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Thread: Trying to calm a SID child

  1. #1
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    Default Trying to calm a SID child

    My son has sensory issues. For the most part he is a great little boy. He is 4 years old. But when he has a tantrum almost nothing can calm him. I can't keep him in his room (unless I lock him in). Then if I hold the door shut to give him some time to calm down he will kick, throw things (including his lamp). He will try to hit me (does not bite anymore thank god). But how do I calm him down. Nothing really works. I tried holding him down (sit down indian style with him on my lap) he usually hates this so much that he tells me he will calm down. Sometimes he does sometimes he doesn't. But it can be a long lengthy battle and the more upset I get the worse he gets. Do you think locking him in his room would be good? Any other ideas out there!!! I was actually so frustrated the other day I put him in the shower and turned the water on. That worked but i felt really guilty after.

  2. #2
    Val. is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    I think every child is very different. This sounds strange, but still at 6 years old, my DS (who has SID) finds sucking very soothing. So, when he's out of sorts, a straw type cup works really well. I give him some water or juice and it may take him a minute to actually drink it, but once he starts sucking on the straw, his whole body relaxes, almost like a baby who starts sucking. It's very strange, but works for us. So, if water worked to calm your son, maybe a bath or shower is it for him. Or just time. I'm not a big believer in locking your kids in anywhere, but that's just me.

  3. #3
    Christine S Guest

    Default This is EXACTLY how Tobin was.

    Could not calm himself down AT ALL. And his meltdowns often resulted in him being so angry he would hit ME.

    What we did....first and foremost try to avoid meltdowns. Whether that be by keeping him informed of all possible changes, giving him a warning if he *started* to melt (there are consequences for meltdowns very well laid out prior), and often just thinking "is it worth it to do this if it will make him meltdown?" Not that we gave in a lot, but sometimes what we were asking was NOT worth the meltdown.

    Second, find appropriate outlets. I tried telling him to hit a pillow, but that wasn't effective enough. He needed more response. One day I hauled him to his bedroom and he jumped up and down on his bed like a madman and then yanked off the covers....ALL of them. I had left the room at that point but 5 minutes later he came back up calm as can be. Big lightbulb moment...he needed that deep physical outlet to let out the anger. We deemed it okay to jump on the bed for meltdowns (though if he pulls the covers off the bed, that is how he will sleep) and we found a small punching bag at Target ($15). It wasn't instantaneous, but he's learning to use these things as outlets.

    I have tried all sorts of other methods, some of which include my pinning him on the ground in the middle of Target just so he wouldn't hurt himself or anyone else (that was a BAD day), others mean me holding him tightly. At one point we were have a really bad week and I ended up pinning him on the floor at home. He was begging to be let go in between spitting in my face and I told him I'd be happy to let him go IF he would let me help him calm down. At that point he realized I was not trying to FIGHT him, I was trying to HELP him. So he relaxed enough for me to let him go and we sat there together and calmed down.

    We also made a rule that he is not allowed to have a meltdown in the public areas of our home. He must go to his room. This one was a long process to get him to understand and there were a few times I did have to hold the door closed to keep him in there. Our deal was that I would let it go if he got back on his bed instead of kicking the door or anything else. Eventually it worked and he learned. I'm not a huge fan of locking the door though....knowing how volatile he can be I'm afraid he will hurt himself if left alone in there.

    My goal in all of this is to teach HIM how to do it himself. And although we are not 100% there, we are at a point where he can often stop himself from melting down, he can use WORDS to tell me how awful I am (LOL) as he stomps his way to his room, he knows to pull out his punching bag or go jump or whatever to get out that anger.

    Tobin just turned 5 in July and it's been in the past 6-8 months that we've made such HUGE progress. Some days it feels like we just went backward again, but overall it's huge steps forward from a couple years ago.

    Good luck. This takes a lot of time and patience. And at times it's 3 steps forward, 2 steps back. But if you persevere, you can do it.

    (((hugs)))
    C

  4. #4
    peanutgallery is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Default what Val and Christine said, and

    one thing that helps my ds is to have something sour to eat. He is rejecting it now but a lemon drop actually helps to stimulate a different part of the brain and it takes some of the energy from their tantrum.

    I hate to say it but C's right, it's really time that helps. It took several YEARS for my ds to realize we were trying to help him.

    We have a trampoline now and if he's having a rough time, he has sensory equipment in his room and he'll go in there voluntarily now. But it took years.

    Showers do help but what I'd do is phrase it as a 2 choice question: Would you rather go to your bedroom to feel better/calm down, or would you like a bath/shower? (My son will always pick choice "c" btw, lol)

    Hang in there--

  5. #5
    Christine S Guest

    Default Tobin prefers spicy to sour.

    This is not something we've ever tried during a meltdown, but there are times when he just CRAVES spicy things (me too). It does give them that stimulation and therefore calms them. Definitely something to at least attempt a few times.

    And I'll 2nd the 2 choice question. You may choose to stop screaming or you may choose to scream in your room. Which one?? And if *I* choose for him then there will be consequences.

    One other thing....the time it takes for all of this to work...much of that is based on getting the right therapy, finding what works for YOUR kid, and just being consistent with it. AT the same time we saw results with what we were doing with T, we also found a therapy combo that worked for him. I can't say if it was what WE did or what therapy did or just age...but the combination has been working.

    C

  6. #6
    Val. is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Tanner likes sour too. Forgot about that one. SIDs kids tend to like strong flavors (sour, spicy, salty).

    Christine has some great ideas. Tonight was the first time we had a meltdown in a LONG time. Four years old was peak for us, though.

  7. #7
    sugarsue is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Default When we were in the height of our SID

    reactions with Sierra (who was EXACTLY as you describe too) I stopped reacting to the tantrum for a while and would just get up, get a popcicle and hand it to her. Often times, the tantrum would completely stop. I worried that this would make her think she can have a tantrum to have a popcicle or something but we never had that problem. I think since it was a sensory tantrum she just really needed it.

    Other things that worked, wrap up in a blanket really tight, slowly pushing/rocking against her body, have her jump on the trampoline, I think you already got most of my other ideas from the other posters!

    I agree with what you said about the more upset you get, the more upset he gets. If you can (and I know it's almost impossible), try to stay calm yourself.

    HUGS!

    Susan

  8. #8
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    Default Thank you for the responses... more ??

    I'm going to try what you all suggested. It's a learning curve I guess trying to figure out what works for your individual child. So do you think this is a 4 year old thing? He had tantrums before but nothing quite like this up until 2 or so weeks ago. but then again when he turned 4 we took the pacifier away and that used to help. Also, when we are with a lot of people he has a hard time playing nice. He hits and wrestles with everyone. I am constantly saying Jared stop hitting. Jared play nice..... This happened back in January for about 2 to 3 weeks and now it's happening again. I wonder if it's the changes in his life. Back in January we changed daycare (quickly switched back. What a mess). Now he just started back to school but he also did summer preschool so I wouldn't figure it was such a transition. Ugh it's so hard to figure this all out. sorry about the rambling, just trying to figure things out. :

    Maybe I should go back to see his behavorist again.

  9. #9
    Christine S Guest

    Default I think you party answered your own question....

    In that the pacifier used to help. Maybe you can find another oral soother that will work.

    Also, with the groups of people he's likely getting overstimulated. His defense for that would be hitting.

    And with the start of preschool, even though it doesn't seem like it would be such a big transition, for our little guys it really is. If just ONE thing is different it can throw them off.

    Sometimes just the awareness of what is setting them off can help.

    And seeing his behaviorist isn't a bad idea! I'm sure you'll get better info that what we can give you.

    C

  10. #10
    LL2 is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Default

    In our case, only one thing helps and that's to make sure DD is safe and go about our business. In her case, it seems that efforts to comfort her are just piling MORE stimulation/pressure/etc. onto her and it gets even worse. What we have found is if we stay nearby, but start talking about other things, especially things she is interested in - but NEVER addressing her directly, she gradually calms down and starts to rejoin the situation and asks for what she needs (when before, she would outright reject suggestions about bouncing, swining, etc.).

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