Friday, October 29, 2010

Mood Swings

My son has autism.  He speaks, so he can usually tell me what's going on.  He can let me know when he is sad, happy, angry, tired, frustrated, hungry, ill, and a few others.  To most parents who don't have children with autism this is good enough.  As his mom, this is not enough and not clear...and is still not a indication of what is actually happening to him on the inside.

Puppy goes through mood swings for the most part of the day, everyday.  There's no way to know when it's going to happen.  Sure, with time I am now able to determine through his facial expressions when he shows disapproval and this may lead to a mood swing, but I can't be staring at this his face 24/7.

Why does this become a topic for a blog?  Mood swings are a big part of our day, Puppy's mostly.  Not to be mistaken with a tantrum; mood swings by my definition are when Puppy gets angry without reason.   It is usually triggered during conversation, but not always. It can simply take a look from someone else, or even a memory.  This causes him to talk loudly, talk back, hit whatever object is in front of him, walk away in anger, isolate himself, etc.  Tantrums are much worse...he will cause injury to himself, punch someone, break objects, slam doors, break windows, throw an object across the room, cause reason for restraining, etc. 

You may be thinking that if the above is the bad side of a mood swing, there has to be a good side, too.  There is.  We enjoy going out whether it be to restaurants or to visit family, and so forth.  Puppy knows that to be able to continue these trips out of the home, he needs to control himself.  He's getting much better at it and we love to take him out as a privilege for good behavior.  There is just so much to add to this last sentence that it will require another posting. I'll get back to the good behavior soon.

I am baffled by all that I still do not know. I try to read at least one new article everyday, but sometimes I can squeeze in about five if I'm lucky.  So what am I searching for these days?  I'm searching for ways to re-direct Puppy, ways to prevent a mood swing or a tantrum.  Can it be done?  We have had some successes, however sometimes he is able to remember what he was doing earlier and we are back at square one.  We, my family, his teacher and aides--are trying really hard, but we won't give up.