My son is 9 with autism, when will the aggression get better?

[deleted account] ( 29 moms have responded )

I could really use a pick me up! My son has moderately functioning autism and his behavior is becoming more stubborn and more aggressive with age. I cannot control his outbursts. I am afraid he will seriously hurt someone someday. I am adjusting to "having patience of steel", but sometimes i feel very defeated and I feel like it will never get better. It is getting harder to live this way. I miss having a life outside of my home. I want to go on vacation and I want to enjoy my other child. My son controls how we do EVERYTHING! I love him and I love being his Mom, but I am emotionally tired! Please help!

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Laura - posted on 11/24/2013

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I feel like I have just read what my life is like....I am dealing with the same thing with my 10 yr. old. His is diagnosed with PDD, NOS, ADHD, ODD, and mood disorder. I also have another son who is 12 with PDD, NOS, ADHD, and MR. My 10 year old runs the show and I feel like my other son is taking a back seat because he will explode at any moment. He is so unstable. He was taking Risperdal and it was a great drug for him, but he developed the gynecomastia (man boobs) from it, so we had to wean him off that drug. We tried Seroquel and that was a nightmare. Now we are on Geodon. It is not working. I believe his psychiatrist may try Abilify now. He has put on almost 20 lbs. since the Risperdal. I would rather have a child with a bit of weight on him than a child that is uncontrollable. He was at his best when on the Risperdal. I feel so helpless at times. I want to help him so badly. And when is in "rage" mode, I know he cannot control himself at that time. But he is so unsafe at that time. He was almost admitted to a inpatient psych facility prior to the Risperdal. It is a great drug as long as you don't get the side effects, but unfortunately my son did. This is such a horrible thing to deal with, not only for me, but especially my son. He hates being the way he is. It is completely heartbreaking.

Deborah - posted on 01/27/2012

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I don't know if your child is non-verbal but my son is. He says very few words. If your child speaks at all, you have an advantage over me :) This is something I posted as an update for a similar topic I have been struggling with: "Well, I have been trying to give my son a label for his emotions when he is feeling them (I can tell what he is feeling somewhat of course by his behavior and sounds). I started with 'mad' because this is the emotion most associated with the aggression. He has begun saying 'ma' for 'mad' as that is his level of speech-the first couple letters of words. I had to teach him the 'mmm' sound first with repitition. When he gets aggressive, I have been ignoring the slaps/kicks with no eye contact and no reaction. I ask him 'are you mad?' with a calm quiet tone. Then I cue him by telling him 'say mad' (repeating it if I have to), when he tries I tell him 'good job saying mad'. Sometimes I don't need the cue, he will answer my question with 'ma!' now we need to take care of him yelling it out (leading by example). It didn't take long for him to realize that using his emotion words is a lot easier and more of a relief than hitting and kicking. If he is really upset, I try to redirect to another activity like a book or his fidget/sensory item after he says 'ma'. He sometimes finds the need to say it a few times so each time I tell him 'good job saying mad' and I try to remain as calm and quiet as I can, remembering emotions are transferable and that he has sound sensitivity. I have started with the next emotions-Sad and Happy-so that he might understand there is a difference between labels, there are many emotions and that all of them are ok to feel. This has been a learning opportunity for both of us. The aggression has minimized considerably, I am so proud of him! Although all kids with Autism are different, I wanted to share this because the more tools you have in your toolkit, the better chance you have of getting the job done."

Bruce - posted on 01/31/2013

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I work in a jr. high with adult sized children with autism that are very violent. the best advice i can give is to wrestle playfully, get your child a weighted vest, or give them tasks like moving furniture or heavy things. they have impulses that make them want to do physical things. If there brain is telling them to fight or be phisical, they're muscles being tired might not allow it.

Darlene - posted on 09/04/2013

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I had the same problem...my daughter would not only always be upset but, flap her hands constantly. It looked like it hurt. I took her to 6 Neurologist and a child psychiatrist. The child psychiatrist insisted in giving her antipsychotic meds and I did try Resperidal and others which instead gave a new set of symptoms. I was a crying mess! I started looking into research on the nervous system. I found that vitamin B6 100mcg, B12 100mcg, Magnesium 250mg and St. John Wort once a day can help the nervous system relax and be able to communicate much better. I consulted with her child psychriatrist first to make sure it was safe since he is a Doctor. He explained that it was safe and that St. John Wort would help her with her moods since it works on the serotonin levels. It took 3 months to see improvement and she has been on it since she was 10 years old and now she is 14. I am really glad and I thank God everyday. Her moods swings balanced out and the repetitive behavior and really decreased! My heart goes out to you... I know that pain for what the future holds we don't know...we have to take it day by day or a mother can lose it Lol...be happy good things will come!

Meredith - posted on 09/17/2013

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I am completly on board with you i have a 6 1/2 yr old boy who has ADHD, ODD and potential high functioning Autism ( i say that because we are trying Namenda on him and if it works they are saying he has it). We kinda were stuck because the therapist didnt know what to do, if you tell him no it could end up in a huge fit, hitting, kicking, bitting, spitting, cusing etc its hte most aweful thing to deal with it is like he turns into the devil and i use that term because he is a totally different child. we had to turn to meds otherwise he would have to be put in a home because we couldnt control him, with the meds he is on it helps greatly we have some problems in the morning but for the most part its getting better, we also see the therapist once a week and doc every 3 months, i know what you are feeling its hard to stay calm in that situation as he is hurting you and everything else. honestly i just recently turned to lexapro for myself because i am always on edge and never know when he is going to have in outburst it has helped so much. honestly putting him on meds has been the hardest decision ever but we have a family friend who we maybe see once a month and we didnt tell him our son was on meds and when he was over he is like wow he has really matured. no it was the meds also without the meds he cannot function at school we found this out recently. good luck hang in there you are not alone.

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Heather - posted on 07/20/2014

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i really can't help my son is 15 and is still having the outburst of anger and he has hurt ppl before but when he was younger it was multiple times a day now maybe once a month

Kammy - posted on 05/26/2014

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This is exactly what we are going through. My 13 year old was diagnosed with aspergers and depression. He was doing great on the Risperdal also unless he missed a dose. He gained a lot of weight fast and when he would miss a dose, just one dose the next day would be just as bad as it was before he was even on the medication. I have taken him of the risperdal and he is only on celexa, but it doesn't help with the anger or violent outbursts. I am very interested in trying 5 HTP as I saw it on Dr. Oz and was wandering if any one has tried this and does it work. I am going to talk to his doctor about it but wanted to know if anyone has an opinion on this.

Cheyenne - posted on 09/01/2013

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I hate to be the person that posts for personal reasons on here, but I'm trying to write a play about autism and I noticed that the way you're all describing your children, is what I need to know, not the medical definitions. If you'd be so kind as to check out my post: http://www.circleofmoms.com/autismasperg... I'd be eternally grateful for your contributions. Or, if you'd prefer, I'm looking for one specific piece of help for one scene in my play. I'm going to use names and one word descriptions that mothers have given me as to what autism means to them. This can be from your perspective, your child's, society's, whatever but for example I received a comment from one mother that said, "saintly", so I'll use her name, (with permission), and her word, as part of the last scene in my play. If you want to just reply to this comment, that'd be equally wonderful. Thank you in advance for your bravery and your love.

Jennifer - posted on 08/30/2013

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I completely understand your situation. In your case you should consider supplements. There are some very good ones (5HTP, GABA, etc.). These are not medications and won’t affect his awareness or make him sleepy. They are natural supplements that feed the brain substances that it may be lacking. I don’t like medicating my son, won’t even try it, but I tried the supplements after reading about all the good results people have had with them. I definitely recommend them. I noticed the difference in my son’s behavior right away. Even his teacher asked me what I did. Just do some research about it to find the ones that would be best for your son’s age and condition. I wish you the best of success.

Venitta - posted on 08/18/2013

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My son is 7 years old and has " Cri du Chat syndrome." He also has Sensory Processing disorder. I completely understand and can relate to Missing out life outside of our home. I have a 16 year old daughter and a 13 year old son. I feel like they have been robbed of experiencing so much life, because of my youngest. They love their baby brother so much. We all do. It's just heartbreaking to know we can't just up and go on vacation as a WHOLE family or even to a restaurant. On top of the sensory, there is the aggression and tantrums that are part of my sons syndrome. It literally paralizes you as a family!

Jenifer - posted on 04/06/2013

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My seven year old has classic autism. He was also diagnosed with a mood disorder and ADD. Medication an a great child psychiatrist have made a huge difference with aggression and other mood issues. I have four children all together so I know your frustration.

Agnieszka - posted on 04/04/2013

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I believe biomedical and diet/nutrition/supplementation has made the biggest difference for us. A starting point is Julie Matthews nutrition work. Learn about diet and biomedical--its been a long and complicated biomedical/diet journey for us, but I feel like it makes a difference.

Paula - posted on 02/28/2012

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My non-verbal son is 9 and so are two other boys I know with autism. All three of our sons aggression has escalated. Have you learned anything that helped?

Nik - posted on 06/17/2011

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I have 3 kids- 2 of those are boys. One (12) was diagnosed with ASD, ADHD in 07 also. My middle boy (11) was diagnosed with sevear aggressive disorder:| in 08. Our lives are constantly being re arranged to suit the boys needs, without much disruption. We slowly insert small changes so there is no over the top anxiety behaviours. We haven't managed a vacation as yet but are positive it will happen. Theres no time limit on how/when it'll get better and or easier. There's only perserverance. As they grow, so will thier anxiety levels. One alternative I use for my eldest is a punching bag - Don't sound like much but it works.

[deleted account]

Elizabeth....I read so many of these things and tear up all the time!! It makes me realize I am not the only one who feels this way! It makes me feel less crazy!! Lol

[deleted account]

Thank you all so much. My son is on Abilify and he does have a BIP. I am trying to utilize all the services available to me. We just started respit care, hopefully I can now enjoy my lovely daughter some more. She is an amazing 10 year old...my Angel!! Not everyday is a bad one, but the bad days are usually super bad. Thanks be to God, we had a pretty goid week. I know it wil get better, I just get frustrated and overwhelmed. Hugs to you all.

Elizabeth - posted on 05/27/2011

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i wish i knew when it will get better my son is 8 though like a year younger than yours

Elizabeth - posted on 05/27/2011

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omg! you took the words out of my mouth and brought tears to my eyes my feelings exzactly

April - posted on 05/27/2011

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I so know ur pain I have a 13 yr old with some of the same issues he is dxed with Aspbergers, ODD, SID GAD has A seziure diorderand has some big time mood issues, Taking him somewhere new out of routine is like id rather stick pins in my face.. Loud whinny and gets mad and aggressive. Is ur son on anymeds my son is on Nortrplyine for moods and agression have seen a lil change, I know u can do this and with age thing seem to get somewhat better or different so pray have faith and God will give u what u need.
April Mom to 7

Roberta - posted on 05/27/2011

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Not sure what state you are in but have you contacted the Autism Society? There are many non profit agencies which will help you to find resources. Also a SPEICIALIST COULD DEVELOP A BEHAVIOR PLAN OR HIS SCHOOL COULD DO THE SAME KEEP ASKING FOR SUPPORT SOME AGENCIES HAVE FUNDING TO PROVIDE FAMILY HELP WITH CHILDCARE< RESPITE OR IN HOME SUPPORTS DEPENDING ON YOUR INSURANCE AND WHERE YOU LIVE> INFO LINE AND ON LINE THERE ARE MANY RESOURCES KEEP UP YOUR WONDERFUL LOVE AND PATIENCE AS A PERSON WORKING WITH FAMILIES I SEND YOU HOPE AND PEACE KEEP DOING WHAT YOUR ARE DOING!!!!

Jackie - posted on 05/26/2011

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my son is also 9, and just like your son he has begun having fits of rage, stubbornness and being aggressive. He is now home schooled by his school districts choice for the remainder of the school year. We have added Zoloft and this seems to be helping him control his emotions. He is also on clonodine for sleeping at night. the more stressed i am the more he was seeming to act out. i know what you are going through. I have 2 kids with special needs, it is a very demanding, stressful job, but like you i love being their mother. It will get better. Medication and therapy are the answer. hope this helps. email me if you would like to chat more. jritt38@yahoo.com

Lisa - posted on 05/25/2011

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I hope you have a friend or family member you can count on to watch your son sometimes so you can take breaks. My husband and I take turns doing things with our daughter so she has some time away from her brother.
It's important for you to have time for yourself, as well, so you can recharge your batteries.

Lisa - posted on 05/25/2011

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Does your son have any OCD-like symptoms along with his aggression? Is he on any medications or on a special diet? My 11 year old son with ASD has also been diagnosed with early puberty so, we know changing hormones are an issue right now. He is pre-verbal so we know he gets very frustrated when trying to communicate. The Autism Specialist at his school wrote up a Behavior Plan for his IEP. He kicks, hits, cries and screams quite often. Because he also has OCD-like symptoms, we had him tested for strep titers in his blood, which were high. We work with a DAN! (Defeat Autism Now) Doctor. We thought the aggression might be PANDAS related. (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcus). We'll be discussing treatment options with the doctor soon. Not only did he have many PANDAS symptoms but he also had many symptoms of yeast overgrowth and/or gut flora dysbiosis. We had his stool tested and are waiting for the results. He's also had IgE and IgG blood tests for food allergies and sensitivities and has been on a special diet for awhile. He self limits his diet due to sensory issues so, he is also on several nutritional supplements. We believe this has helped improve his behavior. So far we have avoided prescription drugs because the side effects sound worse than what we're already going through. We will consider using them if necessary. It is our goal to try to figure out the causes of the symptoms so they can be avoided and/or treated at the source. The next thing we might try at the suggestion of the DAN! doctor is lithium orotate. He said that can be very helpful with aggression. I've read that 5-HTP can help with aggression but we haven't tried that. We also give him cod liver oil and vitamin D which are supposed to help reduce anxiety and depression and seem to help.
My heart goes out to you. I know how frustrating it can be to want to go out and do things and not be able to out of fear of my son's outbursts. My son is tall for his age and very strong so we are working very hard to help him feel better.

Felecia - posted on 05/24/2011

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It's a long process but you have to take steps everyday. Does your son take medicine for his aggression? I am the mother of a teenager with autism and a special education teacher and my experience has shown me that medicine coupled with therapy really can change behaviors and give you your life back. If you feel trapped, imagine how your child must feel. Aggressive behavior does not go away by itself and it's best to address it mow before the hormones kick in.

Jamie - posted on 05/24/2011

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My son is adhd and microcephaly at age 8. we have had him tested for autism sd and they have been inconclusive. Most likely he is extremely high functioning aspergers type disorder. He bagan having outbursts and fits of anger every day. We were worried because he is a danger to himself and others. He would just flip out and take off running, spitting, kicking, screaming, throwing things etc. We have just in the last 6 months implemented the use of clonodine into his daily routine. We have used it to help him sleep for 2 years but now we give him 1/2 at breakfast and lunch. it seems to help with the anxiety and behavior issues. Not a cure all but improving things. Maybe discuss this with your neurologist as a possible course of treatment?

Jennifer - posted on 05/24/2011

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Kristy, my son is 7 and has high functioning aspergers. He also has rages. They started pretty young with him and were uncontrollable. I could always tell when one was coming. He would build up for about a week before it came out until it started increasing to at leassst once a day. It is stressful on you as a parent because you hate seeing your child like this and you feel completely helpless. I took began staying indoors for fear of what he may do to others. He is now taking risperidon and lexapro. Risperidon has eliminated the rages. It took a while of adjusting medication and such. He was cycling every 6 to 8 weeks for a year and now the rages are completely gone. He was still having emotional outbursts so we added the lexapro and those too have no disappeared. Have you consulted with your doctor? Our neurologist prescribed these medications for him. I tried so hard not to medicate him but now that I did I am thankful to have my son back and to say goodbye to the monster that took over.

[deleted account]

the answer is no one knows exactly when things will change. I can suggest some resources though. First, contact the Autism Society of America and find your local chapter. Then use that resource to find therapists and psychiatrists to help your son. Often both meds and cognitive behavioral therapy are needed to change aggressive behaviors. You might also want to talk to the school about a behavior plan if he is aggressive at school.
good luck.

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