Are temper tantrums a sign of Autism?

Friday, February 22, 2013

My 19-month old is a lot harder to manage than my 3-year old was at that age.  My 3-year old was a breeze.  Thank GAWWDD..because when she was 19-months old, her little sister was a 2-month old newborn Baaabbyyyy.  I needed all the help I could get, even if it came from a very well-mannered toddler.

Temper tantrums are a whole new territory for me.

My 19-month old throws crazy temper tantrums if she doesn't get her way on the REG-U-LAR.  Like laying down on the floor, spinning in circles and throwing her legs down for emphasis.  (Example A: at the mall today she refused to get in her stroller so we could walk to our car in the parking lot, in the pouring rain - ENTER TEMPER TANTRUM HERE). 

She bites, she hits.  She yells at other kids while playing, "NO!" while pointing her finger in their face.

She favors routine - little one HAAAAS to eat her snack at a certain table at the gym we go to.  If I suggest she eat her snack in the car (on hurried days), she freaks out.  I thought all kids are a fan of routine - but to this extent?

While my kid is flailing on the floor, screaming uncontrollably, (for the fiftieth time), thoughts of Autism inevitably enter my mind.  Does anyone think about this?  It's heart-breaking - I know - to think for a split second that your child may not be "normal."  But, I can't seem to help it.  Maybe I am medically dramatic?

 Here's a great autism link http://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism.

Okay, so obviously I google "Autism"...and start reading all of the symptoms.  Some symptoms line up with things my daughter does, or doesn't do developmentally.  But, just like googling any other medical ailment - 99% of the time, it makes you paranoid.  It makes you panic, thinking worst case scenario (like when you google "headaches" and results show up that say you have brain cancer).  After days of agonizing over your possible fatal disease, you reach out to a friend or family member about your google-able problem - and they're smarter than you are - so they tell you to call the friggin' doctor  (who, by the way, is trained to diagnose these things).

So how much of these temper tantrums is just regular toddler bullshit?  How much of it is lack of discipline? 

Is it because I let her have sugary treats a lot earlier than older darling?  Is it because I didn't breastfeed? Was it the meningitis?  Is it because I didn't make her baby food like I did for the older one?  Is it because I let the whole-organic-by-all-means-possible-thing go out the window because I didn't feel like shopping at five-million stores a week?  The list of things I shoulda done better is endless - and makes me feel blameful.

No joke, I've had random nannies come up to me and tell me the kids they are watching must be autistic because of their behavior.  And then I'll see the same nannies with the same kids 2 years later - with no visible signs of autism.  I mean, when the hell did nannies start diagnosing autism?!

Or maybe our society is autism crazed.  I mean listen to me talk about my own kid!!!!  I am labeling her as possibly autistic before even talking to a medical professional.  No one has put in my mind that these temper tantrums are not normal, except myself. 

A comment from someone on a thread "Are temper tantrums a sign of Autism?" reads: "Ugh... STOP IT, AMERICA!! You don't need to keep desperately trying to diagnose your TODDLERS with mental disorders!!! Poor kids."

Without speculating about my own kid anymore,  comment on this blog, or hit me up on facebook or twitter.  Have you ever thought your toddler was autistic? (if you're not too ashamed to own it)  Do you think I am being medically dramatic?  Cruel to my kid?  Ridiculous?Am I trivializing Autism?




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