Today I took him & his sister to the mall to get some school clothes for her. He already got his school clothes. On the way to the mall, he started asking for a toy at the mall. I said no. He kept asking, asked a hundred different ways, whined all of his usual whines "That's not fair! Why is it always fair for you and not fair for me!" (These are practically verbal stims they are so rote.) And, an interesting remark "If I don't get a toy today, I'll never get another toy again!" I tried to show him how that wasn't true, but he was getting more and more upset and worked up, crying, panting, just all in a lather about it. His 4 year old sister thank goodness was being very subdued and I think actually felt sorry for him because he was so upset. I told him we could pick out a toy to put in his treasure chest (he gets to pick a toy from a treasure chest for a certain number of clean and dry -- yep, it's still an issue, especially if he doesn't get his fiber supplement) days, or for eating his food for a certain number of days (yup, we have to bribe him to eat, he hates to eat). However that wasn't good enough for him. He couldn't deal with not picking out a toy at the mall for himself to have right then.
By the time we got in the mall and he was still upset, whining and crying, I was pretty fed up. I felt like smacking him (which I would never do). I fantasized about smacking him and wondered how he would react. I had long since told him if he didn't stop, he wouldn't even get to pick out a toy for his treasure chest (prize supply) -- and, sure enough, after warnings, he didn't stop, and I told him OK, no treasure chest toy even. He was just inconsolable.
Somehow he let me realize that the need to get a toy had gotten stuck in his head (like a song gets stuck in your head) and he couldn't get it out. I felt sorry for him. I thought about what it must be like to be him, and remembered he wasn't doing it on purpose, it was the autism. Then I told him we could spin the idea out of his head and I picked him up and spun him around a lot and that actually helped! He felt better after! I imagined what I would say if someone came up to me in Old Navy and told me I couldn't spin a child in there -- I was going to calmly say "He has autism, this is how I calm him down." I mean, what could they really say to that?
Anyway, I wasn't sure I could tell this tale on an Autism board, so I told it here, hoping you all could relate. Do you have kids who perseverate and go on and on about things because an idea gets "stuck" in their head and they can't get it out? I am now sufficiently worked up about this concept that I am going to look up ideas for getting "stuck songs" out of heads! I'll let ya know what I find! I actually read something about that once and flashed on it when I realized today what was happening to my son. I think you're supposed to do something to shake yourself up to get a song out of your head -- so I'm hoping it would work for a spectrum child with a stuck idea as well.
I'm always on the lookout for things I can teach my son so he can calm and center himself when he gets upset because of the effects of his autism. He gets SO inconsolable and so worked up. Any and all ideas for getting kids "un-stuck" would be greatly appreciated.