• Understanding Autism from the Inside

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Holy Violent Temper Tantrums Batman! The Tot is Out of Control.

Pirate Tommy

So tell me someone please…how does this beautiful loving pirate face turn into the violent Tantrum Tot from hell?  And, when did this happen exactly?

Tantrum Tot has been nicknamed that for a reason; he has always been the head banging tantrum kid but things lately have gotten worse. The situation with the Tot seems to be escalating to the point where I am not sure of how to handle him most days.  He seems to lose his temper (and his control) at the drop of a dime, which very quickly escalates into a full blown meltdown.

What appears to be happening is that he has a tantrum (to get his own way, or because he is told “No” to something he wants) but gets himself so worked up that a meltdown (which is impossible to control or stop) ensures.  It has been a vicious cycle culminating with him becoming more and more aggressive. He now runs after everyone he is mad at and starts to hit!  There is no calming him down either–he bangs his head, kicks the doors, broke through the lock on the bedroom door, tried to pull the latch off the front door, and throws things.

This morning the Tot woke about 5 a.m. and was well behaved until Hubby had to leave for work, which started his madness.  From 6:15 until 7:20 without taking a breath he flipped out screaming because Daddy went to work.  He rammed his way into the bedroom and starting throwing things at me while screaming, “Daddy come back,” at the windows.  He freaks out like this often, but lately (especially with the newborn baby in his path) I am becoming increasingly concerned.

As you may already know, apparently with the new DSM-5 guidelines and the fact that the Tot had an awesome day and LOVED playing with the psychologist during his evaluation, he no longer fits the diagnostic criteria for autism.  Instead he was given a diagnosis of developmental delay (which I do not think is a real diagnosis at all), severe expressive speech delay, moderate expressive speech delay and here goes the biggy…Distruptive Behavior Disorder/ Opposition Defiance Disorder (ODD)–but NOT ASD!  (To which I say, “My ASS perger’s!” So here we go again with the handful of different diagnoses, all of which ASD explains, but they do not put them under that one category.  Where have I seen this before??? Hummm…let me think.

Three doctors and the head of his daycare referred him for early intervention services.  During his doctor’s appointment last week, his pediatrician watched him running in circles around the office and nurses stations and the beginnings of a meltdown that Hubby and I were desperately trying to head-off. He told me that I  need to have him re-evaluated!  Yes, that was my thoughts too!

Now if you want to get an idea of what even doctors think when it comes to Asperger’s Syndrome, and High Functioning Autism (HFA) what the doctor said to  me about the changes in the DSM- 5 next says it all.  He told me that they no longer worry about high-functioning autism or Asperger’s anymore because it just isn’t worth worrying about,

“after all Bill Gates has Asperger’s and look at how well he is doing!”

Really? Are you kidding me?  There you have it folks, anything other than classic autism is just not worth worrying about and that is why the DSM-5 was changed to eliminate Asperger’s.–straight from the Tot’s pediatrician’s mouth.  So does this mean he still believes that the Tot has an autism spectrum disorder since he suggested he be re-evaluated?

I’ve had many challenges with my children of that there is no doubt, but I have not had one that was this aggressive.  What do you do when you cannot spank, and time-out’s do not work…in fact, when nothing you do seem to do works? I am worried about him, and am missing my loving snugly Tot.


UPDATE: Finally got through to BabyNet (for early intervention services) and have an appointment in early October for an intake evaluation.  Let’s see how that goes…

Jeannie Davide-Rivera

Jeannie is an award-winning author, the Answers.com Autism Category Expert, contributes to Autism Parenting Magazine, and the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. She lives in New York with her husband and four sons, on the autism spectrum.