Talk Calm!

Autism calmKirsten makes her requests ready for a fight.  Her tone and body language yelling:

You better not say no and I know you are going to say no so I am already mad because I’m sure you are going to say no and you better NOT say no!!!” 

Goes something like this…

K (Voice high-pitched and tight. Fist poised to bang the table, couch, her… me!): “Buy ice cream on Saturday?!”
Me: “Sure honey. We can buy ice cream on Saturday.”

K (Increasing volume and tension): “Buy ice cream on Saturday?!!”
Me: “Okay honey. Yes!”

K (Near yelling now… can she not hear me??!): “Buy ice cream on Saturday?!!!”
Me: “Yes honey. Stop yelling.”
K: “Buy ice cre”

Me: “Do you want to write it on the calendar?”
K: “No calendar!!!”
Me: “Okay. Well, we will buy ice cream on Saturday.”

K: “Ice cream on Saturday!!!”
Me: “Stop.”
K: “Buy…!!”
Me: “Stop!”

After years of this über-fun game, I came up with a plan.  A brilliant intervention that has worked!  In a fist-to-forehead ‘why didn’t I think of this before’ kind of moment, I share it with you.  And it goes like this…

K: “Buy ice cream on Saturday??!”
Me: “Hey! Talk calm. Say it calm. ‘Hey mom, can we buy ice cream on Saturday?’”

K (Stress barometer coming down…): “Ice cream on Saturday?!”
Me: “Try it again. Talk calm. ‘Can we buy ice cream on Saturday?’”

K: (and down…): “Can we buy ice cream on Saturday?”
Me: “Better.  Try again.  Talk calm.”

K: (And for the first time – relaxed!) “Can we buy ice cream on Saturday?”
Me: “Good job honey!  Say it again.”

K: “Can we buy ice cream on Saturday?”
Me: “Wow. So calm! Of course we can buy ice cream on Saturday. Where do you want to go?”

And now:

We still have the above conversation when needed, but it is much more likely to go something like this:

K (relaxed tone): “Talk calm. I want to buy new pens at Target.”
Me: “Sure! We can buy new pens.”

K: “Good job talking calm.”
Me: “Yes Kirsten! Good job!!”

The End.  …hear it?  That’s the angel’s singing… “Aaaaaahhhhhhhh.”


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12 Responses

  1. monica says:

    Yes, my son is 9 now. When he took speech therapy his therapist clued us in on this. Worked wonders! Yay!

    • Autism Makes Me Laugh | Tammy says:

      If only I’d known your therapist when K was 9! The years it took me to figure this out… Sheesh!! ;)

  2. Katie Spranger says:

    Oh my!!! My son is 5yrs old and is autistic—He did the same thing to me about an hour ago about wanting to go to Chuck E. Cheese’s!!! WHEW!! :)

  3. Tara Black says:

    Btw….where do you find your uber-cute pictures for your post?

  4. Sam says:

    Cute :) how old is Kirsten ?

  5. Diane says:

    YES…I hear it…I hear it!!!!! :D

  6. Tara Black says:


    I am having flashbacks…Megan does the same thing. Two peas these girls!!