Yesterday, I sent out a semi-serious tweet about the possibility of throwing a tantrum because I didn’t get pizza for dinner. As ridiculous as that sounds, aspie tantrums can very well be triggered by something that insignificant. Perhaps something of even less importance.


For example, not getting the Golden Goose that you found out existed only five minutes ago.

Fatigue is a very common tantrum trigger, although not so much for me – my wife will tell you otherwise, but I simply get crabby. Hunger is also a big one on the list of triggers. Specifically for people with aspergers, crowds and social events can lead to meltdowns. For those with autism, loud/unpleasant noises or sensations can cause a blow up. Then you have the triggers that are specific to each person – schedule changes, absence of a normal favorite choice, etc. I know I tend to go nuts if I can’t find something that I’m looking for right away.


GFY, Waldo.

The importance of knowing these things is not to remove all of the triggers from the world of the Spectrumite – that’s pretty much impossible. What’s important is to know that these triggers do exist, and that a tantrum can be caused by the smallest little thing that you couldn’t even notice if you tried.

What are some of the small triggers that you have seen influence you or someone with Aspergers/Autism?


Please fill up my comments section. It makes me feel important.


Posted on March 10, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Trinity Parker

    As the mother of a 12 year old Aspie, it’s so important to me to recognise the triggers too. His meltdowns were beginning to occur more and more frequently late last year, but at first I couldn’t work out exactly what was setting him off, as it seemed to be a completely different thing each time – an argument with his sister, his little brother going into his bedroom, me asking him to put the rubbish out. It was always something very small, but the meltdown was always very intense. I started keeping notes to see if I could find a pattern and that’s when I was finally able to see it.
    The meltdowns always occurred within an hour after arriving home from school. The stress of school alone was almost sending him into a meltdown every day, so it didn’t take much at the end of the day to push him over the top. What he needed was time to relax and do his own thing for a while after school each day, before he even thought about homework or chores or playing with his siblings.
    I now make sure he has his “chill out” time every day and even though he still has the occasional meltdown, they are not as bad or as frequent as they once were.
    Also, for him, there isn’t necessarily one trigger, but a series of things that cause him to stress. Because he has trouble talking about his feelings, these little things build up over time (or even over the course of a day) and that’s when we see the meltdowns. So the other thing I do is regularly ask about how he is feeling, in the hope that I can ease the load on his mind. Sometimes he just says he is fine, but sometimes he is able to tell me about the things that are bothering him, and hopefully this will prevent an upcoming meltdown.

  2. I believe that my adult son is an Aspie. One of the things he did was to break down at the end of the school day if he could not see me as soon as he got out of the school door. He would start screaming and running around looking for me. I might be coming up the walk to him but if he didn’t see me he would just explode. He almost ran into the very busy street in front of the school one day because he was crying and could not see where he was going.

    He hated listening to his sisters talking and playing. They were always “too loud.” He would cover his ears with his hands and shout at them to be quiet. Even when his door was closed, and theirs as well, he still got upset with the noise.

    He would get very upset when someone interrupted him as he was talking about his beloved trains and their particular colors, design, shapes, owners, etc.

    All of these things happened starting when he was four. Trains and cars and trolleys (transportation) were his obsessions. He drew them over and over and talked about them and read about them and studied them intensively. He’s still very interested in transportation now (public).

    He has never been diagnosed because his pediatrician would not agree that he was possibly “autistic”. He was just a brilliant little boy and they have their little quirks. Interestingly, his kindergarten teach made the suggestion to me that my son might be autistic within the first couple months of school.

    If you look at a list of characteristics of a child with mild autism or Aspergers, he has most of them. He is in his early thirties now. He has a small group of friends who like him, and watch out for him, and have for fifteen years or more. He is brilliant; has a BA from Hampshire College; has written a thesis; writes a blog, and for several other blogs, but he has a hard time finding a job that is appropriate to his skills. He has worked most successfully in food service, and he wants to make a good living–not a subsistence living.
    But he knows that he misses social cues, and, says inappropriate things when he is stressed.

    I’d love to meet up with people who have a child, or children, with autism because I could really use some support to help my son come to terms with his issues, and me with my issues.

    • @breannaldh – I’m not a doc, but to me it sounds like your son has many of the classic Aspie traits. Although it’s possible to get a diagnosis as an adult, I didn’t feel it was necessary in my case.

      There are many support groups for parents of children with autism and also for those on the spectrum, both in-person and online. Twitter has been so helpful for me to reach out and meet people, as well as raise awareness.

  3. Cat hair up my nose.
    My dog screeching and barking and jumping all over place when he is happy.
    Cannot find ————- when I need it.
    Being late because of not finding something I needed.
    Strangers in my house without notice.
    No volume control on commercials (flinch response) or other sudden loud noises.
    Family vacations.
    Family holidays.
    Getting anything under a 3.5 or not quickly comprehending material.
    Feeling overwhelmed, incompetent, or stupid.
    Flying. It’s everything I dislike all at once!
    My spouses commentary when I am trying to complete a task.
    Feeling “trapped” by emotional (dramatic) people in my space.
    Crowds (more than 6 people if I have known all of them longer than 10 years or 3-4 people I don’t know).
    “Why don’t you try to be friends with….” -Ahhh there IS a reason.
    Itchy, sticky, scratchy, frilly, puffy, or slimed sensations.
    Elvis Presley’s music. (I don’t know why but it sets me on edge).
    Fluorescent lighting.
    Reading anything on Yellow paper or screens.
    My spouses “pity” look (which I think is sympathy but I read it as here we go again…)
    Incompetency or nonsensical drivel in others.
    Mayonaise! Not even near my food.
    Lack of sleep.

    • Wow, that is quite the list! Have you been able to improve your reactions to any of these triggers? I’ve had success with some of mine, but most of them are tough nuts to crack.

    • Omgosh! Spouse commentary while I’m trying to complete a task! Seriously…. how many times to I have to ask to stop that. Erg.

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