Frustrated and sad - High functioning autism and violence

by Laura
(Claremont,ca)

My husband and I have a soon to be 11 year old boy with "high functioning" autism.

Despite having over the top tantrums as a toddler, he seemed to be growing into a lovable happy kid ... until recently.

Over the last year he has evolved into a violently tempered child who seems to "snap" when Things go his way. He is at a point now that he has pulled knives on us and our other child and has threatened to kill us.

I'm scared to death of what he is capable of now and how much worse he will get as he grows stronger.

I have no idea what to do and I'm in tears daily.

Unfortunately, my husband who loves our son as dearly as I do chooses not to recognize the potential danger and claims I'm over-reacting.

I'm at my wits end and very close to deciding to move out with my 12 year old Daughter.

I'm devastated with nowhere to turn!

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Dont give up,
by: Anne

I have a soon to be 10yrs old girl with special need that is growing fast and stronger every day
However, I keep praying that the Lord will take control everyday.
You are his mother and he needs you now more than ever before
You are his rock that holds the fort everyday
Please dear mother dont give up now
God gave us this special gifts as children and He will give us the strength to go on everyday
God bless you and your family

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There is Hope!!! (Part 3)
by: Anonymous M

If you're don't think residential is right for you, here are some other recommendations that help:

1.) There is a lot of research showing the link to the connection of our poor food quality with behavioral problems in children. Avoid anything with added food colorings or anything in the ingredients you can't pronounce. Try going gluten-free, and reduce sugar intake. NO SODA (even diet). They are loaded with dyes and chemicals that can cause reactions. Try to eat organic meat, dairy, and vegetables. if you can't go "all in," look up the "Dirty Dozen," and try to focus on only buying those foods organically.

2.) "No" is often a trigger for kids with autism. When your child asks for an extra dessert or something, instead of responding with "no," keep it positive, and offer alternative options. "You've had enough sugar today, but you can have an apple or a cup of juice. Which one would you like?" Or if the child wants you to take him to the movies, instead of "No, we're not going to the movies," say "I'd love to go with you, but today is very busy. How about Saturday?" This gives the child something to look forward to.

3.) Teeth brushing and shower can be arduous, especially when there's some OCD symptoms. Sometimes it's a sensory issue: a texture that they can't stand or something. See if you can find out specifically what that is and find something alternative. It could be the feel of the bristles, the smell of the shampoo, the taste of the toothpaste, etc.

4.) Routine is very important, and it's equally important for us parents to follow through on what we say. A big calendar on the bedroom wall can be helpful, along with a Daily Planner Chart.

5.) Create a "positive rewards" environment. In some cases, you may need to take away all entertainment, except for what's essential, and let the child earn it back. Let the child earn plastic coins for good behavior, and can spend them on earning privileges back. Sit down as a family and discuss how much good behaviors are worth, what the privileges and rewards should be, and how much each reward or privilege costs. Make charts that display this, and then give "bonuses" for a "great day." It's important that they get the same thing modeled at school, so see if their teachers will implement the "coin system" as well.

6.) Autistic children are so often labeled by what they can't do, or what's hard for them. While other kids are spending their days doing what they love, autistic children often spend their free time being forced to practice what they can't do, and dislike. To counter-act this, find out what your child loves and surround them with it to create a positive environment. Here's an incredible story I saw this week that pushed me to tears: http://themotherlist.com/mother-tore-label-nurtured-sons-hidden-genius/

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There Is Hope!!! (Part 2)
by: Anonymous M


My story... Our 12-year-old has been getting progressively more violent, with diagnoses of autism, ODD, OCD, anxiety, and extreme ADHD. He is normally a very sweet kid who loves social interaction, and is always writing sweet letters and giving gifts. Until he's "triggered." He gets fixated on something that he can't have, and it escalates into violence (torn up doors, knives, suicide threats, holes in walls, assaulting teachers at school, etc). He has been in various special ed programs, alternative schools, etc, with no success. It has been a struggle to get him to school at all without a violent meltdown. Recently, he doused the garage with gas and was going to blow up the house. He then held a knife at his own throat. EMTs, fire department, and police came to the house, and declared it a crime scene. He is being charged by the state for attempted arson and assault. This is his 5th charge, and he's only 12! He was hospitalized locally in a psychiatric ward, and we realized that which gave us time to seek out residential options, and get the paperwork moving.

Springbrook Behavior Health is where he'll be going. It's a great place with good success. They have a staff of doctors and teachers who specialize in high functioning autism. It's like a retreat center and school together. 4 hours of daily schooling with special ed teachers, basketball, pool, arts and crafts, fishing lessons at their pond, outings, etc. They operate on a "rewards system." He will start on "Level 1," and earn points for good behavior that rewards him with special privileges and field trips. Using a positive "rewards" system is crucial in helping autistic children correctly understand cause and effect. While it's hard to let him go, there's also a sense of relief and peace in knowing he'll be in a positive environment, getting an important life skills set that we can't give him. And in 1-2 years, he'll be back with us, able to control feelings and behaviors.

Also, Glenholme is another great boarding school we learned about, also mentioned in that article.




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There is hope!!!
by: Anonymous M

Yes, there is hope, but you will have to fight for it! My family is walking through this too, and we are beginning to see some hope!

When violence turns from threats to action (involving weapons, etc), then it may be time to consider a residential school or treatment center for high functioning autism. There are some FANTASTIC programs out there that focus on correcting meds, nutrition, and occupational/behavioral therapy. It's REALLY hard to think of sending your child away, but try to understand that it may be an invaluable opportunity for your child to thrive in an environment designed for them. With a residential center, they receive 24/7 treatment in a positive environment that helps to give them the skills they need to control behavior, with an ultimate goal of re-introducing to the home and school. And remember... under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, states MUST pay for an appropriate education in whatever setting is needed, including residential in another state, so some residential schools are approved and funded. READ THIS ARTICLE.. . it really helped us a lot. http://www.childmind.org/en/posts/articles/2013-10-15-residential-schools-how-help

ChildMind.Org has great resources in the "Hot Topic" section (Search for autism).

You can find a consultant or advocate in your area who specializes in autism and will be a great resource in connecting you with various treatment and education options.


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Feeling alone
by: Anonymous

My son is nine years old and extremely verbal . He was diagnosed at the age of 3 1/2. Back then my concern was that he was not talking. Well, he has definitely made up for the time when he could not speak. Although he has never attacked anyone, his attitude and behavior causes problems at time. He is very smart and at 1st grade I had him mainstreamed unto a " typical classroom setting" this year it's not working out so well due to him yelling at the students telling them he hates them and calling them stupid. he does have a resource room teacher but because I made the mistake of putting him into a public "application school" the recourse person is only there 3 days per week. Now he has started not turning in his homework nor is he completing his classroom work. He had a grade of F in math and science. I know this is not totally his fault because he is not getting the support in class that he needs. But with the Public schools having over 25 kids in the classroom I'm at a loss for what to do. He gets angry so fast so asking him what is going on is just nonproductive. Today after the bad report from the teacher I can't even bring myself to speak to him because I know I'm going to say something I regret. I'm really regretting my husband , who is a child psychologist, because he offers no solutions. I'm constantly telling him I'm stressed and don't know What to do anymore and I get nothing. No response or solutions. I have no one to talk too and feeling alone. I'm afraid for my sons's future.

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Nobody has a right to abuse.
by: Anonymous

It's completely natural to want to do what's best for your child, but as the father of three kids - one autistic and extremely violent, the other two absolutely terrified of their elder brother - I made the decision that I had to do what was best for *all* my children.

Yes, my autistic boy is special when it comes to his educational needs and so on. But that doesn't give him any right to undermine the health and safety of anyone else in the family. My autistic son has no compunction about battering, biting, threatening and waving knives at anyone who contradicts him, so I had to institutionalise him: I knew that he had grown beyond our ability to restrain, and I didn't want to come home one day to discover he'd killed a family member (or, for that matter, anyone else).

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My autistic son is violent --do we just have to take it for the rest of our lives?
by: Anonymous

My autistic stepson often threatens to kill me. He's only 10 but is very tall and heavy and strong and gets physical and calls me horrible names and is unpredictable. I worry non-stop about the safety of our other younger children, and see the effects his violent behavior and language -- they are sad, stressed and anxious all the time. My husband stresses out when I relate the things that go on during the day while he's at work, and doesn't want to deal with the problem because he loves his son and it seems like there is no solution or help to be had, and trying to find some sort of group home is too expensive. My stepson is so high functioning that I'm not even sure he would even qualify for such a thing. No one seems to know what to do about dealing with violent, antisocial autistic boys other than reciting the mantra of be patient, be understanding, try harder, and good luck to you. What would happen if I called the police if he got out of hand? What happens once he is an adult -- does he live with us until he beats us to death or burns our house down? What should I do?

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Re: My Aspie Son
by: Anonymous

Hey Barb, I really feel for you, must be real tough. My partner and I have had similiar problems with our 14 year old. Do you limit time on his pc etc? We set clear time limits for use - it was hard work at first but we stuck with it and things have imptoved no end eventually. As for the overweight issue get a dog and walk the dog and him daily exercise is great for calming the mind and will improve his fitness and keep him off the pc.

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MY ASPIE SON
by: barb

I have a teen son who is a great, kind loving person. He hooked on the pc and gaming in a huge way. When disaplin is need I take away his pc and gaming rights. He has meltdowns and becomes violent with me now that he is older. He is much bigger than I am and this is scary. I am now afraid to take these things away. Help please!!
He is over wieght and needs time off the pc!!!

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sad when families are threatened by a special needs child
by: Anonymous

I'm a widow with an adult son that is aflicted by Cerebal Palsy (mild) and also mild Autism. He graduated from High School with a resource aid from kidergarten thru 12th grade.

Usually mild tempered, patient and very helpful with anyone family or friends, past few years experiencing ocassional "meltdown" but last summer entered into severe crisis, need to call social worker, police, etc.

He was tranferred to psych ward over 100 miles away, right away I suspected his Autism as the most probable cause only to have a nurse dispute me by telling me that he was Schizoprenic.

I absolutely disagreed by replying that he was been with us since birth & surely I would have noticed it long time ago.

I ended conversation by simply stating, "I'm sure
its the Autism causing this, then she told that he was going to be in hospital @ least 2 months.

Next morning she calls back to tell me that I could pick him up the following day. Diagnosis "Autism" dr presribed Seroquel 25 mg twice daily
he's relaxed, no more crisis & under care of psychiatrist every 3 months.

I'm just elated that he was not kept in hospital 2 months but just a few days. Why don't drs/nurses listen to parents?

After all these special needs people have been with us since birth, a lot of problems would be avoided if were taken into consideration.

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I feel for you
by: Anonymous

My son is 5. I have claw marks on my chest and face from a meltdown. He came at me with a knife Saturday. Right now now is little but I am getting concerned. We finally got our diagnosis last month. He has Aspergers. My heart goes out to you. Don't give up!

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Respect to you all.
by: Anonymous

Our son Brent's anger and violence started early on and we actually had to call an ambulance a couple ofttimes. We ended up spending two weeks in the psychiatric ward at our local children's hospital. Over the next two years we trial and errored many different drugs (he also suffers epilepsy), We had 2 children move out of home as they could not live with his violence. Thanks to his latest meds he is mostly calmish, but we know at the drop of a hat he can flair up again.
Brent is only 9 and very strong, the holds the hospital taught us will only last for a while longer as he will be too strong for me. Everyday is a struggle but we are in a much better place than we were.
I wish thatI could be more help, all I can say is reach out for help it is there you just have to search for it.
Good luck to you and yours.

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