Autism & Asperger's Syndrome Forum
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what would you suggest??

hello, my child was diagnosed at 3 with severe verbal dyspraxia, which have all the signs of autism, they were not sure if he had it or not but with all the dr's and therapists and things they have come to the conclusion it's not autism.
He attends a preschool, that is a more special needs preschool like kids that need speech or OT therapy or special ed. But the teachers are excellent and of very great help.My son is having problems with anxiety well the teachers think it's that but i'm not sure and they are not sure, he sees a child pyschologist but he has not seen our son in action, basically he is very repaticious with things and when something sets him off he goes into a full blown tantrum, like trying to hurt himself mostly or throwing things at teachers or other kids.He takes  a few minutes to calm down, but after the tantrum he needs to be loved and cuddled by the teachers, he doesn't do it as much at home and when he does it's mostly with mom. I am the only parent i know of out of friends with kids that are dealing with this situation, it's very hard explaining things to other friends or grandparents because he always a sweetheart with them other then the normal 4 year old behaviors like not getting his way! i'm just curious if there is any suggestions you might have on this, we are going back to a different child developmental specialist and might have some different therapy with him, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated
thank you, angel
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Autism is characterized by language delays, delays in social development, and the presence of repetitive behavior (e.g., rocking, need to have things the same). I am glad that your son is in a school that you like and that he is receiving speech services. If you or his teachers are noticing repetitive behavior or social difficulties, I recommend that you have your son reevaluated by a professional with experience diagnosing autism spectrum disorders.

It would be useful to work with a professional who could help develop a behavior plan to decrease your son's tantrums. The website of the behavior analysis certification board (www.bacb.com) has a list of certified professionals by state. Like any other developmental or behavioral issues, it will be important to address this problem as early as you can so the your son can meet his full potential.

The general strategy is to teach your son that tantrums are not the way to "get his way." Effective interventions generally consist of two components. First, it is important that tantrums do not result in any improvement. For example, you mention that teachers provide affection after a tantrum. If he enjoys this affection, this practice may actually increase tantrums. I recommend that you work with a qualified professional and your son's school to identify a consistent way to respond to his tantrums that is unlikely to reward tantrums. For example, it can be effective to remove young children briefly from ongoing activities (e.g., have him sit in a quiet area of the classroom). Minimize attention to the tantrum while protecting the child and his peers. When he is calm, simply return him to the ongoing activity.

This strategy will be effective only if your son has more appropriate ways to communicate what he wants. Speech therapy will help with this. Also, adults should try to honor his appropriate requests for attention and preferred activities as much as possible (and within reason). Also, provide attention or other rewards when he is engaging in other appropriate behavior such as playing with peers. If he enjoys cuddling, adults should make time for this when he is behaving appropriately and avoid cuddling him after tantrums.

These are the general strategies. A behavior analyst will be able to help to you adapt these strategies to your son's individual needs and preferences. It sounds like your son is a warm likeable child who will do well with some additional support.
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