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Parenting --Teens/easily overstimulated toddler


Hi. I've noticed that my daughter tends to get easily overstimulated especially in crowds. She will hold onto me or her daddy and cry. Is this normal? We visited London last week and she had a meltdown. It's not a tantrum, it's more like she's scared. A friend of mine told me it could be a sign of autism. Is that true?

Hello Rose,
Lots of children are easily stimulated or overwhelmed by too much stimulation.
Autism is basically a communication disorder and just because your daughter is overstimulated or anxious about noisy or crowded situations doesn't mean she has autism.
I'm assuming she communicates just fine, she just doesn't like certain situations. Help her to deal with these situations. For instance, before going into a situation where there may be too much stimulation for her, talk to her about it and give her directions for what she can do to more easily cope ("You could hold Daddy's hand really tight" or "You could take some deep breaths -- that really helps a lot of children").
I hope this helps. Let me know if you have other questions.
James Windell

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James Windell


I am a parent trainer, psychotherapist, and author specializing in parenting issues.During the past 40 years I`ve worked with parents with discipline problems and challenging children. I give frequent lectures and workshops related to discipline, social skills, and aggressive children. I consult with various agencies and schools where there are child behavior problems. I am listed in the American Psychological Associations` media panel as an expert on parenting and am frequently quoted in leading magazines and newspapers.


I have worked in a juvenile court as a clinical psychologist and as a psychotherapist in private practice. In the Oakland County (MI) Juvenile Court, I developed an award-winning parent training program for parents of adolescent delinquents. In addition I have done group therapy with adolescent delinquents using a social skills-building model. I have consulted with courts, schools, churches, preschools, and domestic violence shelters in areas of parenting.

I received my BA with a major in Psychology in 1963 from Wayne State University. I got my MA in Clinical Psychology from Oakland University in 1972.

I am a member of the American Psychological Association and the Michigan Psychological Association. I have written pamplets, newspaper articles, and professional journal articles. I have been the Coping With Kids columnist for several newspapers for 26 years, and my columns appear weekly in the Staten Island Advance. I have been the author or co-author of 16 books. My books include, 8 WEEKS to A WELL-BEHAVED CHILD, CHILDREN WHO SAY NO WHEN YOU WANT THEM TO SAY YES, 6 STEPS TO AN EMOTIONALLY INTELLIGENT TEENAGER, and THE FATHERSTYLE ADVANTAGE. My most recent parenting book (2012) is THE EVETYTHING CHILD PSYCHOLOGY AND DEVELOPMENT BOOK. I have appeared on over 180 radio and TV shows related to my books and parenting. For more information about me, my books and columns, go to my website at

I have an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Oakland University.

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