Autism and Aspergers
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Had enough of screaming!

socksoffsocksoff Member Posts: 32
edited June 2014 in Autism and Aspergers
Does anyone else have an autistic child who screams? Often very loudly, often in public or crowded places? As the summer holidays wear on and I wear out, I am finding it harder to deal with and I think it's getting worse. At the point where I don't want to take him out anywhere in case he does it again - get so embarrassed with the looks from other people. He screams when he's anxious; at certain noises; if he's asked not to do something which is often for safety reasons or if you say no to anything. He does have some language but the screams come first when he is upset or anxious. It can be excruciatingly loud, right next to your ear and to me feels like more of an attack than anything physical. Just out of ideas now! Thanks to anyone out there who might have some ideas or wisdom or even reassurance that I'm not the only one!


  • HeatherHeather Member Posts: 171 Listener
    Hi. You're NOT alone! My one can scream for hours, neighbours have complained, even people 3 streets away comment on his noise! and friends are in awe how I restrain myself from jumping off a bridge! We've tried social stories and explaining "little voice" etc but to no avail. I fully sympathise, it is brain numbing and so un-necessary at times. My lad is 11 yrs old and since being out of school (Feb'12) he hs been home 24/7 and we have worked hard on aiding his speech. It has helped reduce the frustration and his screaming tantrums have reduced. But it is draining and hard work constantly reminding him and asking him to find his VOCA and explain rather than scream and everyone gets up tight and angry. Sorry no magic wand answers, but a very sympathetic fellow sufferer.
  • socksoffsocksoff Member Posts: 32
    Thanks Heather - it's just reassuring to know you're not the only one sometimes! Yes, we do a 'use your words' comment and made up a sign to reinforce but it's always after the event. He silenced a whole double decker bus in Cornwall on holiday last week because a little girl made a little squeal (nothing like the volume he can produce!); also silenced a small fishing port when a girl fell over and cried so he just screamed really loudly and everyone stared. It just puts me on edge everytime we go out so it's easier not to. Thanks, and I hope your lad is improving too.
  • HeatherHeather Member Posts: 171 Listener
    Hi....we've just been on holiday to was your son I heard!!!! LOL. But your experiences sound very similar. Especially when another child alarms him as his reaction is to drown the noise out with his own voice. Do you use ear defenders when out and about? I think my son feels more secure when the noise levels are muffled. I think I'm immune to the public stareing now. It's more trying to stop the noise for my own sanity! My husbands reaction is to shout back louder, which NEVER helps and I find I have to try talking calmly and sit him down to take deep breaths. But every incident is different. Out of interest, is your son very over sensory sensitive?
  • socksoffsocksoff Member Posts: 32
    Hi Heather - yes, I do use ear defenders now. He wouldn't tolerate them for ages but will keep them on sometimes now - I think I need them! I need to get more immune to other people's reactions, it's just not easy! Yes, my husband will sometimes shout louder or whistle loudly - these things do not help. My son is 9 and very sensorily sensitive. School have been working on the screaming and he is better when there is more structure - I just struggle to timetable everything in the school hols but that's what he would really like!
  • GinaSGinaS Member Posts: 79 Listener
    Hi socksoff,
    it's very important that you've identified when your son is more likely to scream (you mentioned he screams when he's anxious, or if he's asked not to do something). I'm sure it's very hard to get more immune to public's reactions, are there any interventions/strategies they're using at school you could possibly try at home?
    You also mentioned that structure and timetables work, what about creating a portable visual reminder (ie a simple key ring with laminated pictures attached) to help him understand what is happening now and create some more structure when you are out in public?
  • JimJamsJimJams Member Posts: 175 Listener
    If you can, prepare your son before you leave the house to let him know via symbols etc that we will do this , then this and we will come home and can scream, schedule in some scream time, i know this sounds crazy but we schedule in pacing and humming time and try and show my son, that it is not really good to do it in public, but he can be himself at home. try games that involve screaming as loud as you can then, whispering as quiet as you can, make it fun, you will reduce his anxiety by preparing him before you leave the house, he may be anxious because he does not know what to expect. you could try some music on headphones, or some story books on headphones for him to wear when you are out in particularly noisy places. My son has autism too and it is a constant game of trying to come up with ideas to nip behaviours in the bud. Dont you let the starers get to you, I have printed out wee business cards that I hand to people who stare or comment and the only thing i say to them is , I am sorry and I hope this will explain things for you, then walk away.
  • JimJamsJimJams Member Posts: 175 Listener
    I meant to say what my business cards say, they say my son is autistic and may have challenging behaviour, please help us by being patient and understanding and be assured that I am dealing with the situation as best I can
  • socksoffsocksoff Member Posts: 32
    Thanks both for ideas and suggestions. We do use loads of visual cards/timetables etc and he often says sorry afterwards but it seems impossible to pre-empt it at the moment. He does wear ear defenders quite often when we are out and we always have them with us - although I sometimes think it's me that needs them! I have got an autism alert card from the NAS but in the heat of the situation have not yet got around to using it. I like the idea of scream time so might try that. I think he would be fine if there were no other people around!! Thanks for empathy and support - much needed!
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