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Unexpected meltdowns
  • LuLu
    Posts: 11
    Hi, this is all new to me, so please be patient.

    We have a 5.5 year old daughter, whom I have been worried about since before she was 2. At the moment, she is in kindergarten and doing very well academically and kind of ok socially.

    Our main problems are the "defiance" and outbursts at home and with us generally, the avoidance strategies etc etc over seemingly minor things.

    We have seen a few professionals over the years, but are still undiagnosed. After researching, I strongly believe she has PDA.

    I just wanted to ask about a behaviour that occurred last night, with similar happening at other times. Lu had been in the bath for ages, happy and singing. I had set the Time Timer for when she had to get out, which she did no problem (a win there). Whilst she was drying off (another usual issue) and getting her pj's on, I was out in the kitchen sorting out dinner. As part of that we were having mashed potatoes, which Lu loves.

    Just as I finished mashing, Lu came out to the kitchen and saw what I was up to. She decided then and there that she had wanted to mash the potatoes. She wouldn't normally do it. I calmly said that I hadn't known as she hadn't told me. She lost the plot....sitting only lap, crying, tears, hugging me tight, repeating lots of times that it was too late now, could I throw them out and start again. This went on for 30 mins. She was nearly making herself sick. We tried to tell her I had done a bad job and they were still lumpy so she could finish them off (NO), tried to get her to serve it onto the plates (NO). After 30 mins, got her calm enough to sit at the table. She cried on and off during dinner and the only thing she would eat was the mash !!!! Go figure !!

    Is this kind of upset "normal" for a PDA child, ie. getting upset about not doing something, that you didn't know they wanted to do in the first place???

    Sheesh, this is hard work. Lucky we love them :x
  • Mrsb
    Posts: 38
    I'm new to this too so am no expert but yes we've had episodes like you describe. It's so hard, we're not mind readers. Sounds like you handled it well.
  • LuLu
    Posts: 11
    Hi Mrsb, thanks for the reply. Sounds like we are both as confused as each other. I struggle to work out what behaviour is just naughty 5 year old pushing the boundaries and what is PDA related. Surely a PDA kid can just have some regular 5 yearvbold moments too!!!
  • Elaine
    Posts: 75

    My son who is 12 is prone to this as well. Sometimes he'll say something out loud and then when I comment he'll seem really suprised as he doesn't realise he's spoken out, conversely, he'll often tell me I should know what he wants as he's told me a million times already but this will be the first time I've heard him mention it. I'm trying to come to grips with this myself and have given up the arguements that go along the line of: "If I had known you wanted sweet and sour for dinner I would have told you that we'll have to have it tomorrow as today I don't have chicken....." Although M is very debative, if he thinks he has told me something already then he will NEVER shift his point of view and this leads to more stress. We have these issues over money, expectations over where we go if we go out so I have to try to keep records and anticipate what he wants but like your mashing tatties episode it just comes out of the blue sometimes. I suspect when that happens it's something that has been on their mind for a while but they don't realise that we don't have that information. Sometimes I use my phone to record conversations of agreed plans but that doesn't help when he goes back on the deal, HIS perrogative, but heaven help me if I have to go back on the deal, aaaggghhh.

    PDA children are very manipulative and are better than other autistic kids at working out what other people are thinking but my experience is that they get blinkered to this when it's their needs that are uppermost. M's sense of fair play and injustice are always to his advantage he doesn't seem to care when others are disadvantaged unless he is a third party and impartial.
  • eljesfi
    Posts: 6
    I completely remember this sort of thing happening to us when i was small. I am a pda adult now. I feel so sorry to mummys who are having this happen. I can just imagine that potato situation occurring in our house. I will explain why I would have behaved like that. I would have got out of the bath to find something going on that i had not expected or had wanted to do myself. Probably i wanted to do it to be helpful. But then oh no, poor mummy had to do it because I wasn't around, I would have felt so guilty and demandy/responsible. Then mummy and daddy try to be kind to help me, and i feel so much love but also guilt because of how difficult i make everyone's lives! Then more crying! The frustration of not being able to understand why no one knows what i am thinking is huge, i get so confused about why people don't know what i know! More melting down.
    I hope this makes sense.
  • eljesfi
    Posts: 6
    To add to this, if I felt someone had ever been upset about doing a task i would always try to take responsibility for it, forfexampl if a parent stubbed their toe hoovering and cried and said something like 'I hate hoovering' i would always get very upset about that person hoovering in future and I would feel super responsible for theirtsuffering because I hadnth done anything to help them. I might then try to stop them hoovering or even try to take over even though there's no way my sensory problems could handle hoovering!! I wonder if anyone in your house ever expressed not liking making the mashed potato, or ever got upset or sad or angry or frustrated about having to cook the food? That's just the sort of thing no one else remembers but it bores indelibly into an autistic mind, or can do.
  • SGCmum
    Posts: 84
    It is realy useful having insight from someone who has experienced these things as a child. We're all trying to understand our children and this helps a lot. Certainly I think the thing about the kids having something in their heads that we're not aware of makes sense. My daughter recently was very upset when she asked if we could keep ducks and I said no. She had been thinking about it for ages and was really surprised that I didn't say yes, which was the scenario she had imagined.

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