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Son Gets Real Upset Over Little Things
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Son Gets Real Upset Over Little Things

My son is 10 and has been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome at age 4. He gets upset over the littlest things, like a few days before the last day of school, he found out that kids with last names A-L got to leave at 10:00, while kids with M-Z last names left at 10:30 on the last day. He had a last name of M-Z, so he had to leave last. When he came home on the day he found out at school he had a big outburst and yelled at me about how he deserves to leave first and the other kids don't. About five months ago, his school had their annual "Kite Day". The first 10 minutes of Kite Day my son was happily flying his kite until he let go of his kite by accident. When it came back to the ground he saw that the kite was broken. He had a very severe tantrum in front of everyone that lasted the rest of Kite Day (over an hour). And just recently last Friday, he was on a family vacation with his cousins in West Virginia. He and three other kids (his twin sister and two of his cousins) were picking out a nighttime movie to watch. He wanted to watch Spongebob, and the other kids wanted to watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, so he didn't get his way of course. As soon as they told him that they weren't watching Spongebob, he yelled and screamed at everyone. I don't want any more of this behavior and I often scold and/or punish him when he does this. Please Help!
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325405_tn?1262293778
He had to leave 30 minutes later?  That is not fair.  It's hard for kids to realize that life is not fair sometimes, but rules are still rules, whether or not they are entirely fair.  Can you convey to him that life sometimes isn't fair but you have to accept those things?  Will telling him real life consequences be good?  I always got frustrated with my mom because of how she told me things.  Like, it was not good to tell your friend such and such or you shouldn't whine.  My dad used to tell me things like "if you keep whining, you won't have any friends".  So, instead of telling me I ought to do such and such, he told me the consequences of if I did such and such and if I wanted to have the consequences, that was my choice.  Consequences for some things meant grounding and some things were just not negotiable if they were hazardous or just bugged my dad like crazy.  Then his response was because I said so.  Oh, he also let us throw tantrums, just not in public.  If something went wrong, sure we could throw a fit in a bathroom or in the car.  I guess I was a little more emotional than most people (I'm not autistic but I remember getting upset by many things, and I do have a lot of asperger traits/tendencies).  I think my dad felt that I had these emotions, I had trouble conveying them with words, and I needed to have some private time to get them out without having people watch me throw the fit.  

I'm just saying what my parents did raising me and my other siblings.  Probably doesn't work for everyone.  May not work for autistic/aspergers kids.  But, I think it was helpful knowing real life consequences and being allowed to have fits, but just in more appropriate places that were private so that we could get our emotions out instead of just bottling them up.  

Our daughter has PDD.  She gets upset when things are not how they are supposed to be in her usual routine.  She has her meltdowns.  She can't talk much, so I have to help her put words to her emotions.  I also take her somewhere private, like a bathroom, so she can vent her frustrations.  I think it helps her.  I just feel strange if I told her to be quiet and stop fussing.  Her emotions are valid. Her being upset is valid.  Just how she expresses it needs to be modified slightly, so she can still get it out, but not inappropriately...
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Avatar_f_tn
hello, i am sorry that you are going through this right now
maybe my experience will help
i have been living with asp. for a few decades and i am now raising a 9 yr old son with the same symptoms
what helps us is to have consequences for tantrums
my child will show his but if he does not get his way, infact last friday he got in trouble at school, as a result he missed recess, he started to act out and locked himself in the bathroom
i picked him up, took him home and put him in his room from 11 to 2, and then he rode with me to pick up my other children from school
at school i have no control over my child, the school faculty has not control, so during school my child is in control, and often makes the wrong choices
my son is used to having consequences, if he acts out while we are at the mall, he must sit there and watch his brother pick out candy while he silently pouts
when the principal calls me, i bring him home, take away his Wii and i do not allow him to go outside, which is his favorite thing to do
as long as the person gets away with bad behavior they will never quit doing this
my parents never disiplined me, and eventually i went to jail for my temper when i was in college
work with him now when he is 10
he will fight you all the way, when you put him in his room
but a few hours in his room is nothing like jail time
get to him while you still can
best wishes
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Avatar_f_tn
I agree that they need consequences, but i found with my son taking away things and putting him in his room didn't help, because he was convinced he did nothing wrong. I have read a wonderful book on disciplining children with aspbergers and disordes as such. Its called CHILD OF RAGE  , my doctor recommended it to me, and it helps you to discipline them to the point of them understanding on their level what they have done wrong. Dr. Tayloe is a top specialists in the field and explained to me that the reason he was repeating his issues at school was because although I disciplned him at home he still did not understand that it was wrong , it was just the routine at home, He showed me that by showing him it was inappropriate behavior, and explaining consequences, and giving alternative solutions, such as he did it because he didnt get his way. You would explain you understand this upsets him, sometimes when you want to do something and others dont want to you get angry too, show them you understand, then ask them if their action gets them to their goal...answer will be no.... then instead of telling them what they should have done ask them, but dont be afraid to join the conversation with him. Children with aspbergers have a fact based way of seeing thins, like black and white. they need help learning fact based grey areas. Its like this they are never going to learn like a child without the disorder, like common smarts, and book smarts. Aspbergers kids have no common smarts about social situations, so they need to learn how to deal with them on a book smarts level.
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470168_tn?1237474845
My advice is to firstly remember that they are not doing any of this behaviour to 'annoy' you, or are acting up over 'the littliest thing'.  If you understand that they act up because to them 'it is a big thing', then you start to get a different perspective on it.
Everytime he has a tantrum have a look at the situation to see if you could have done it in a better way to have avoided that reaction.  For example if he has to stop an activity such as watching TV I try to time it so that my son has to turn it off at the end of the programme.  This is because leaving things unfinished is very difficult for those on the spectrum.  If I can't do this I use a time timer and give lots of verbal warnings eg. in 15, 10, 5 minutes time we have to leave the house.
There are also typical things that they have problems with.  Two of them you have mentioned.  The first one is being last.  They like to be first or with everyone else.  Being last seems to mean something personal to them and they don't like it.  They also find it hard to wait.  Also sharing and taking turns is something they have to be taught how to do.  
If he acts up time out in his room is a good way for him to calm down.  Don't necessarily use it as a punishment.  For example if he has got upset about something because of 'Aspergers' there is no point punishing him.  But he will need to recognise his actions were inappropriate and time out in his room to calm down.  Later you can talk it through with him and tell him what he should have done or what he did wrong.
For good behaviour you could use a token system where he gets a token every time and when he has 5 token he can chose a treat from a pre-agreed list of treats.  Tokens are not taken away as a punishment (especially if they find it hard to earn them), use time out instead.
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Avatar_f_tn
Another time a few weekends ago, my son wanted a DVD set at Walmart, but I said no. I promised him l would get it for him on Tuesday if he was good. On Tuesday, he ran over to the DVD section, but there was no sign of the DVD set he wanted. We asked a worker and he said, "Sorry, but we are all sold out of this." My son was very upset to hear this and he threw a bad tantrum in the store and everyone looked. I am concerned since he will run into more of these situations in the future. Please help.
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470168_tn?1237474845
Your son is always going to have difficulties with situations like that.  The autism in that situation is (a) you promised he could have the DVD but then it didn't happen, he won't be able to cope with that. (b) he cannot understand the concept that things are being sold all the time and that shelves become empty.  You could use something like social stories to teach about this kind of situation, but you will be doing that after the event.   Next time you are in that situation you can phone to the store before you go in.  Order it through the internet or see if you can loan it from your local library.  
I would mention the incident with his school (I presume he has professional support in school), and ask them what would be a good way of explaining these situations to him and helping him cope with it when it happens.
But, quite recently, my son had a tantrum in a supermarket cafe because the name of the food he wanted to order had been changed from fish fingers to fish nuggets.  He didn't recognise the food name and therefore didn't know what it would be and so he didn't want to order it.  He ended up on the floor crying and screaming whilst I'm stood at the till waiting to pay.  So I just said 'I'm sorry, he has autism.  He is very upset about the change in the name of the food, but he will calm down in a bit.'  I did order the food for him and he did calm down.  When the food came he ate it and we talked about how it tasted the same eventhough it had been given a different name.  
But the situation you describe will be a common problem for him.  All you can do is teach him coping strategies.  
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Avatar_f_tn
My son doesn't have actual autism he just has Asperger Syndrome. And he DID understand things being sold out but I guess he was too excited and wasn't prepared for his reaction if it was sold out. I ordered it off the internet and it came in two days. My son was very thrilled.
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637356_tn?1301928422
Asperger is a type of autism. Your child is just a high functioning autism but he is still autistic. Not saying you are doing wrong but maybe coming to cope with the fact that your son is different and reacts differently to situations will make it easier on you and him.  

My son has Asperger as well and he throws "tantrums" or what I like to call "meltdowns" over things like that as well. Don't be embarrassed over his fits. He can not help how he reacts. If people are staring let them know he has Asperger which is a form of autism and they will understand and go on their way.
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365714_tn?1292202708
I get upset over small things too. I have PDD NOS which is a lot like aspergers in many ways.

For me when someone tells me we are going out and getting something I have it set in my mind already a week in advance that I will be coming home with that item.  I can use an example from some time in the summer of this year.  Grandma and I set out a day that I was going to buy a scanner to upload my artwork onto the computer.

Since we settled on that day, I had it in my mind I will have that scanner. I visualized myself having that scanner.  I aready owned it even before I bought it. I already owned the scanner before I walked into the store.

Well I came in...  Some alarm was tripping off for some reason. Already my ears were shot... I told them to turn it off and they did. It kept coming back on...  Still I had it in my mind that I had that scanner.

When I got to the aisle I found out they didn't have what I wanted.  I did not throw a fit but I was greatly dissappointed. I felt a big let down like my world crashed on me that moment.

I did get over it by planning another time and another store to try.  But when I was younger I was less mature about handling such disappointments.  I would whine to my parents if I didn't get my "one thing"  If I didn't get that one thing that belonged to me, then I felt like the shopping trip wasn't completed.
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With your other posts, you mentioned about your son leaving later than he expected and the kite that broke. It's the SAME thing but in different form.

Once again if your son is like me he sees everything in his head well before it happens. It isn't the same as seeing the future. It is how I live day to day. I live based off what I have visualzed happening vs what really happens.

If the two match up, great.  I'm fine. My life is in order.  But if things suddenly don't occur like I thought they would then all of a sudden I'm thrown off.

This happens with relationships as well. I visualizein my mind the conflict being resolved and peace being made. I see that possibly the day after the upset... I'm learning a hard lesson that people don't work that way.  There are too many variables that I can't accurately predict what the outcome will be.

That leaves me with a feeling of uncertanty.  Right now at the moment I wonder if feeling uncertain may be one of the worst feelings to handle for people with autism.  I know for me feeling uncertain leaves me feeling panicked inside.  I feel like I took a wrong turn and nothing is familiar when I'm left with the unknown.

Your son did not expect his kite to break.  To him that shattered his view of the day. All of a sudden he can't fly his kite anymore. That likely leaves him not knowing what to do next besides cry, hold a fit and hope somehow that toher people can make it right and return his day back to how he saw it in his head.

I agree with the idea of consequences.  Cause effect leaves little room for interpetation.  That removes some of that uncertainty. That way he knows that throwing a fit is not how he is to cope with that feeling.
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