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Thursday, December 12, 2013
14 Year Old Violent Behavior
I don`t know what to do about my autistic child, he is mild supposedly. For no reasons he gets really mad and gets to be really violent sometimes just from getting off the bus from school. He wants to fight and run in the middle of the street, when its time for bedtime sometime he does not want to go to bed, other times he is watching tv and he comes behind me and attacks me. Now he is strong, what I mean about violence is that he comes and hits me, bites me, kicks me to point that I am really bruised up and I try to block and run away and my arms and back hurt really bad, he yells at me just like if he was my father or something. I try being calm nothing works. He kicks doors and breaks them. There are nights he does not want to go to sleep and talks to himself all night long, and when I try to help him sleep he attacks me punches me, and my older daughter as well, he is out of control. He has gone to the neurologist ever since he was little. He is on medication, it does not work. We even changed prescriptions, nothing works. We talk to the school they refuse to help us, they don`t believe me to begin with. Because he is so good in school. We tried taking him to Advondale here in Texas but the school refused to put him there, saying is not as bad as it seems, even though they've seen me all bruised up. I don`t know what to do, punishing him does not work, I pray but nothing. He is healthier than me and my own daughter. I have medical issues and so does my daughter, and I have heart problems , and if i die because of this stress for my son where is he going to go. I feel like there is nowhere to turn or go I get rejected everywhere I go please help me and let me know what I can do thank you. I don`t want my child to keep getting worse and to kill me one day.
The behaviors you describe do sound dangerous to both yourself and your son and daughter. The most important thing is to get some help from professionals that are in your area, so they can determine the best set of strategies for you and your son. These would be my suggestions to try to find that local help: 1) Talk with your neurologist regarding the medical interventions you are trying. If the medications you have tried are not effective, it may be possible to try others. 2) Ask your neurologist for a referral to a psychologist who specializes in autism and behavior problems. 3) See the website below for many other resources and supports available in Texas http://www.texasautismadvocacy.org/ 4) Speak to your school about strategies they have tried that may have helped the violent behaviors at school. Perhaps they can help you think of some strategies that would help you at home.
5) Look for books that help you understand violent upsets, such as:
Asperger Syndrome and Difficult Moments: Practical Solutions for Tantrums, Rage, and Meltdowns – Revised and Expanded Edition by Brenda Smith Myles & Jack Southwick, http://www.asperger.net/bookstore_9720.htmOften your school may have books like this that you can check out or borrow. 6) If you are ever in serious danger, please go to a room where you are safe, close the door, and call 911 or a local mental health crisis center.
Violent behaviors, like the ones you describe, often seem like they come out of the blue, but if you look more closely they often do have patterns. Most often violent behaviors are a way to protest something the child does not like or want to do, and are often related to transitions from one activity to the next. Often when these behaviors get so extreme, it is hard to find things that help calm the child down.
What might work better is to try to help earlier in the tantrum – for example when he first starts to become upset, you may be able to redirect him to some other interest or activity. The other strategy is to figure out when the violence is most likely to occur, and to help him handle those situations better. For example, if it often happens when he is getting off the bus, perhaps it is because of the transition. Maybe the bus driver can warn him a few minutes before it is time to get off the bus. The same kind of warning might be useful before bedtime.
Also – if you can reward him for managing himself well in these situations, he can start to learn that he is able to control himself, and that you are proud of him when he does. Rewards can be simple things like earning time at a favorite activity, treats, money toward a favorite item to buy, etc.
To put it briefly:
Hopefully, you can find a local person to help you develop these ideas, try them out, and change them as needed. Managing behavior problems of children with autism, is, unfortunately, usually an on-going process. I wish you luck and encourage you to write again if you have other questions.
- Catch it early
- Redirect him to another activity
- Reward him for calming down
- Find patterns and help him cope with those situations (like warning him about transitions)
Jacqueline Wynn, PhD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University