New to Group/ Needing advice on public outings — The Bump
Special Needs

New to Group/ Needing advice on public outings

Good Morning

I am a mommy of a 3.5 year Asperger's little boy. I kind of just jumped in on some of the other posts but never really introduced myself :

We have been seeking help with our son for amost almost 2 years now. First just for simple dev delay until we put him into school then had to remove him after 3 months due to his "quirks" and some behavior problems. Lots of test laters and evaluations we have learned what we that were just quirks were actually all combined together.
Its really great to be able to find a group of moms that will understand, have more experience, advice, and will get when I get excited for what others see as a "minor" accomplishment.

I do need advice as a mom I am struggling when I go on an outing with my youngster. A lot of times we have his "meltdowns" and deal with strangers glares of can you control your child or those trying to tell us what we need to be doing. I usually promptly leave wherever we are but sometimes its simply not that easy. Another situation I struggle with is when I attempt to take our son to a play place like at mc donalds he desperatly tries to play with other children, but he is extremely loud and doesn't understand personal space. I try to redirect him and help him still enjoy this play time but the other children start calling him weird or other names and their moms just sit there like it is ok for their children to act this way. As I struggle to find away to redirect and teach him ways for him to enjoy himself without bombarding others. I feel like I am doing the best I can but wish other parents would intervene on their childs bad behavior.
I usually end up leaving and this starts a meltdown because my son just wants to play.

Am I being over protective, taking to much to heart? And advice? Please, Please and Thank you.

Re: New to Group/ Needing advice on public outings

  • I understand what you are saying about McDonald's outings. If the other kids call my son names or say he's weird b/c he won't talk to them (he's non verbal) I have no problems gentley telling them that he doesn't talk yet, or that this is how he plays. If he is doing something inappropriate - being in another kids space etc. I tell him he needs to back off and try to teach him how to behave.

     As for the tantrums, my son doesn't tantrum, but he used to do major hand flapping when it was time to check out, b/c he loves the conveyor belt, and I used to get weird looks. It hurt. If he ever does start to tantrum on a regular basis I plan to out together a business sized card that says something like "I have autism. Please bear with me"  I think I saw this idea on the autism speaks website and loved it!

    On another note, is this your first kid? If so, I'd like to tell you that I have had more issues in public with my older son than my younger with Fragile X, autism and ADHD!!!!! So, those people who give you dirty looks just need to get over themselves. :)

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  • Thanks, I agree about others backing off especially those that do not have children trying to me what to do.

    I may try the card thing too as I am trying to teach him about being aware of personal space and he will step back but almost forgets instantly. The meltdowns are the hardest to deal with. He is my first kiddo but I have 3 younger brothers that I am 6 12 and 15 years older than so I have dealt with tantrums and they phased out of course after a consequence. This isn't working with our son though. :

    Thanks again

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  • I have no advice on how to deal with the other children on your outings, but I did want to share my perspective about his acting out/tantruming in public.  My situation is a bit different, because my son is not autistic, but I have worked with many autistic children (as their ski instructor), and I think this holds true for both.

    In my experience, there are two types of tantrums.  The first is when the child doesn't like something you've asked them to do or not do, and throws a tantrum to get you to give into what they want.  The second is when a child is just overstimulated/stressed-out/can't cope, and doesn't have any other way of expressing his feelings.  The most freeing thing for me was realizing that the tantrum/behavior had very little to do with me, wasn't a reflection on me, and (while I would want to minimize the distraction to other people) didn't have to make me feel bad/sad/upset.  It's a process that the child chose to or had to experience, given the situation.

    When a child tantrums because they are trying to control what you do, they are hoping to make you so uncomfortable/embarrassed, that you give into them to spare yourself the scene or discomfort.  If you realize this, you don't have to let it affect you.  I once let my son wear his button down shirt inside-out to church and through the whole service without commenting on it, because he was protesting going at all.  He was hoping I'd be too embarrassed to let him be seen like that, and the ensuing fight/struggle would result in us missing church.

    Around the time that I realized that he's just trying to see what he can get away with, I discovered that I don't have to be emotionally affected by his bad behavior.  It really has become the cornerstone of my parenting.  I will always be affected by his real emotions, but not by his behaviors when he is trying to manipulate me.  And I won't be embarrassed by his behavior.  That's on him.  I have actively decided that others can judge me all they want, but they don't know the challenges we're dealing with, and as long as I know I'm doing right by my boys, what others see in their current behavior doesn't bother me at all.

    For the second kind of tantrum, the ones where the child is really just melting down not out of choice but in response to outside stimuli, all I want to do is keep them safe and make them feel loved.  If that means holding them--great.  Standing away but talking to them in soothing tones--awesome. Letting them cry themselves into a slumber--whatever works best for them.  Again, I don't care what anyone thinks in this situation, because my concern is on my kid's needs, and he clearly is past his coping point.  That doesn't mean I don't try to keep him from being disrespectful in his tantrum, but in my experience, this type of meltdown usually isn't coupled with aggression, as its literally just the body giving in to all it's stresses.

    So, the short of what I'm trying to say is that it helped me immensely to separate my emotions from my son's behavior.  By doing so, it enabled me to do my best parenting and stick to my guns even when he was trying to emotionally control me and it made me able to really put his needs before any other concerns when he really needed me.

  • Captian Serious I have been able to determine between tantrums being either described as 1 or 2. We struggle with both, but tantrum 2 I are biggest concern on how to react. Because everything we try seems to make it worse unless we just let it play itself out. Kind of like what you said, in falling asleep/wearing himself out.


    We don't have anything in place yet because we are in the "ok now what" stage of what do we need to be doing. There is so much information to be researched that I feel over inidated at the moment with this all being so new to our family.

    The Pediatrician and Nuerologist wants him in our school districts PPCD program. This is a program set up to provide needed therapies or plans in a preschool setting to help parents and kiddos. We are currently in the process of enrolling/applying for this.

    Other than that the neurologist wanted to prescribe Respirdal to help with the "meltdowns".... not sure what's best.

    I will def be looking at the resources you provided.

    Thank you both :
  • We are trying to get a scholarship for ABA thereapies/school. Our insurance doesn't cover any of it and we are struggling to find ways of covering costs out of pocket.

    His meltdowns are multiple times a day. Can last between 10 minutes and hour twenty minutes. Mostly a lot of screaming, crying, and he throws himself into walls, hits himself, and occasionally has hit at my husband and I though at us is not regular that is more if we are tying too hard I guess at calming him down.
    It can be initiated because its something new or too much. Example I messed up and tried taking him to RainForest Cafe. We couldn't even make it through the entry. And he LOVES animals. Or as simple as his food touching on his plate or not the right type of food he has food sensory problem

    I would prefer no medication, BUT we have already had to remove him from preschool because of these meltdowns by pediatrician recommendation. If it would help him be calmer in order to benefit from therapy and school then I can see the plus side. But I just want to try my best to find another solution. His daddy and I are still discussing the pros cons and such.

  • I'm so sorry you're going through this. That sounds incredibly hard. 

    I was going to ask if you do anything OT-related to help him calm, like deep pressure/joint massage, weighted vest, etc., but that seems like a minor recommendation for what you're dealing with. :(  

    I thought I'd put it out there anyway, as a suggestion if he'll allow physical contact, or a weighted vest or compression shirt if he will not. It's possible the vest or shirt might at least take the edge off or help him feel more grounded so that things perhaps wouldn't escalate as often. It could at least be worth a try. 

    My DD1 with ASD could take or leave it, but I've found that my NT DD2 really does respond well to joint compression during tantrums, or proprioceptive pressure like having her push her feet against my hands. 


    DD1, 1/5/2008 ~~~ DD2, 3/17/2010
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