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      Depression, Mental Health and Crisis Support   06/04/2017

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joybed

Best way to deal with tantrums (12 year old girl).

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joybed   

Hi my daughter Lydia doesn't have an official diagnosis but I am pretty sure she has aspergers, her two brothers are on the spectrum and she has a number of traits. She Has just had a massive meltdown, crying, sobbing, screaming throwing things (the dog and her brother both ran for cover). The reason for this she had put on a screen protector on her iPad and had got a few bubbles and dust under it. She is distraught because she has wasted money. I am aware she has hormonal changes going on right now but this was totally blown out of proportion. She has a few things going on right now,tap exam tomorrow, blood tests Tuesday to rule out juvenile arthritis and her twin brothers behaviour (ASD/ADHD) is shocking at the moment. How do you deal with this behaviour ignore it, cajole them. I have lived with ASD for 16 years but this is new to me.

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I'm no expert but my daughter has Asperger's and she had terrible tantrums at the same age.

You don't say what other problems your daughter has, but mine has problems with social skills and communication and with hindsight, I think this was exactly what the problem was.

In the same way toddlers do this because they can't cope with feeling things aren't going their way and they can't voice their distress any other way than to throw a tantrum.

I think it is as equally scary for the person who finds themselves in an explosive rage they can't contain. The way I handled it was to try to make sure she was safe and then had some time to cool down. I would ask her to unpick what happened when she got into a rage. It may be 'I lost my trainer' and I would ask her, 'how can we avoid that happening again?' and she would decide, next time, she would put her trainers where she could find them.

I've also had to suggest appropriate phrases to ask for help as she can't always think what to say. Sometimes she communicates better by text. Back then she used messenger and could send me a sad face to let me know something was wrong.

You might talk to her about minimising stress. Does she like the exams? If there are too many things going on in her head, it will only make matters worse, so discuss what makes her happy and what causes stress. It is a difficult age. Is she in first year at secondary? Is there stress there?

Whether your daughter has AS or not, I think it's good to acknowledge what stress can do to us, and how to manage it in a way she can understand.

She still texts me when she can't talk direct and she's 20 now.

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I agree with Pinenunny - it's exactly like why a toddler does it. I'm like that as well. I have communication problems and it is literally I can't express how I'm feeling.

 

But normally it's not just the one thing that you see that 'appears' to cause the meltdown. More likely it's been lots of little things and that last one just takes it too much. They could have been building up over the day or even a few weeks.

 

You most likely won't get any sensible response until she has calmed down. Though everyone is different, for me being left alone and allowing me to settle in my own time was about the only way. If there is anything that has a calming effect (even if it's something that wouldn't work for you, people on the spectrum can find the most unusual things help) then just leave it near her. She'll pick it up when she can. Once she's past the stage where she might hurt the dog, that is good one for calming people (or any pet) because they don't rely on language.

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trekster   

First of all this isn't blown out of proportion fir us. We can't communicate how were feeling at the time. Punishing a meltdown would be discrimination since its part of autism. There are some really good books out there for meltdowns.

"When my autism gets too big" is one but might be a bit young for her.

"Aspergers and adolescence"

"Aspergers syndrome and difficult moments practical solutions for tantrum rage and meltdown"

"People with autism behaving badly" (although I really dislike the term behaving badly this book is really understanding towards autustic minds).

 

Hope some of these books hekp you.

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jojoba04   

Hi, I have recently discovered my 12yr old daughter may have Asperger syndrome, although not officially diagnosed...when I think back now to her when she was small, it's the jigsaw piece that fits. I tried for years to get teachers to acknowledge or recognise that there was a little link missing, particularly in her processing. Anyway years on and this is the conclusion. She is desperately angry when she comes home from school and we have most tantrums when doing homework, homework has become a huge stress in our house. It has been quite an emotional rollercoaster this past year, it started of with her having palpitations then panic attacks then intrusive thoughts, wanting to kill herself/harm herself and thoughts of hurting me. It has been just the two of us since she was only 18 months we are so close. She has been sleeping next to me for a year now, it has been a long year!! I have been feeling really low recently and guilty for feeling emotional about her suggested diagnosis, she can walk and talk! However I've been feeling so upset by the possibility that she is impaired socially, which is showing in her friendships in school now, she has been having difficulty with keeping friends,I worry about her future, meeting boys, making good friends. She has difficulty with literacy but loves and does well at maths. The school put an individual learning plan in place in yr 8 that hadn't yet been carried over to yr 9, her English teacher was making idol threats of detention for not bringing 'l's' up to the line,not underlining, putting capital letters in the middle of sentences etc. The final straw came when my daughter came out of school massively upset because the English teacher told the class that if they hadn't got their reading up to a certain score she would be speaking to head teacher to ask if they were worthy of being at the school at all, that the school had paid thousand for the system to evaluate their reading. Mean!! I had to have words with the teacher at this stage. I called a meeting with head of year and head of SEN to discuss ways that could help my daughter improve with friendships and also help with her IEP which pin points the areas my daughter needs help and also allows her to work to a target. I managed to find out that there is a friendship club at break and lunch for children with similar social difficulties. The head of SEN completely belittled the IEP stating it's only a piece of paper and not worth anything if child doesn't put the work in, as she sat putting on her lip salve and telling me how she tells parents that want their children statemented that it doesn't change anything, the child still has difficulty. I had not once mentioned getting my daughter statemented but simply that I wanted to fix the issues that were arising now for her with friends and learning. I came away from that meeting and cried. Even if I had mentioned I wanted her statemented surely the head of SEN would be behind something that helps the child have a fair chance. I was devastated, felt unsupported, I could feel them rolling their eyes at me like I was another annoying parent wanting the best for their child! I have to say throughout this process I have never felt so alone, My family seem to be ignoring it, my mum keeps saying it's just a phase it's still my wee grand daughter, when I try to talk about my experiences with her and how challenging it can be they look at me as if I have just made it up. My daughter has always been sweet, quiet, polite, painfully shy around others even my sister her aunty whom she has known all her life! So I suppose it's hard to believe she's screaming like a banshee most nights or swearing like a trooper to me about something that's happened in school. I'm grateful that she can talk to me and let off steam with me in the safety and comfort of home, but it is exhausting. I would just love for someone to understand, and also someone to tell me that what I am feeling about the situation is the right feeling. Is it ok to be upset that my daughter may have aspergers? is it ok to seek/arrange the right support for her in school? is it ok to expect support of school and family at this stage? How can I help them understand? Sorry it's a huge ramble on...just joined this forum today!

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Oblomov   

jojoba04, although I can't advise - I've never been a parent - I'd just like to say that your daughter is very fortunate to have a mother who cares so much about her and is trying to find the right solution. If I project myself back forty-odd years to when I was 12, I can identify with aspects of your description of your daughter's behaviour. I too was "sweet, quiet, polite, painfully shy" (perhaps even more unusual for a boy) but when I got home from school I'd have terrible rages, once slamming a drawer in my bedroom desk so hard it broke. One evening I told my mother I was going to kill myself - and for a moment at least really meant it - but her reaction was merely to become very angry, taking my suicide threat as a personal insult. The trigger incidentally was my spilling ink over a new maths textbook when doing homework - though obviously there were far deeper causes underlying that. These were never investigated by my parents or anyone else.

 

Although I was academically gifted, I was a very slow worker, especially on my own, so homework was a source of great anxiety for me - a mountain to be faced every evening and one which seemed to become bigger as the schoolday wore on with two, three, four subjects being piled on, all to be done at the end of an exhausting day. In the 1970s there was no internet to consult, I was an only child and between the ages 11 and 16 I had no friends whatsoever. (I didn't even live in the same area as those in my class.) In most subjects I was always terrified of misunderstanding the question or getting everything wrong. Asperger's was virtually unknown then, at least in the UK, and there was certainly no help ever offered to me either in terms of socialising or approaches to schoolwork. As far as all the teachers were concerned, I was a very bright boy and the fact I had no friends, solitary interests and was rubbish at sports and practical subjects gave them no cause for concern.

 

I managed generally to conceal any meltdowns from the wider family, but I remember on rare occasions when they did occur aunts or grandparents would be shocked and say, "I've never seen you like this!" But there was no real attempt, as far as I know, to understand what might be wrong with me. I wasn't diagnosed with Asperger's until recently, at the age of 55 (and even then only after years of persistence on my part) and I think my life would have been a lot easier if I'd been offered the specific forms of help I needed much earlier. So if a diagnosis is available for your daughter, and she does prove to have AS, I believe you'd be doing her a great lifelong favour by allowing her to access the support which seems to be provided now - at any rate, it would be more than I ever received! If she doesn't have AS, at least you've ruled it out.

Edited by Oblomov

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jojoba04   

Hi Oblomov, thank you so very much for your gentle, kind words. It has given me some reassurance.

 

Being a parent isn't easy, by any means, but getting a little reassurance from someone who has experienced the same things as my daughter in their childhood means a lot, thank you.

 

Thank you for sharing your personal experiences.

 

I do hope that your diagnosis has allowed you to understand yourself a little better and now get you the support you may need.

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