Dealing With the Outbursts

Cameron’s at the point where, when he does something wrong, the only thing he knows how to do is shout out the most hateful thing he can think of and stomp off. For example, if he hurts his little brother and we get mad at him, he’ll stomp his feet all the way to his bedroom shouting “Tyler is a stupid baby face!” and slam his bedroom door.

“Stupid” is the most hateful word he knows.

It’s not necessarily an Autism trait as most children will do this sort of thing when they’re mad, but it’s still worth writing about because what does set those with Autism apart is their inability to handle or deal with those strong emotions.

This presents a bit of a problem really because it will grow in magnitude unless contained.. you see, you have to deal with it with all children, naturally, but with Autistics, unless you can really help them to learn how to handle it, you’ll start to see more and more of these outbursts at restaurants, family outings and so forth.

At the same time, you have to know when it’s serious and when it’s not because at a young age, and with Autism… just about every outburst can be as loud and hateful as they can make it, whether they’re mildly upset or furious… it all comes out the same.

How do you distinguish? Do you distinguish? Do you handle them all the same or do you let some instances slide and not others?

Temple Grandin once said “You can not punish for sensory overload” meaning, when a child is totally misbehaving because their senses are overloaded, you can’t punish them for that… they’re already in pain! So when a child is already getting hugely mixed signals and lashing out regardless of whether or not they want to be… do you punish them for it?

I believe in raising my child as I would raise him without Autism… an outburst is not ok… hitting is not ok…  however, if I see that there is a cause for his misbehaving such as sensory overload, change in routine, gluten intake or something like that, I will try to find a more ‘lenient’ way to separate him from the situation, get him into his room without him feeling like he’s bad… something like that.

It’s pretty difficult to keep your patience though, when your child is trying to be as hateful as they can after they were the ones that did something wrong… how do you deal with this sort of thing?

About Stuart Duncan

My name is Stuart Duncan, creator of http://www.stuartduncan.name. My oldest son (Cameron) has Autism while my younger son (Tyler) does not. I am a work from home web developer with a background in radio. I do my very best to stay educated and do what ever is necessary to ensure my children have the tools they need to thrive. I share my stories and experiences in an effort to further grow and strengthen the online Autism community and to promote Autism Understanding and Acceptance.

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2 Responses to Dealing With the Outbursts

  1. Wendy Bailey (Wendakai) August 9, 2010 at 11:14 am #

    My answer was getting so long, I decided there was a blog post there. ;o) So thanks! But to keep it brief, I think it’s important that we parents trust our instincts. Repetition can help teach us what we’re dealing with and what works with our child to calm them and help them deal with a given situation. Unfortunately there are no answers that apply to all kids. Trust yourself.

  2. outoutout August 9, 2010 at 8:58 pm #

    It sounds like you’ve got a really good attitude about your son’s outbursts, and how to handle them. :)

    I’m also going through this with my sons… and, being an autistic person myself, it’s almost like payback for me! I can tell you how my parents handled it. They had a simple list of concrete ground rules: no hitting, no running away, no throwing things, etc. They did not tolerate violence or rude behavior. At the same time, they recognised that I needed a place to “calm down” and “get it all out”, and that was my room. I could rant, rave, and scream all I liked in there.. and when I’d gotten it all out, it was over.

    I’m sure you already know this, but I really want to stress that control can be learned. While I still *feel* emotions very overwhelmingly (as most autistics do), I stopped having huge emotional outbursts in my teens. My parents had high expectations of me, and I really feel that is why I do as well as I do. That’s how I’m trying to raise my kiddos.

    So, in conclusion, do the best you can! It’s hard, and boy we parents have enough on our plates without having to second-guess ourselves every five seconds, so don’t be too hard on yourself!

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