Aspergers and aggressive behavior

Deb - posted on 02/03/2009 ( 35 moms have responded )

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Our seven year old was recently diagnosed with Aspergers. His behavior is out of control in school and sometimes at home. We don't know what to do. Is anyone experiencing these kind of issues?? Any advice??? We really are in need of help and being new to this we are not sure where to start!

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Lili - posted on 04/30/2009

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Meds were transformational for my daughter - the impulsivity and aggression completely disappeared. Ritalin for the impulsivity and Prozac for the social anxiety. What works for every kid is different - and we tried MANY before finding this. But it has truly been our miracle. She went from being secluded, restrained, sent home most days even though she had 2 aides with her at all times. For the past two years, since the meds, she is fully mainstream, no aides at all, and getting great grades and making friends. Meds are not for everyone, and it was a very tough decision to go that route, but we are so grateful that we did because she was truly suffering in school and she's not suffering any more.

Jennifer - posted on 02/06/2009

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Where do you live? I'm in Pennsylvania. We got my five year old son's diagnosis of Aspergers, ADHD, and Developmental Coordination Disorder in October 2008. We have "wrap around services" which is basically in home & in school therapy and support services. We have a Behavioral Specialist, Mobile Therapist, and a number of Theraputic Support Staff on our team. His behaviors are completely out of control at home and at school. He was suspended from school yesterday for hitting a little girl. (HONEST TO GOD I KID YOU NOT)  He's only in Kindergarten and we've been working on behavior modification since last March. It was successful from March to September and then our whole world turned upside. He was NEVER aggressive before that and had been in preschool, etc. OUr therapists recommended giving him a "theraputic rest period" if he gets aggressive. We basically take him to a safe spot (our reclining chair) and stand behind the chair and basically hold his arms between shoulder and elbow to stop him from punching, biting, etc. He has thrown laptops, wripped blinds out the windows, etc. We were having HUGE problems trying to do the pretzel thing on the floor. His step dad was able to hold him, but he would get away from me and I'd get pummeled. We are honestly at our wits end. The new chair thing is working so far, we only have to hold him down for about 5 minutes until he stops hitting and then he has to sit in the chair (screaming and crying even) until he can sit quietly (not bouncing around, singing, etc) for 3 minutes. These periods are still lasting like an hour, but at least it's only a few minutes of all out assault. We are also using a 1-2-3 Magic Discipline method. It's very easy as long as you use in consistently. There is info on the web. They have videos and we watched it with the therapist we were seeing, but you can rent it at the library too. We actually started using it last March. It fell off for a while when all hell broke loose, but our BSC put it in our treatment plan and we've been using it again. It provokes outbursts because he gets mad that he has to go to time out, but he understands why b/c he didn't listen, he argued, etc.



School is another story though...We have an IEP and we're still in the process of developing it/adjusting the accomodations and goals. We clearly have some major problems at school as is evident by the suspension. I've been begging for a full time aide for him since October....finally now that this incident occured they are going to get him one. I just wish they had seen the light sooner. :(



A Functional Behavior Analysis will determine what the causes of the behaviors are, so that you can address the root of the problem. Our school did one, but not a full blown analysis. Thank goodness we have our wrap team because they are doing this and other testing with him to gauge his frustration tolerance as well. I think our wrap team is using Applied Behavior Analysis. We track individual behaviors daily. Everything from hitting to lying to interuptting, etc. We also seperately document the aggressive incident, anteceedennt, intervention, and all. Look up Applied Behavior Analysis and Functioanl Behavior Analysis on the net if you haven't already had one done.



I don't know what other states have that is comperable to our wrap services (if anything), but it's something to look into at least.




Good Luck! I hope this helps!

Marge - posted on 04/30/2009

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BE CAREFUL with meds as none have proven to be specifically working for Autism/Asperger's. Check out the side effects first.

Again - take away the pressure and stress from them, find a way they can express why something is wrong. check out the NAS website for further guidance and help! READ Tony Attwoods books, he has brilliant strategies in there and guidance. He has written them so that you can just dip in and out depending on what you need for your child. BRILLIANT!

Best thing to do when they are in meltdown is to stop talking, leave them in a safe place and WAIT for them to be calm again and start again, this can take an hour or more. It helped us not to go back and talk about a past event as our son could never remember what had happend and only got upset again when we talked about it.

Remember they can not help it - their brain works differently and there is no reason to it (but usually a cause)! Look at sensory issues with ASD. It just happens and we need to move on. punishment does not help. comforting and caring does but in a way the child accepts it not the way you might want to. we as parents need to learn a completly different way of living with our children and just accepting them as they are rather then make them conform to whatever we perceive society wants.

Marge - posted on 04/30/2009

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Do you know what causes the behaviour? Avoidance of what causes it is the best strategy we have found. We have eliminated most of the stresses our son had (including school, he is on i-ed now and thriving!) and we have a different child! He is calm and relaxed and enjoys life! He is 15 and we had 3 or so years of constant struggles because we believed the 'professional' at school. We now know we were wrong doing so and have followed a different path. We are glad we did and we were backed by our education officer as the school in the end said they could not provide for him. The AEN officer arranged for i-ed and we haven't looked back! The online teachers are brilliant, he is in a group of around 5 online and has interactive live lessons. The program is called Accipio. We are now getting back to what he used to be like when at primary.

My advice - take out all the stresses which cause him to have these behaviours and maybe slowly re-introduce some situations with lots of guidance and help from an CAHMS ASD specialist. Even if it means just half an hour at school to find out what it is what upset him!! It could just be the voice of the teacher he can not cope with, or the smell of someones purfume, or the school dinner cooking it could be anything and everything. You have to become a detective to find out.

We did and it worked for us. Let's face it we all want our children to be happy even with a disability this can happen!

Valerie - posted on 02/28/2013

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I have a 6 year old son in kindergarten. the school absolutely will not follow anything I have told them about his triggers!!! I told them loud noises, any changes, and unexpected activites, a lot of commotion causes confusion. But instead of working with him they are condemming him. I got a call today that he will be suspended indefinately if he has any more outbursts. I am a single mom and just got divorced in June. Having to leave our home, our town and move someone completely strange really did a number on him. I cannot afford to move to a different school district. One teacher even suggested he is not aspergers but an overly spoiled child out of control!!! I don't know what to do. I cannot quit my job to stay home and it is hard to find a sitter who will or can deal with him. One daycare ran by church went as far as kicking him out and when I arrived to pick him up they had a "fat" teacher holding him down on the couch. I was furious. Help.

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Linda - posted on 06/25/2014

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I am saddened to realize that there are so many of us in the same boat with different size paddles. Meaning? We live all over the world, our children are all different ages, and they included boys and girls. I am right there too. We did 15 types of therapies in 6 years including Brain Balance. Most helped in some way, non made a long lasting difference. As he gets older, he is great in public and so unpredictable and meran to me. I am also over whelmed and over tired as I am sure mamy of you are. In fact, we went so far as to leave the country to find help. I will let you kmnow it it does. I All I can say is, hand in there. and check out any and every support group you can find, in person or on the net. We have found the swimming is only thing that helps to calm him down.

Stacy Lee - posted on 04/29/2014

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Consider reading a book called Disconnected Kids by Dr. Robert Melillo. This book deals with kids who have brain disconnections and how many disorders such as ADHD, Aspergers, Autism, Cognitive/Tactile, Emotional disorders and more that are symptoms of the brain being disconnected. I have a daughter who had Central Auditory Processing Disorder and Short Term Memory Loss. Some of the symptoms included problems with behavior and deep depression. I took her to Brain Balance which is a brain therapy program across the states. It is a very dedicated program to helping kids reconnect their left-side to their right-side of the brain. My daughter's brain deficiencies were severe. She was 15 years old and had the educational level of a 2nd grader. In 12 weeks in the program she changed dramatically. She became social, less depressed, behavior was less negative. There were many more negative symptoms, all with the exception of a small few are gone. Her educational level went up four grade levels and her confidence went through the roof. I could of chosen to do the meds for the depression and suicidal tendencies but I found the therapy program worked great. There is no meds involved with the therapy program. Just fun exercises that focus on the most deficient side of the brain. Once the brain becomes connected, all it needs is time for growth. It can take up to a month and a half to see results (mine were 3 weeks time) and it is expensive. However, if we go out to buy a car for $25k that only last so many years, this program costs WAY LESS and the results last a lifetime and happiness for your child. The only way this program works is total commitment from the parents. Otherwise, you won't see any results. It saddened me that some left the program after only a few weeks and then complained about it. They didn't even give it a chance. Here's is the link if you think it might help you. Good luck!
http://www.brainbalancecenters.com/

Rebecca - posted on 02/13/2014

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I understand what you're going through! Our son was diagnosed when he was 7. He's 25 now and in graduate school, so don't despair. A couple of things we did that I think were most helpful were 1) we learned s much as we could about positive parenting; 2) We got him classified so he had an IEP WITH COUNSELING by the grade school counselor; and 3) we found a child counselor to work with. When our son started 9th grade, we arranged for him to meet with a wonderful therapist who I credit for our son's adjustment. He still meets with her via Skype when he needs to discuss something! Anyway, I wonder if your son is frustrated and doesn't know yet how to express his feelings. Do you think it's "impulsive" behavior as opposed to "aggressive" behavior?" I see now that Deb's post was 2009. I'm new to CoM. Still, maybe some of the things I said are relevant to this community.

Grace - posted on 01/20/2014

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Hello,
Thanks for this post! As a mom I felt that I had failed our son. We had a very tragic incident last Nov that brought me to my knees (he attempted suicide). Nothing we had tried seemed to work with behavior at home for our 16year old. We have tried therapy and meds the last several years and professionals attributed the behavior to a new sibling, teenager transition or blended family. I believed it! Over the last two years it had progressively gotten worse. On the outside to everyone he was the perfect child, well-behaved, respectful, good in school and always willing to help. he did not get into trouble. At home his behavior became worse with yelling, lying, breaking things, over eating, staying in bed most of the time and not wanting to do anything with the family (we have 4 kids). He is now tentatively diagnosed with "mood disorder-bipolar." We also did a behavioral assessment and awaiting the results. I feel there is more to this and want to help my son. He's on Lexapro/Lamictal (prior Prozac) and therapy, but still has those moods one day happy, the next angry or sad, despair and depression. I know that something missing, he should not have to be on a roller coaster nor us and we would like some advice.

Johni - posted on 09/22/2013

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My daughter is 12 and was diagnosed Slight MR with autistic tendencies when she was 3 years old. Her behaviors have gone from just small outburst to full on battles. She has put me in the hospital twice and had 11 stitches put in my right eyebrow from a bite wound. I have been working with the local Area Education Agency, Heartland Agency, the Waukee school district, the Waukee police department, Iowa Lutheran Hospitals, and Respite Connection for years. I have Case Managers and staff helping me to take the steps to getting her placement. We have run into a snag for right now. I was told at our last hospital visit that "there are no open beds in the state of Iowa that can handle my daughter at this time" This was very upsetting to here this from a medical professional. I have done everything that I have been asked to do but there is still no place that is safe for me and my daughter.
The school system and everyone have done a very good job helping and keeping us going in the right direction. She has bitten teachers, drew blood, bruised, pooped on the floor then threw it at teachers, strips naked (because no one will touch her when she is naked) She is smart enough that she has learned how to manipulate a lot of people. And I have Thanked these people for their help with everything. If it wasn't for the school and Respite I don't know what I would have done.

Rosella - posted on 09/10/2013

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If he's having bad behaviors sit down and talk with him and if that doesnt work then you need to ground him. medical conditions shouldnt be an easy way out of punishments

Catherine - posted on 09/08/2013

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I have a 7 year old high functioning but don't think it's autism, think it's aspergers. He is an angel in school not that I mind but it would help if someone else saw the behaviours for themselves instead of suggesting parent classes. The parent class say we don't need it anyway! So we are stuck with Jekyll and Hyde until he misbehaves in school. Marvelous!

Ahlmann - posted on 04/19/2013

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@Valerie Sprinkle

Get him out of those places. First of all you need your child to be in an environment with understanding people. It may take a lot of effort and time to find this but it is worth it and your son is worth it!

Ahlmann - posted on 04/19/2013

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@Valerie Sprinkle

Get him out of those places. First of all you need your child to be in an environment with understanding people. It may take a lot of effort and time to find this but it is worth it and your son is worth it!

Jan - posted on 02/04/2013

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I am not getting my daughter;s behavior; she won't watch our puppy because she said she never wanted one. She won't be nice because she doesn't want to. Ugh. Oh and she does not want to be touched unless she wants to and who knows when that is? She's 14.

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Quoting Lili:

I found "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene to be REALLY helpful. My Aspie daughter also had issues with aggression from age 7 to 9. (She's 11 now)


I agree this book helped us a ton. We have 3 kids, 2 with aspergers. Son 14 and Daughter 9 have aspergers. Our daughter was and still is the one who gets agressive. I strongly recommend reading this book.



We also got a trampoline with a net around it and when she starts to get aggressive winter, spring or summer we will send her out to the "net" to jump. Activity helps a ton to tone down the aggressive behavoir.



Another thing we added was risperdal because she was having a huge issue with mood management and that would get all out of control for her then she would get aggressive.

Kim - posted on 05/10/2009

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My 13 year old son has Asperger's. He has outbursts on occasion and sometimes it gets really out of control. He acts out at school, at home and in public.. When he's stressed or is facing something new, he usually exhibits a lot of attention-seeking behaviors. He has resorted to destruction of property, abusive language and inappropriate actions. He is currently seeing a psychologist who specializes in counseling kids with Autism-spectrum disorders. He receives one-on-one time with his psychologist and he can vent his triggers and receive input and encouragement from someone who understands him. I receive an understanding of why my son acts out and how I can deal with it at home. Lots of great ideas never thought of. He sees his doc about once/month and likes it.

Michelle - posted on 05/07/2009

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i live in australia and in our area, the support services place that my son attends uses what we call an engine running programme....basically the goals are to teach him to be able to recognise when his engine is running too fast, too slow or just right and how to take action to adjust it himself accordingly. its been a huge help, especially since he really gets it now (took a little while) but is now able to tell us when his engine is too fast and then we know (as well as he does) that a bit of time out is needed until its right again...is good with the younger ones as it makes it simple and clear for them to understand and also helps them on their way to being able to take back some control over situations they mightn't be super comfortable with. that said, he still has days where nothing really works at all and you just have to leave him alone til he's done...its the working that part out thats the difficult bit...!!

Josie - posted on 05/03/2009

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has he been diagnosed with anything? go see a specialist...he may prescribe a med..then learn to use behavior therapy....

Josie - posted on 05/03/2009

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sounds like you're doing the right thing...behavior therapy is usually the key...

Juliet - posted on 05/03/2009

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Hi yeah have a nine year old son with same problems, being doing some work on anger with other agencies. They say the anger is down to frustration and lack of understanding. We have started a feelings book and given him bean bags to throw when he feels mad. We also send him to a chill out area when he gets out of control and they do the same at school

Heather - posted on 05/02/2009

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Sometimes public school just isn't going to work for your child. My son is 12 now and has Asperger's, he was diagnosed at 10 and at that point I pulled him from public school. Between the stress at school if your child has sensory processing problems as well, and the way other children treat them, that could be why he is acting out. My son had a very hard time, we tried to make public school work but when I saw the way his peers treated him and how his teacher dismissed him when he needed support I knew we had to find an alternative. My son loved school when he was younger but by about 4th grade he started to dread it, from the time he got on the bus in the morning, until he got home in the afternoon he was stressed out and that can make anyone angry and aggressive. I don't advise medication unless you've got no other choice, find out what is going on at school though. We're on our second year of an online public school program that is working out wonderfully.

Josie - posted on 04/30/2009

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i am in the field for over 10 years...i suggest you go see your doctor...and get some support...there are many therapies out there....unfortunately your doctor may prescribe medication...you may see a big difference....look into it....unfortunately without proper intervention....it gets worse especially in the teens....

Maria - posted on 04/30/2009

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1-2-3 Magic is wonderful!! I use it all the time. I was also told that if you are using "holds" make sure their feet are touching the floor...being off the floor makes them feel insecure like they are going to fall and it prolongs the meltdown.

Lili - posted on 04/30/2009

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Also - I absolutely agree that when there is any behaviorial episode, the MOST important thing is to figure what stimulus or emotion provoked it. Yes, you need consequences - but behavior is communication. Once she is calm, we try to figure out what caused the behavior and teach our daughter alternate ways of coping with the stimulus or emotion. At the same time, if possible, we can work to eliminate the problem.

Darlene - posted on 04/29/2009

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what meds do people use? My son has been aggressive, having meltdowns and wanting to be alone?

Deb - posted on 02/11/2009

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I can't hink you guyd enough for all your advices, it is such a huge help and a big comfort to talk to other moms facing the same issues!   I am taking every single suggestion that you gusmade and trying them out.   We just switched Dillon to a self-contained class for the time being but so far the behavioe is just as bad.  I do have hope that it will turn around once he settles him.  The teacher is amazing and there are only eight students in the class with similar issues.  Once again, thank you so much for all you help, I'm so glad that I found some support!

Darlene - posted on 02/10/2009

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WE have our son on the gluten/casein free diet which has improved his symptoms a lot.  He is also in a private school which is small so it is less socially demanding.  We have a pass worker for him 20 hours a week to help him achieve skills and in march he will join a social skills group.  Karate has helped him in the form of discipline and body awareness.  We use consequences like taking computer and video game time away and he isn't allowed to play violent video games or watch violent tv shows, even cartoons.  That is what is working for him.  He still has some aggression during transitions to non-preferred activities and when he is frustrated and cannot verbalize his feelings but we have come a long way.

Lili - posted on 02/09/2009

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I found "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene to be REALLY helpful. My Aspie daughter also had issues with aggression from age 7 to 9. (She's 11 now)

Heather - posted on 02/08/2009

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what we did with our boy was work on him noticing when he needed a BREAK. Catch the behavior before it starts. once they start the process of being angry, upset, sometimes they can't detatch from that. Movement breaks, walks... etc.. this all help gives them time to reasses what they need to be doing. If you are open to the idea of meds this is also an option they do have medicine that targets autism related aggressions. Once you find the med that works, it cn be a world of difference. Our son is on numerous meds and has never been a veg... or stare off into space, he is active, plays with his siblings, is enrolled in gymnastics classes, and is a pleasent child to be around these days!

Katherine - posted on 02/07/2009

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I'm having the same problem with my daughter. In South Africa where I live they don't take well to having Asperger children in mainstream schools and we have no specialised schools, so this kind of behaviour has her on probation at her school, my heart breaks that at 8 she's considered a threat.

G - posted on 02/03/2009

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It is very difficult. Many kids with Autism don't like to be touched. I have found it to help to be very aware of his triggers. It could be something very simple that sets it off. I am working very close with my son's teachers to be aware of what happens when they notice behaviors not appropriate for school. We have come along way and my son is starting to voice what bothers him and if they take the cues it tends to ward off any behavior. For instance, because he doesnt like to stand out in class or be touched when he para (teachers assistant) gets too close, talks to much, or touches him, he will say respect my bubble, and if they do it will thwart a negative behavior, if not, is when the panic feeling comes out and he will act out. He also wants so bad to be "normal" and will try to act like other kids and tends to mimic the naughty kids and they tend to take advantage of him. We really try to set an example to redirect his attention and watch closely his dealings with these other kids. Alot of sensory things and breaks in his day also helps. He is really overwhelmed with alot of activity, noise and ANY change to his routine. Which routine can be difficult to plan for especially when his teacher is out sick, but we try to give him a little notice but not to much so he doesnt dwell on it, and work toward a goal for this time. I hope this helps a little. It is very hard road, filled with trial and error, but eventually you will find little things that make your child's day go a bit smoother and happier.

Melony - posted on 02/03/2009

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We have a 9 year old with the same issues.  We used to be able to sit down and do the "pretzel" with him, wrapping our arms and legs around him.  This would help calm him so he wouldn't hurt himself or others.  Now that he is bigger (big for his age), that is impossible.  We have had him go outside and run around the house a couple times to get rid of some of the aggression, but that doesn't work anymore either.  We don't know what to do when he gets aggressive and refuses to listen.

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