Friday, January 2, 2009
Anger issues are pretty common with autistic kids. Due to their inner anxieties and not understanding social 'rules', they can become rigid, inflexible, controlling and angry. This is what they use as a buffer to keep the big, bad, scary world from invading their world.
Pooh tends to have problems with this in phases. I haven't ever been able to pin down any specific time/reason for it. Currently, his phases are a couple of normal days and then a couple of grouchy/angry days. (Right now, my mood is swinging right along with him unfortunately which can make for one irritated mommy.) We use homeopathy with him and this can help him in many ways but it doesn't take it completely away. Pooh has never been on meds and I hope to keep him off of them.
I wanted to share this site for anyone who may benefit from it. I have been looking it over and it seems to have some helpful tips. In the For Kids section, there are little slide shows with audio that show some different coping skills and it has the children actually act them out while watching. It's something you'd want to do with your child. I did it with Pooh yesterday and he seemed to enjoy and get it.
I want to work on him accepting responsibility for his anger. The Teacher section has several articles that I'm looking over to help me help him. When he's angry, it's 'all our fault'. He has issues with us 'bossing him around'. Although he knows he's the child, that obedience is required, etc. he still acts out when we have him do/not do something. It's unknown what will set him off. You can tell him 'no' about one thing without a complaint, yet tell him 'no' about something else and he flips out.
A current example is a candy example. We were at someone's house who leaves candy out for when the kids come over. All of a sudden Pooh asks me if he can have a certain candy. I looked at him and knew he already eaten at least one so I asked him. He had eaten two. I told him "no, you already had enough for today." That set him off. He was mad about it for about 2 hours. Now, he's learned not to hit me or anything. However, he'll come at me with hands raised, growl, cry, whine, stomp his feet, slam doors and just generally be rude, disrespectful and obnoxious. Once he's there, there's no reasoning with him (unless you give him what he wants). I just have to remain calm, reiterate the rules, make sure he doesn't hurt others or anything and keep it to a low roar instead of a dino roar. ;D
I've tried teasing him out of it, fake crying (not always convenient in a crowd), being very stern and I'm sure several other things I can't think of right now. It just doesn't help. It makes him more angry.
So with the help of the articles from this site, I'm going to try teaching him more responsibility in dealing with it. I'll be there to help, of course, but only he can use the tools to calm down. I've tried the counting to ten and deep breathing before but he doesn't want to hear about it in the middle of his tantrum. To thwart that, we're going to watch the slide shows a couple more times, practice when calm, use the positive wording recommended ("I'm a good boy even when I'm angry") and maybe that will help. They also teach them places to tap while they use the positive phrasing that seems to be targeting the acupuncture points. I'll try anything. LOL
Frankly, right now I'm tired of dealing with the demanding nature of his anger. It's a "if you don't do what I want, I'll make you sorry/miserable" kind of thing. It works. But I'm not giving in. I may need an escape now and then. I may need to cry. I may need to step back and reroute our course. But he's not going to win by bullying us into being scared of making him angry. I want to help him, but he has to do the work too.
I'm sure you see the whole host of emotions that runs through me in all of this. It's par for the course when you're the caregiver of a special needs child. I'm sure they'll be more to come. This is what's on my mind now. In any given day, I can go from being very proud of him and what he's been able to accomplish to be sick and tired of being around him.
King and I watched the old Bill Cosby Himself video last night. I think I might need to do that more often. ;D
Proud Day! His first bible reading in the congregation.