Has anyone's child with Aspergers/ADHD injured or killed pet?

Jennifer - posted on 06/20/2011 ( 23 moms have responded )

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My 10 year old son dx with ADHD, Asperger's and Anxiety D/O recently put our dog in the pool and it drowned. We were inside at the time and he later stated he was angry because the dog scratched him and didn't "like" him. He came running for help but it was too late. My extended family are all saying he should be institutionalized, but we do not feel that is the solution. Anyone else that has been through something similar would certainly be appreciated.

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Jennifer - posted on 06/22/2011

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Also, I would just like to add that comments that are obvious but offer no help should be left out of comments. This forum should be a place where there are no judgements made. As a clinical social worker myself for 13 years in the field of mental health, I have been on the outside looking in at similar situations, however, when it happens in your family, it is very painful. With regard to him feeling remorse, he has expressed sorrow about what he did. The point here was to find out what SOLUTIONS would be possible to help him not to do this again.

Katherine - posted on 06/21/2011

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You need to get him a therapist ASAP. That was an unacceptable and sad thing to do. Does he have a therapist you can call? He needs to talk about this, I'm sure he is feeling bad?

Christa - posted on 06/26/2011

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Jennifer,
I don't think this sort of behavior is all that uncommon & certainly don't believe that your son should be institutionalized over it. My son has often behaved aggressively toward pets, particularly if they come too close to him or touch him. I think it has alot to do with sensory problems and lack of empathy/other perspective taking. He has recently stated that he likes one of the cats because she never comes up to him or tries to touch or rub against him. I monitor my son closely around pets and other children to try to intervene early. He is sternly reprimanded with concrete explanation of which specific action was wrong & why it was wrong. Other people, even extended family, often don't realize that these children do not intuitively know many of their behaviors are wrong & that the aggression is typically an instinctive reaction to a perceived threat (noises, smells, touch, etc.) Good luck with your son & remember that you know him best of all. Listen to your own instincts & not to less than helpful comments by others who cannot possibly understand. God bless & know that you are not alone.

Jennifer - posted on 06/22/2011

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Thanks to all who responded to my post. We saw his psychiatrist yesterday and he explained that there was and is no need for institutionalization or hospitalization. My son is already in a social skills/anger management group once a week. We are not getting any more pets, at least for several years to come to see if he progresses. The dr. explained that children with Aspergers can most benefit from intense social skills training where empathy and emotional responses are discussed. He also provided me with a new resource that may be able to provide home intervention (ABA, suggestions for improvement in our daily life to help him more, etc.) There are no other children in our home, but we do have grandchildren that visit. He is now even more closely monitored than previously. The doctor explained that these children are often "robotic" in their responses to situations. He is a very loving boy much of the time. The sensory difficulties you mentioned was a great idea to look into further.

Bec - posted on 06/22/2011

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I have heard of pets getting hurt by kids before He should not be locked up just find a good pshyc you can open up to and all get the right help you need for a better out come with his impulsive behaviour. he probably quite a loving fellow just needs assistance with his way of managing

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Vanessa Van - posted on 07/14/2014

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Well they have No remorse and move on like nothing happened. They need to be tought life skills from the beginning and because they mimic other peoples emotions and feeling does not meen they dont care. No they simple dont understand or feel consuquinse like you and me. They dont miss you either when you not around. its a strange weird world to You.

Nikkity - posted on 11/16/2012

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Are you absolutely certain your child is ASD and not anti-social? I find that nowadays anti-social children are being labeled aspergers because they lack empathy. Nobody seems to want to call a cute little kid a sociopath any more, but I can assure you all they still exist. I am an aspie and would NEVER have intentionally hurt anyone. I can react angrily if someone (human or pet) touches me without invitation or creates a noise that is painful, but that is only in attempts to get the sensation to stop. I would not act in retaliation after the problem was solved and never could I see any person or creature, let alone a family member, in need of help (struggling in a pool, for instance) and not help it.. My concern with your son is that you didn't say he accidentally flung the dog in the pool while he was being scratched but that he "put" the dog in the pool AFTER being scratched. I am not saying it isn't possible that it's an ASD thing, but I wouldn't R/O ASPD if there are symptoms to support that diagnosis. I meet a lot of sociopathic children and I see how they behave with pets and other children. If they were my own kids, I would have them institutionalized because I couldn't feel right knowing they might hurt someone's pet/child. Maybe some adult aspies could comment on this. In the meantime, if your child is a high functioning asperger's with obvious lack of empathy, look for other key signs of sociopathology. Lying and exaggerating is very popular with ASPD (they can't help but lie because of the way they form memories) but being very literal and truthful is common in the asperger's child. It is probably possible for a child to have both conditions, also. I am just concerned that some parents might assume a child will grow out of something that isn't possible to outgrow. An fMRI will tell you if your child (once old enough to communicate verbally) is ASD, sociopathic, or both.



For the parents who now may think their child has ASPD and not asperger's I have good news- Your child has excellent potential to succeed in business or politics. You may have a kid who will knife you in your sleep, but if you can get past the teen years, you may just find yourself retiring early as your millionaire child makes a big life for himself and treats you to his wealth.

Alysia - posted on 06/27/2011

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just dont leave him alone with a pet my ASD son always gets madd at our pets like they are other children argueing with him we never leave him alone with them nore do we leave him alone cept in his room and in the bathroom of course. Ive seen typical kids hurt pets not realizeing they could actually do it. One of my friend girls put her cat in a toy box to get it away from her and it died. hes 10 and dont understand that the dog was a real thing with feelings the better thing to do is take him to learn these things befor it becomes a person part of this is his disablilty not him just being mean

Julie - posted on 06/26/2011

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My daughter gets angry with her brother and beats him. But has never been mean to our ferret. I disagree with your family. That is NOT the place for your son.

Bec - posted on 06/26/2011

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sorry was late I prob did not inturperate yourpost properly and I totally get what your saying so true.....we are all unique at ages and stages and in life....It's a crazy place LOL!!

Laura - posted on 06/26/2011

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@ Bec- I was not suggesting that a child with a DD should be given free license to behave in any way they choose- I am just stating that the individual abilities of everyone should be considered when dealing with many situations . It is called a spectrum and the human condition is a spectrum as well. We can't expect all children to act exactly alike or to be on par with each other as far as ability is concerned. My step son is non verbal, should I expect him to behave the same as his NT sisters who have a voice? No, without voice he resorts to behavior to get your attention- he has learned what behavior is inappropriate and understands to not hit self or others but should i just say, well he needs to speak up if he has a problem, instead of resorting to crying, etc. No I should say I need to pay more attention to his needs and what his behavior means to help him get what he wants or needs.
he has 2 NT sisters, one is 6 one is 4, should I expect the 4 y/o to regulate her emotions as well as the 6 y/o? no she doesnt have that ability yet. each child is different based on many things - that is what i am trying to convey.

Bec - posted on 06/26/2011

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oh and by me saying needs more supprt I am sure he gets this at home just you need more from proffessionals to help you help him to work through the situations that trigger his aggression or impulsivness.He is not bad just needs more stratages to use instead and what stratagies depends on his inderviduall triggers.the pros. should beable to help you asses what these are and what you can do to teach him other wise along with exposing him in a controlled environment to put that into practice.he will improve just takes time and patience.has nothing to do with his over all character as a person it is all apart of his condition that everyone has to learn about to help him

Bec - posted on 06/26/2011

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Yeah I can see what you are saying laura but they still have to learn whats acceptable and what isn't and their dis. doesn't give em a licence to go nuts and do whatever one just has to work harded and at times rally proffessionals and get them assistance to change some behaviours as no parent wants them to either repeat certian things or loose relationships with the people around them.They are the best kids just need a tad more support and different teaching styles to work this crazy world out LOL

Laura - posted on 06/25/2011

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i think many times people expect those on the spectrum to behave as someone who is not- if a child not on the spectrum drowned a pet then yes a freak out might be an understandable response(especially at 10 y/o).
Sometimes people just don't seem to realize we sometimes must meet the child with a DD where he/ she is, not the other way around.

Bonita - posted on 06/25/2011

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I am so pleased you were able to get some answers and that the Drs. agree that your home is the best place for him. Your love and presence is more important than you know! I wish you and your family the best!

Bec - posted on 06/25/2011

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i think the more exposue gives you more opportunity to educate him and build on his relationships with animals and people. if you don't expose him he won't learn and you won't have an oppotunity to teach. it is hard to keep confronting the fear but it will work and do it when you have time to devote to the situation so no one or anything gets hurt and new stratagies you learn from the proffessionals can be used.

Bec - posted on 06/25/2011

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yeah i aggree he should not be excluded from family, kids and pets just monited and therapy etc...

Jennifer - posted on 06/24/2011

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get as much help as you caan for your child now... i have had this happen with our cat but it was at age 11. if you dont it could get worse. but there is help help look to your mental health facility and if they do not help try a private one. as for pets we have pets and will continue to have them. my son is now 23 and he has a son, fiance and cat.. and if anything was to hurt them he would be upset. therapy and meds help alot
things like this can happen but some how some way they do grow out of it. dont ask me how but i have been dealing wih this since my son was 5
they boys are more prown to vilance then girls. plus change in enviroment makes a difference try to keep them the same
i hope this helps

Katherine - posted on 06/22/2011

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That's great he's starting ABA. It is so effective and rewarding. I did it for 5 years. It's amazing to see the changes in the child.

Bec - posted on 06/22/2011

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i agree we get judged as special needs families enough.He is still young and will learn with the interventions andhelp you are getting him, anyone would be in a bit of shock after that experience. As for family they probably were shocked when they made those comments about your little man. People do and say strange stuff when shocked, take care.Like they say never say never!!! It bites you on the bum some day!!

Terri - posted on 06/21/2011

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I can only think of one thing: does he have any younger siblings? If so, his presence in your home could be dangerous for them. If not, don't get anymore pets until you get him into therapy and he works out for himself why it was wrong to put the dog in the pool. I'm sure he felt justified at the moment it happened, but it certainly wasn't an appropriate response and needs to be addressed asap. My granddaughter broke her Easter chick's neck when she was 4. She is ADHD and while she doesn't have Aspergers, she had terrible impulse control. Lots of therapy over the past 4 years has helped her quite a bit.

Bonita - posted on 06/21/2011

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As a teacher I have been aware of this happening. What I was told by parents was that they later found out that it was a sensory issue...the pet smelled too strong (hamster), hurt when it licked (cat), or was painful to hear barking. I agree that you should look into some therapy to help him deal with these strong feelings. He needs to learn other ways to deal with the feelings that made him kill the pet and to find coping mechanisims to deal with future sensory issues.

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