My husband and I (I am happily remarried) were discussing things and we got on to the subject of patterns. Particularly patterns of Little Man's behaviour (my autistic child).
I have been keeping a journal about Little Man's eating habits, sleeping habits, behaviour displays, learning spurts etc, since he was two. So we went through the journal and made some graphs to see if we were onto something. (Funny, I know, but I am driven with a NEED to understand my child. When you have a child that is unable, or uninterested of sharing their feelings and thoughts it is difficult to know what exactly goes on in their sweet heads!).
Lo and behold a pattern emerged. Little Man goes into what we call 'hissy fit mode' after a long stretch of predictable behaviour and little growth. (allow me to go into a ramble about this statement. By predictable behaviour I am referring to his tendency to do the same things, at the same times. He will go months having the same behaviour problems, the same routines, the same interests. And by 'the same' I am being oh so literal. He will get up at the SAME exact time, eat the same exact breakfast at the same exact spot at the table. He will engage in the same scrap with his sister EVERY morning. 'little growth' refers to him not seeming to intake any new information or learn any new skills or even improve on existing skills during this time. Not academically, not socially, and even physically he seems to grow little.)
His hissy fits are always around some circular idea he can not seem to let go of. His sister will call him over to see something and he's flipping out. He will tell me over and over 'I'm not a dog for her to call!!' and he wont hear any discussion on it until he is doing flipping out. He paces his room in a circle, works up to crying and yelling. This can last from 15 minutes to 5 hours. We have tried talking, flicking lights, touching (his hand, or lifting his chin). We have tried consequences (loosing electronics, being grounded, extra chores). We have tried ignoring. So far, no results in ten years of trying to break through these fits. This will continue for days, weeks and once for 2 and 1/2 months with fits occurring with alarming frequency over asinine things from: If we have yogurt tubes or not; the weather; him deciding we are demanding he be 'perfect'; some comment he took literally; something he can't find, etc.
Then, after these fits, we see incredible growth. (For example in a two week period he went from reading at an early grade one lvl to reading at an early grade four lvl, learned to ride his bike without training wheels, tied his shoes for the first time, lied about something and grew a shoe size and a clothing size)
So we smilingly refer to this as 'batch processing'. It truly seems that Little Man stores information over long periods of time, and perhaps (this it only my theory) when he starts to actually process the information he is overwhelmed and thus we get the 'behaviour'.
Would love to hear thoughts back on this from other parents of high functioning autistic children.
Hugs and Laughter