Question about Asperger's and tantrums

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-15-2004
Question about Asperger's and tantrums
Fri, 10-15-2004 - 7:25pm

I am new here. My four year old son has recently been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. I am researching all I can and trying to learn about this. He's been evaluated at the school system near our home, and they will recommend a pre-school for him next month (moving soooo slowly).

My question is about tantrums. He just seems to tantrum for almost any reason, with no or very little warning. It doesn't seem to build up at all, just goes from 0 to 60. His tantrums are very violent.

He actually has two kinds of tantrums.

Type 1: The kind I would expect from a 2-3 year old. He will get mad and yell, kick, and hit. Eventually, he'll calm down.

Type 2: Hard to even call a tantrum, I just don't know what to call it. He will get angry at something, like bed time. He starts laughing a very manic laugh, and then starts hitting me. If I walk away from him at all, he will follow me, hitting me and laughing the whole time. It's very disturbing that he is laughing during all this.

I'm wondering if any of this is Asperger's related, or if we are looking at something else.

Thanks so much,


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-28-2003
Thu, 01-27-2005 - 12:50pm


I don't know if you have looked into biomedical interventions but this kind of behavior is very typical of kids on the spectrum who have inbalances in gut flora. Often treating this condition eliminates this behavior.

My son displays the very same behavior when he has an overgrowth of intestinal yeast. The yeast produce by-products that effect the brain and cause a drunken-like behavior. Biomedical interventions can make a huge difference for these kids, especially now that there is a better understanding of what's going on biologically with these kids...much of it is treatable.

My son has made a complete recovery and no longer has PDD or any autistic characteristics but we have to stay on top of his health issues, including problems with yeast. E-mail me if you want more information.


iVillage Member
Registered: 01-11-2005
Wed, 01-12-2005 - 8:00pm

My 4 year old (just turned 4) is not my Aspergers child and she does the same thing. It IS freaky. We joke privatly that she's possessed but honestly sometimes we wonder!!
You are not alone!! I think my Aspergers kid (11) is going to be my easy one!!


iVillage Member
Registered: 11-08-2004
Mon, 11-08-2004 - 11:02pm
Hi, my son has uncontrollable tantrums too. He'll be 4 in January. I'd say, unless you can get him some Occupational therapy, or maybe if you're lucky, a Skills Trainer, you can teach him to cope with what he's feeling. This'll help a lot. Most of the time, their tantrums are not only their way of telling you how they're feeling, but it could be sensory overload too. Too many things going on at once. Say, your at home, and the t.v. is on, he's playing with legos, the birds are chirping outside, the traffic from the highway slightly echoes into the background noise, and your neighbor is mowing the lawn, these are all things that play into autistic kids senses. Smell, sounds, even the smallest changes in their environment, can cause them to go into sensory overload. Remember, that they are more sensitive to things than we are. We learn, from the time we are babies to drown out the background noise and only pick up on the things that are affecting our activity that is happening at that moment, Aut kids on the other hand, because their brains are wired differently, their senses pick up everything. People think that nothing gets in, but it's the complete opposite. Everything gets in.

It might help alot to put him on a schedule or routine. A lot of my friends w/ autistic children have used picture schedule. Not because maybe their child can't talk, but because you have to remember that Auts are visual people. They see things and understand things better in pictures. My son has a picture board that i made using a magnetic dry/erase board, that I put strips of velcro on vertically. I use flashcards w/velcro on the back to line up and show him by occurence what will happen in his day next. You'd be amazed that once they get the hang of it, it's kinda like playing a game w/him. When the task is completed,(for example: toileting, wash hands, change clothes, eat breakfast, brush teeth, etc), he gets to pull the card off the board and put in a "finished" box that I taped to the bottom of the board. This helps him not only keep his routine, but allows him to transition more easily from activity to activity. When we take him out, I've even made a small book (a 3x5 index card mini binder) that has velcro attatched to each page of the book and mini flashcards in it that shows him what's going to happen next or where we might be going (i.e. restaurant, dentist, doctor, mall, etc.) This is great cause you can change the cards if something during your outing changes, and you can show him the book each time you get into the car and he'll know what to expect. I hope this wasn't too much of a novel, but i'd like to help. Email me if you need more ideas or just an ear. Tantrums are norm everyday in our house, so I understand completely where you're coming from. Breathe in, breathe out. And sometimes a good cry helps too. Well sometimes it does anyway. Take Care! Christine, little Sage's mom
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2003
Sun, 10-17-2004 - 10:56am
Hi Cindy:

My son is 4years old as well and has just recently been diagnosed. I have had a lot of sucess with implementing a picture and word schedule. My son has a big sight reading vocaband loves words so the word/picture schedule fit right in to his abilities. We use a schedule for morining and night time ritual activities (i.e., pee pee time, wash hands, brush teeth, etc.) He enjoys reading the schedule and it gives him a heads up on what's going to happen next. It's hard sometimes, but giving them a heads-up actually works wonders with tantrums

I hope this helps


iVillage Member
Registered: 10-03-2004
Sat, 10-16-2004 - 11:15pm
Dear Cindy,

I think if you scout about the boards here, you will find more posts about this -- but definitely the tantrums are part of Asperger's and other spectrum kids. Your child sounds very typical (for one of our kids)!! Having difficulties reading non-verbal cues means that things are constantly happening aroung them that they don't understand or expect. The world says one thing, means or does another or many others, and then reacts if you are not following it all and understanding. Those of us who don't have this lack have a hard time understanding.

Big emotions can disconnect them from their bodies. I bet the laughing is anxiety release rather than "real laughing". The manic you describe probably means that this particular sound feels good to him when he's very angry at you. The hitting actually helps them feel their bodies, some kids also bite 'cuz they get so much extra sensation through their mouths and extra sensation is actually soothing when you are upset and losing sensation of where your body is in space.

Sudden changes, even in something that might seem so small to us, creates great anxiety in children with trouble interpreting what is going on around them from moment to moment. Sensory information can also be being scrambled, sounds too loud or soft, too many other people's energy interfering. Tantrums aren't for no reason, but it may be hard to see the trigger and your child may not be able to know or express the trouble as well. And to them, whatever has set them off feels completely overwhelming, dangerous, painful and chaotic to degrees we don't experience.

Tantrums are hard to deal with, but my experience is that at first, steps must be taken to try to calm the child, fix the environment. Even just keep them in safe space without judgment so they can calm down. As you learn more about your child, how to help will become clearer. After 4 years work, my son (age 7) can now be very involved in ways to calm himself -- ie. I'll say (w/ firm humour) "Don't go there, mister", and he'll catch himself -- and is sometimes even able to avoid the meltdown using his own techniques all by himself! Therapies will definitely help, even quickly. It's a journey you are just starting, and how to work with and help you child through tantruming into coping is part of the journey.

Good luck to you. There are many experienced parents here at these boards to help and encourage you. And, with time and work, this will all get better.