical 2yr-old's tantrums and ds2's meltdowns???

(18 Posts)
coppertop Sun 15-May-05 12:22:08

I'm trying to fill in section 2 of the DLA form for ds2 (2.3yrs). I'm having problems trying to show that ds2's meltdowns are more than just typical 'terrible 2s' tantrums. I've even wtched some of the BBC3 series "House of Tiny Tearaways" to get some idea of the differences. Dh and I watched an episode about a girl who had lots of tantrums and tbh they just seemed so tame in comparison (although obviously they were still distressing for the parents involved).

I've tried to write down descriptions of typical ds2 tantrums. These are usually up to 1.5hrs of screaming, smashing his head against the floor, throwing furniture across the room, attempting to smash the television screen, hurling himself against the walls and doors etc. I've also added specific examples of what he's done in previous rages, including the time he stabbed dh in the leg with a toy knife with such force that it did some damage there.

I've never had an NT child to compare to but I know that ds2's rages are far worse than ds1's at the same age. Ds1 actually had a rare meltdown yesterday (lots of kicking and screaming and throwing involved) and the one thing that stuck in my mind was that even this was easier to deal with than ds2 - and ds1 is big for his age.

Any ideas how I can get across the idea that ds2's behaviour is far worse than a typical 2yr-old's tantrums?

Rainbow Sun 15-May-05 12:26:40

Not much personal experience, but have friends who have. Try to be as descriptive and honest as you can length, injuries yours and his, methods you tried to passify him, your feelings/emotions etc. try writning it on a piece of paper first then you canadjust things that don't sound quiet right. Good luck xx

baka Sun 15-May-05 12:41:12

as its for DLA all they are interested in is how much time it takes (or how much more time than a normal child's) and how much extra supervision is required. SO I would say that they last for 1.5 hours and that full time supervision is required during this time to prevent injuries to your son and to others.

eidsvold Sun 15-May-05 12:55:09

i second what baka says - when I watch other children's tantrums the aspect that strikes me is the control they still have. In that - sometimes they stop to see if they have an audience, they then are able to adjust behaviour accordingly, they certainly don't last the length of time you are having to be supervising your little one - not only for injury to himself but to others. Talk about the aspect of no control.... no reasoning etc - usually nt children can calm down and be reasoned with.

don't have much experience with this... but hope that is some help.

monica2 Sun 15-May-05 16:46:25

Hi coppertop, it is a difficult one this, but it's good that you are trying to focus on the difference between ds2 and a nt child as that is how the dla assess. I would emphasise also the triggers for these meltdowns, as I would imagine that lots of trivial often unavoidable situations can be the cause (not so with nt children). Also when I completed our dla we were told to fill it in as your worse day with explanations of the worse meltdowns etc. I would also detail the length of time the meltdowns last and how often as well as the length of time it takes you to calm ds down etc.
I think also it is important to get across the level of danger to others and to ds2, in my experience this is the key difference.

Hope this is of help

happymerryberries Sun 15-May-05 16:56:10

I would emphasis the physical force of the tantrum. My NT dd could throw the most amazing tantrums, which could last for a few hours. But she was always 'careful' never to do herself physical damage, IYSWIM. She always had sufficient control to check that the floor was clear before she threw herself down on it!

I could walk away from her a few yards because I knew that she still had sufficient control to avoid a major hurt. This isn't true withyour ds. To my mind the time isn't so much the issue, it is the utter lack of self preservation that he shows. Dd always had an undercurreny of control, and I think that is the difference.

coppertop Sun 15-May-05 18:09:32

You lot are full of good ideas!

I had no idea that NT tantrums were still relatively controlled. Ds2 couldn't care less whether he was hurling himself on to a soft carpet or on to broken glass. There's no sense of self-preservation at all and he definitely can't be reasoned with. Actually that's also given me an extra point to make in the "communication" sections as well.

He has hurt ds1 on more than one occasion, usually by lashing out and hitting him over the head with whatever object is available. I've also been on the receiving end of the headbanging and lashing out too so there's definitely enough evidence to show that he could be a danger to others if left alone. I hadn't thought about that side of things enough when going through the form. I also hadn't thought about how we're unable to just walk away and leave him to get on with it. We can make the area relatively safe but short of putting padding on the walls and doors I don't think it would be safe to leave him alone to get on with it.

I could also put in all the methods we use to keep him (and others) safe and to calm him down again.

happymerryberries Sun 15-May-05 18:19:32

Coppertop, dds tantrums used to go like this.

Have a wobbler in the living room. She would look at the floor to make sure it was clear and lob herself down. I would calmly walk away into the adjoining playroom.

She would realise that she had lost her audience. Stop, get up, follow me into the dining room and do the same thing again. So on I would go into the kichen! Repeat. Then into the hall, repeat and then back into the living room!

Not only would she have a quick shufti to make sure she wouldn't cause herself harm she clocked when I had left! It was all about getting attention, not about uncontroled , frantic fury that the child cannot understand or articulate.

Looking back dd's tantrums were awful, some would last hours but with retrospect they always had a thread of control. They are quite amusing to think about now, bloody grim at the time!

motherinferior Sun 15-May-05 18:20:44

Coppertop, I have never filled in a DLA form but I would think it would be a good idea simply to go into as much detail as possible; honestly, the two sentences you've given below are pretty convincing already. Especially the elements of self-harm and harm to other people, lack of control as everyone's mentioned, and so on.

All the recommendations for NT kids' tantrums involve at least an element of 'walk away and leave them to it', and it's obvious you can't do that.

I've interviewed you in the past; you are very good at bringing across a situation in detail, honestly you are.

motherinferior Sun 15-May-05 18:21:34

(Oh, yes, dd1 would ^lower herself carefully^ to the floor before throwing a wobbly. And DD2's are all about getting a reaction/her own way - there is a very obvious communication issue there!)

coppertop Sun 15-May-05 18:32:30

NT tantrums sound like a whole different world! Ds2's are triggered by either some unknown sensory overload or something being done 'wrong'. He turns into a screaming bundle of rage and then literally anything goes. He doesn't care if anyone is watching or where they are.

LOL at all the "careful lowering" and hoping for the desired reaction from the audience!

happymerryberries Sun 15-May-05 18:37:13

I think that you have summed the differences up with total clarity

motherinferior Sun 15-May-05 18:40:32

Which is why the detail will, I think, bring it across very clearly that these tantrums are different.

baka Sun 15-May-05 18:59:51

Ct- always bear in mind how the DLA form is assessed- they are interested in the time (so put the longest) and the degree of supervision. (a good tip- getting up at night isn't counted unless you are out of bed for 20 minutes- so getting out for 5 15 min intervals isn't counted (according to a SW who helped me fill the form in).

WRT my son's tantrums I wrote things like he would hit his head hard on glass or on the pavement if he could so required intervention.

baka Sun 15-May-05 19:01:12

talking of the control element of NT tantrums- my second son makes me laugh as he tries to copy my eldest son and will go to hit his head, or hit himself in the face but he does it really gently- it just looks funny. I always end up laughing poor boy.

coppertop Sun 15-May-05 21:11:43

LOL at little ds2 copying while avoiding hurting himself!

That's a good tip about the night waking too. The other bit I find confusing is about when night-time (for the purposes of DLA) starts. It says in the guide that it's when everyone goes off to bed, which should be simple enough BUT what about those nights where one of us has to stay awake until the early hours of the morning because ds2 is still wide awake? Does night-time start at the time when I would have gone to bed if hyper-boy wasn't still bouncing around the room?

baka Sun 15-May-05 22:14:38

I would count anytime past a normal child's bedtime as "night". Watchinhg hyperboy is nowhere near as much fun as sitting downstairs with dh quaffing wine!

eidsvold Mon 16-May-05 00:46:33

To me night time starts after you would reasonably expect a child of that age to be in bed. Not when you would go to bed... you are dealing with them at a time when an nt child would be in bed fast asleep.

My understanding of the dla is that you are doing things that are over and above the average care for an nt child iyswim.

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