Thursday, January 13, 2011

Transitions Are a Bitch!

The earliest sign that my daughter had Asperger's was her inability to handle any type of transition. This became apparent when she was about 9 months old. I remember we would watch the birds hang out on our deck railing. As soon as they flew away, my daughter would cry because she wanted them to stay. This would grow into full-on tantrums when it was time to leave a place. I remember having to deal with her tantrums when it was time for her to leave preschool. Every. Single. Day.

Preschool was totally fun for her, so I could understand her disappointment at leaving. But she would tantrum when it was time to leave some other places that didn't always make sense. I remember when we took her to a see the school district psychologist to have her assessed for special education services. The psychologist didn't see anything "off" with my daughter during the assessment. She was about to disqualify my daughter from receiving services. Luckily, I was able to convince her to do a school observation so she could see how my daughter (didn't) interact with her peers. The psychologist was still doubtful that anything was up with my daughter, even when she started tantrumming because she did not want to leave the assessment. For whatever reason, staying and getting assessed was more appealing to my daughter than going to her swim class (which she loved).

Another "funny" place where my daughter didn't want to leave was Trader Joe's. She would carry on when I was done with my shopping and wanted to put my groceries in the car. I've heard many parents with children on the spectrum complain about how their children will tantrum because of the sensory issues--lights, crowds, and overwhelming experience. In fact, for many parents with kids on the spectrum, grocery stores are huge breeding grounds for tantrums. My daughter could handle all that. She just had too much fun at the market, particularly Trader Joe's, that she just didn't want to leave. Ever.

She still has transition issues, but thank goodness, nowhere like they were in the past! Now we can shop at Trader Joe's and leave with our heads held high and big smiles on our faces! Yay!

13 comments:

  1. I think my wife has the same problem with Macy's, Bloomingdales, Target, etc. She never seems to want to leave either. Maybe I should write her a social story.

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  2. I had the very same thing happen with Jack's assessment. They were all, "why is he here?" but the school visit by a psychologist made a huge difference!!

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  3. I thought this post was going to be about you transitioing back to work :)

    Moe does okay with little transitions like leaving a store but has trouble with the bigger ones, like school days to weekends. Routine is so important here!

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  4. Me too!! (assessment) Oh I will never forget that awful lady. She made me feel so craptastic. "He's sitting in your lap so he's obviously showing affection and he's verbal." Barely unspoken was the addition of "so you're a stupid, paranoid mother who's either attention-starved or trying to work the system." I feel like taking his diagnosis report and shoving down her snarky throat. Um. Okay so I've either got a bad case of PMS and/or I'm still working through my feelings about that experience. Apparently. =)

    I'm not usually this mean. Sorry.

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  5. Sam would get anxious without a written plan of what rides we were going to go on and in what order AT DISNEY. He had to know when trick-or-treating would end. Now that he's 19, it's a funny story.

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  6. We have similar problems here, though a lot of it is if he is seperated from me too! Jen

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  7. It gets better as they get older and they start to understand certain concepts...like how making the birds stay is not in your control :)

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  8. I knew something was going on with Tommy when he kept walking back and forth. I later learned that this was called stemming but he was my first kid so I thought, "Maybe it's just a kid thing?" Then I realized, nope, not just a kid thing.

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  9. Thanks Cheryl,Transition difficulties are so difficult for all. Often the parent/teacher/caregiver is made to feel as if they are at fault for the meltdown. It is so important to find strategies that help your child with transitions.

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  10. So glad your daughter is doing much better with transitions :)

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  11. Oh I love Trader Joe's! (I usually have a mini tantrum when I have to leave too.) Yes, my toddler tantrums at times when we have to leave, and it's so difficult to get him calm. I sure can empathize with the way you must have felt during those years. I'm so glad this isn't really a concern for you anymore!

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  12. The more I read of your dear sweet daughter's syptoms the more resolute I become to seek an assesment for Asp for my son. He is being tested for sensory processing now. How great would it be if there could be therapies available to treat his symptoms and truely help teach the skills needed, without the severe biochemical psychoneuro issues we are facing now!? We may have both, but the more insight we can get into what is going on the better right?!

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  13. Who doesn't love Trader Joes?

    Katie has these transition meltdowns, too. And she used to throw down whenever anyone would leave, too. Even random strangers. It's not as bad now, although heaven forbid something doesn't go as planned...ha...

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