Would disciplineing my 8 year old son with aspergers be concidered abuse?

Brandy - posted on 11/22/2009 ( 11 moms have responded )

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I am looking for advice on what I can do or not do with my kids. I have an 8 year old with Asperger's and a 2 year old. Both are running wild. I have had enough with my kids not listening to me. And I know they both understand me. But they act as if they dont and do what ever they little heart want. I cant do any where with my son he. He runs wild. Screaming and barking at people and humming. My 2 year old screams when she is told to do anything and then when not to she still does it even after I spank her. She will look at me and do it anyways. I woke up this morning to my glasses and cell phone in pieces and last week my son called 911 and clammed that my neighbors were fighting. This was at 3 am. So now I sleep with him locked in my room with me at night just so that I can sleep. He argues with everything I tell him to do. I am a single mom and I don't have support from any where he is so bad I had to homeschool him just to get him an education. I get calls from school every day to come and get him. He bit a kid or he threaten to to kill a child one day at school and got suspended. I am begging if anyone has any advice on want to get my children under control please tell me. I know they understand me and are both very smart. But I have tryed everything. Time out, taking things away,grounding, nothing works. When I talk to my son and ask him why he does things like this he tell me. Because he cant help it. He has too. If I cant get him under control I dont know what I an going to do.

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Heather - posted on 11/30/2009

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I would first make sure he understands that reward and punishment are diredct results of his behavior. My son has aspergers and he was in 8th grade when he told his worker that he didn't understand peoples behavior toward him. He thought that whether he was rewarded or punished was completely at the whim of the adults in his life. he made no connection what so ever to his bahavior. I would take time to come up with a structured reward/penalty system- with visuals (sticker board, chore chart etc.) and sit down and explain it to him very clrealy - make sure he knows that he is free to ask questions about anything he doesn't understand during this "training session". Once the plan is in place - stick to it. I am a single mom too and I know how hard that can be, but it is essential if you want his behavior to change.

Leticia - posted on 11/29/2009

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I don't think spanking is the solution to this problem. Children with AU already have an aggressive side to them , so showing them that hitting to get control is not the way to go. I have found that earning rewards/ removing privilidges has worked best. If the school has developed FBA (functional behavior assessment) to find out what is causing the problem and developed at BIP(behvaior intervention plan), use it at home as well, the consistency across the board will help the child understand it better.
As far as the school saying he does not qualify for special ed services, you keep fighting them on that. He may not qualify for a unit that applies to students with cognitive deficits, but there is a behavior mastery center class that helps deal with their behavior while getting on level instruction. They use this class as a cool off place and social skills lessons while getting mainstreamed as much as possible.

Vikki - posted on 11/28/2009

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Your 2-year-old is just doing the normal toddler testing of his parents. Your 8-year-old should be disciplined. Just because he has Asperger's does not mean that he doesn't know right from wrong. Also, have you had a neurologist test him for ADD/ADHD? Autism affects the same part of the brain as ADHD and is common in children in the Austic Spectrum. My son is in the austistic spectrum and has ADHD. He is now on medication and it is easier to tell which behaviors are disobedience and which are part of the Autistic Spectrum.

Brandy - posted on 11/28/2009

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I have with a Dr here. He was on Risperidone for along time since he was 3 years old till he was 8 When he started to have uncontrollable moment from the medication. The doctor changed it from that to stratara and seraquell. I have yet to find a medication that works for him longer than 6 month his body get use to it and then it has to be changed. He has ADHD as well so i am not sure. I love my son I dont know how life would be with out him. Even though I know he still thinks like a 4 year old. I have been trying the time out corner for the last week and let me tell you it works. I set a timer and start at 4 minutes and ever time he does something wrong I add a min and I keep adding min if he miss behaves or does not do what is asked of him. We get up to about 15 to 20 min some time and he finally give up and sits there quietly untill the bell rings. Its Working for both.

Tracey - posted on 11/27/2009

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Brandy your story is so similar to mine. 2005 my son Adam started school at a private school. I had been getting reports from the day care that he was in for three year that his behaviour was becoming very wild and dangerous but put it down to boredom. At school with certain subjects he could not concentrate with the slightest noise - he would get frustrated and lash out both physically and verbally. He needed routine, if the routine changed ie: relief teacher, school trip etc he would again lash out, run off. Because he was at a Private school IEP was not an option, the school councilor was hopeless. Six months down the track three mothers got together and had a meeting with the Principle about Adam stating that either he went or they would take there children out of the school. We were asked to leave or they would expel Adam. We left of course. We went to a public school in the country, smaller classes. His behaviour got worse even resorting to punching adults. The Principle was receiving complants from parents but she stuck by us, keeping me in the loop all the time. I felt for the parents as I would have been doing the same thing but also angry as they were being so short sighted and 'dishing' my parenting skills. I would scoot into school with my head down to pick Adam and scoot out trying not to make eye contact with anyone - I was so embarrassed. Adam stated that he could not control his behaviour, it just happened...he had to do it. Thank god for the Public system! The school worked on getting routines up and running in the classroom. If there is a school trip I am with him. If there is a relief teacher they notify me and I take him out of school for the day. If Adam felt he was going to loose control he had a quiet spot to go to out of the class room where he could quieten down. This was all great but Adam still could not control his behaviour when frustration and anxiety set in, consequences were not a deterant... that was the last thing he was thinking about when his brain was screaming for relief which he only found by lashing out. Jan 2008 we licked out of another holiday program so as a last resort I went to a Pediatrican. It was the best thing I had ever done. With all the info from the school and Education Board the Dr diagnosed Adam with Aspergers and Anxiety.We started on light drugs to help. We are now on Risperidone and what a tranformation. Adam was invited to two Birthday parties this year...first time ever. He is happy, he has friends, he play sports, he has sleep overs, his is part of the class and is the class 'Computer Wizard' - the kids call on him if they get stuck with a computer program. The phone calls from the school to come pick him up have stopped. Adam still gets angry and frustrated but is learning to ascertain when he is going to blow and takes himself out of the situation to calm down. He accepts that he will get bumped and knock about in the jossle of school life and does not lash out anymore. Yes there are still moments, but we are surprised how the other kids just accept this. There are a still a few parents anti but most are accepting and absorbing the information about Autism and Aspergers that is passed on through the weekly news letter at school.

Pheww thats a bit long winded I know but just wanted to relay there is hope. My advice is see a Pediatrician. Yes they cost money and there is the stigma about using drugs but they are well worth it in the end. They can diagnose him rather quickly and help you out with something the help him calm down and process thing rationally. Get a routine going at home, with concequenses and a quiet spot(time out spot) for both children. You may find when you start using this space they will get up and walk away. Put them back...tedious I know but they soon get the picture. Spanking is something you need to decide whether it is working or not. Is it just us releiving the anxiety we have in a physical way? Dont get me wrong...I have been known to smack Adam when nothing else works. I brought an 'I can do' chart off the internet that has an award system so when he gets enough points we go do things he enjoys. Once the Dr has helped clear your sons angry thoughts he will start to learn and behave better. You need time out... look at going back to school and day care again, just part time and a new one if you can and do ask for help. It will be a slow process but it will happen. Adam and I have a great life now - he is so happy, well adjusted and all mine! I am so proud of him, the hurdles he has overcome. I am proud to be his Mother.

Debbie - posted on 11/27/2009

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Yes, all children need 'discipline' but my opinion is to NEVER spank an Asperger or autistic child. It does not work. It only makes them more angry and agressive. Yes, you can 'beat' a child into submission eventually, but they will either turn their anger internally or they will find another child or pet that they can beat on. The trick to living with an AS child is to remain calm and provide as calm and safe environment as possible. I know that isn't always easy, especially when you are a single parent. But children will feed off of our moods. If we are stressed, they get stressed, and they are already so stressed and don't have the emotionally ability to deal with it. Sounds like you are at the end of your rope. Do you have any family or friends that can give you support and a 'break'? Perhaps even someone to take the 2 yr old for awhile so that you can spend calm one-on-one time with your older son. The adage about moms taking care of themself first is especially true with special needs kids. You really need to find some counseling, or a support group, and some way to relieve your stress and learn how to keep your anxiety down while dealing with the kids. Learning how to 'respond' and not 'react' to their behaviors is really the key. This is a tough journey we are on here and we can't do it alone. I hope you can find someone who can help you out.

Kellie - posted on 11/26/2009

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As Terri mentioned discipline is very important to Aspergers children and i find that using my sons fixation as a reward does help to encourage him in many ways and also keeps him in line when he is being difficult! I have also spoke to his school about this and they use it within school time too that way he is not trying to follow different sets of rules as you are aware routine is important to our children. You have to remember this will not work over night persistance is the key. I dont think 'spanking' is the key as your son will relate this to part of his behaviour not a consiquence to it! It's sad that your sons school does not want to deal with his behaviour and i to had this with my son unfortunatley i had to change his school! as for your daughters behaviour i think alot of it is just following her brothers ways whatever rules you use for your son try then on your daughter too once your son hopefully improves so will your 2yr old! Good luck!

Julie - posted on 11/26/2009

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Get an IEP for school to include an inclusion aide to be there with your son throughout his day, get help from an Autism support group in your area. The school is required to provide a Free and Appropriate Public Educatin. It sounds like they haven't done what is appropriate for your son.

You don't have to spank. I never spank my children. However, like Terri, I am consistent and logical in consequences for their behavior. It helps that this has been the case from the beginning. You will have some trouble because they will want to test you to see if you will bend or give in. Stick to it. It won't last forever. Catch them being good and praise them for this as often as you can. Give reward of time with you and doing stuff that they like.

Joan is right. you are your son's advocate and you need to keep fighting to get what you both need. There are resources available but they aren't always advertised. Check with your State and County. We have resources available to help from both in California. Good luck.

Terri - posted on 11/25/2009

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Discipline is very important to a child with Aspergers. I used to manage a group home for children with this, as well as my son suffers from it. I can tell you it will be a living hell at first, but it will be worth it. You have to set firm guidelines and expectations. If he doesn't follow them then there are also set results. Things have to be very black and white, specially at first. If they break something, they have to clean it up and then lose something they value. My son was expelled in 1st grade because of his behaviors, and I was a single mom at the time as well with 2 other children. If he screams he would have to start with 5 minutes quite, if he talked it started over. Hitting him will do nothing, just as taking things away won't at first either. You need to find what he fixates on and use that as a reward/punish system. Asperger's usually have one area that they excell at. My son's is similar to enginerering. So his reward was materials to make something with. Do a chart or something tangable that he can see. Show good behavior, a goal, and bad behavior. Do the same with your daughter so that he won't feel picked on.

Brandy - posted on 11/23/2009

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My son did have an IEP. But the thing was is that according to the school he does not have aspergers he is emotionally disturber. Last year alone he got electrocuted in the class room when a student dared him to stick paper clips in the outlet. And then they call me and leave a message on my voice mail that they know for certin that he did it and I need to talk to him about lying. They let him go wild because they dont want to deal with him. When I would go to his school I felt like everone was giving me the evil eye. I have asked and demanded that he be placed back in a special needs class room but they told me he didnt qualify to be back there. I am coming to the conclusion that he functional age of about 4 years old. ( I am baseing this off things he like to do and the way I see that he thinks. Like playing playing with toys that are meant for younger kids. He love his hot wheels and now is getting in to legos. I do spank him but it don't seem to work. He diagnose is Aspergers w/ ADHD moderate he has sensory integration. pain does not register to him very easy.

Joan - posted on 11/22/2009

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Get that child an IEP and yes discipline him, it is not abuse. I would recommend spanking him because my guess is that he is having problems with putting together consequences with actions, get behavior therapy for him and have him tested for any other disorder such as adhd that can contribute a lot to his wildness. Your daughter is learning from him, you need to start slow and discipline according to his functional age not cronological. My son I can only put him in time out for 2 1/2 minutes because that is where he is at even though he is six. Get a phsychological evaluation to get the whole picture. And do not let the schools push him or you around, he can sense where he is not wanted and will act accordingly it is their job to help too read up on the rights for your son IDEA and Americans with Disabilities Act. You are the only one who is going to advocate for him and once he sees this he will fall more into line cause he will see you standing up for him. Find a local support group and they will help you handle the stress and lead you in the right directions as far as getting him and you help.

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