My DS 10 has been diagnosed with high functioning autism and he became violent at school today

Carla - posted on 05/20/2011 ( 10 moms have responded )




Zach is 10 and academically he is at grade level or higher. Mentally and socially is 3-4 yrs younger. He is mainstreamed as he can do the work but he has "melt downs." It took four years to diagnose him and 6 psychologist. Finally I got his diagnosis last week. Today was prize day and he chose a watch instead of the water gun. He tried to change it and was not able to at the time. He began acting out, unplugging the movie projector, running around the room and when his teacher tried to restrain him he bit her so hard he broke her skin and kicked her repeatedly. Another teacher tried to assist and he bit her, bruising her. They put him in a small room with a male teacher which he threw a small object at but no injuries. Along with autism he has ocd and adhd. There are three days left in the year and he is suspended for two. The county says they have a class where 9 of 11 kids are at grade level but the district says they are lower. My sons math percentile is 95% or higher. When we left school he asked if he could play video games when we got home. He doesn't seem to "get" it. The district has approved an autism trained aide for him next year. Any response would be helpful.... i feel so overwhelmed!!!


Paula - posted on 05/24/2011




The aide will only help if a: they REALLY know what they are doing, and b: your son likes them. Often one on one aides aren't very well trained, they are just someone that needs a job. They will be trained in proper restraint, but not really in autism. (Maybe a little)

Is your son seeing a therapist? It WILL help. Once again, your son has to like her. or him. If he doesn't, find another one he does like. And PLEASE consider medication. Other people will tell you no, but my daughter has Asperger's and it helped immensely. Her father was completely against it until he saw the difference it made. Brain function is different in kids with autism AND ADHD, your son has a lot going on in his head. The proper medication will help his brain work better. It will not change his personality, it will not make him a zombie. It WILL help him to calm down.

You also have to talk to his teachers. A LOT. YOU have to do the research. YOU have to tell his teachers what works with him and what doesn't. I think your son is like mine, you have to help him calm down because he can't do it on his own. When they speak sharply or loudly to him it just makes things worse. A simple 'no' doesn't suffice, they have to explain why it's no, and do so calmly. But YOU have to tell them that. Teachers have 20 other kids in their class and won't take the time to do anything extra unless you tell them. And keep after them. Don't back down. And make sure his special ed teacher is involved. Be willing to talk to them. You have to show that you understand there are issues and that you are willing to work with them, but at the same time, you have to be your son's advocate. It's not easy, I know.

My daughter has Asperger's, OCD, social anxiety, and depression and just finished her 4th year of college (she has one more). My son has severe ADHD, OCD, and possibly Asperger's (we're having him tested this summer). He just finished kindergarten. I know what you're going through.

Take LOTS of deep breaths. You can do it. But you have to be calm, do your research, and do everything you can for your son.

Oh, and one thing that worked a LOT with my daughter-Asperger's kids like rules. They know rules are meant to be followed. If you tell them something isn't possible because it's a rule, they still won't like it, but they will probably be a lot better about not doing it. This is what those people needed to tell your son, and tell him very calmly. "I'm sorry, but the rule is you have to keep your first choice. Next time you may choose the water gun." (although I find it interesting they can even have water guns in school. Here they can barely say the word gun without getting detention.) But EVERYTHING has to be CALM. I can't stress that enough. Other people getting upset will only upset your son more. And that is not what you want.

SomeRandomMother - posted on 05/24/2011




Yikes man! Sounds like a page out of our story!

Does he know he has Aspergers? If he does you could try something we've done with Dude almost every summer. Each summer break we sit down and write a 'book' about what Aspergers is and what it means to him. We write about the things he's good at, the things he has a tough time with and how he has grown over the school year. It has created a really good opportunity to teach him about social situations and prompt him into some kind of self awareness.

We have also used The Incredible Five Point Scale with a lot of success. the better he comes at guaging his own emotional state the fewer meltdowns he has. We have also taught him a lot of descriptive wordds to use so he can communicate how he's feeling and what's bothering him. At this point I know with almost 100% certainty that if he is having a melt down its becuase no one is talking to him.

The thing to remember is that kids with ASD are responding out of fear to a world that is too loud, too bright, too fast. They cannot process everything that is coming at them so they panic and act out.You'll find some positive changes occuring with him once he has an educated competent aid working with him. It takes a lot of creative thinking and fast problem solving to work with a kid with ASD so encourage his educational team to read, network and attend conferences. Educate yourself too. Set expectations for the team and for your son.

I just reread your post, you've only been with this diagnosis for a week. Let it sink in, read and realize this is just the starting place. Tell him what's going on ... honesty is the best remedy for fear and confusion. Be a team with him ... and don't be afraid to ask for help. You can do this.

Best of luck!

Kim - posted on 05/24/2011




The one on one aid should help siginificantly. They should also do a behavior assesment and put a behavior plan in place. I would strongly reccommend that they come up with several alternatives to restraining the child as this seems to increase his aggitation ( as it did with my son). With the one on one, they can offer a walk, or perhaps a quick game of basketball or something to help diffuse the situation. There are a million things that can be implimented, you just have to find what works best for your child. Ask if they can work with him on social stories so he can practice social skills. I would reccommend another meeting with his IEP team before school starts to get a good game plan in place, and make sure they include the one on one aid at that meeting. Best of luck to you.

Diane - posted on 05/23/2011




Our son was diagnosed ten years ago with autism. He is now 13 years old, and very high functioning. A strong student academically, but socially "awkward". He is very vivacious and always trying to get kids to laugh and like him, but often they laugh AT him rather than with him. He also tends to get in trouble a few times per year, often because peers may trick him into doing something he shouldn't, or because a peer did something to him which was minor, but his response was over the top and got him in trouble. Even now I still worry about how he'll get through the day, and hoping he isn't in trouble when I pick him up. Yet other days, he is perfect and you would never know about his disability. The things that have helped him most over the years is aggressive dietary and biomedical intervention. Strict gluten free and dairy free diet - hasn;t had gluten nor dairy for ten years (except for a few infractions early on, where we saw major regression when he ate something with dairy or gluten - like a drug overdose). He had lost the limited language he had developed by 18 months, and did not speak again until we put him on the diet at age three. Over the next several months, we saw obvious improvement with sleep, behaviors, defiance, and overall demeanor.

He has been under the care of a DAN Doctor in FL - Defeat Autism Now, started by a small group of medical doctors and scientists researching specific treatments to address common autistic issues, such as yeast infestation, diarrhea, constipation, bacterial overgrowth, auditory processing delays, etc. They do not treat autism, but rather specific symptoms based on the individual child.

Much can be found on diet and medical options on the TACA website at

diane in TN

Jennifer - posted on 05/24/2011




Overwhelmed is something I felt many times. My son is 17 now and was not diagnosed with Asperger's until he was 13. In grade school we went through many of the outbursts. he would throw huge physical tantrums and trying to restrain is totally the wrong thing to do. The person who tries to restrain is in for a beat down. You are lucky that you get an aid for him, better late than never. We have struggled with school and continue to struggle. Although my son no longer has the huge angry tantrums, which is good because he is a very large teenager now. I put him in martial arts so he could learn some body awareness and discipline. Your son is old enough now to start understanding that he cannot hurt other people. I understand that impulse control is very difficult but it needs to be addressed often. Most kids pick up on social rules by context but it seems our kids do not so they have to be explained to them over and over. My son is older now and still has some issues but the explosive behavior is gone and he has more control over his anger. Be aware that chidren with Asperger's are sexual at an early age and can act inappropriately. Good luck and stay on it, these kids are behind but they do learn.


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Kathy - posted on 05/30/2011




oh bless you, really tough, my son used to tantrum really bad and from bout 8 started getting aggressve, but it was obvious it was shear frustration. Thankfully we had few major incidents tho he did get suspended frm secondary school because of one. He's now in a Autistic Spectrum Disorder Unit along side a school. Please consider getting your son into something similar, at least for the future, as unfortunately this could get worse with the onset of hormones...It sounds corny but for yourself please realise you are not alone, I have felt alone in it so many times but you're not. Your best defense is to fight for your son all the way until you are satisfied he is getting the help he needs. For added info I find The National Autistic Society helpful, there are some other websites as well you can browse. If you have a support group in your area, that is v beneficial for support and advice, unfortunately they're not everywhere!
I hope you get the help and support you and your son need, don't give up, keep strong, you're not alone :) K x

Claire - posted on 05/26/2011




dont feel down the actions u described are quite normal outbursts are normally a result of too much information going in and not being able to process it fast enough my son is off the scales on most subjects at school and he has had the most action slips in his year which resulted in him being excluded for a day and he has aspergers/adhd/cerebal palsy/learning and behavioural difficulties i find that my son is very self centered and think that the world revolves around him but to cope with his mannerisms i remove his favorite toy or game and then he has to earn it back by helping to do a chore like washing up or and sometimes distracting him works like if he is displaying sighns of a outburst then i will distract him by asking him questions about his favourite game or programme and if he is at home i would take him out of the situation and get him to water the plants in the back garden or if we are out then he has his little things like putty or little toys that he can play with but the best way i can manage him is to give him a rundown of what we will be doing that day as being uncertain of what he is doing generally kick him off so any appointments we have for him we have to explain what they are and what will happen while he is there and after the appointment we will go for a little treat .i hope this helps you understand but its not the child that dosent get it it is us that dosent get the child and something that really helped me is a book called " only a mother could love him " written by a autistic child and it allows you to see everything from their point of veiw .

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Kids with autism often cannot tolerate restraint. I'm sorry this is happening to your son. My grandson with high functioning autism is also 10 and advanced academically, I have been homeschooling him since Kindergarten because he would be definitely at risk of developing similar behaviors at school, besides which in K he was bullied daily; one of the kids even tried to turn over a bookcase onto him. In this state your son would probably have been arrested and charged with a felony, believe it or not. (Isn't that crazy??) I am sorry the schools do not know how to handle autistic children, but they certainly do not here. And it doesn't sound like they do there. Suspending an autistic child from school is a REWARD. How stupid can you get and still breathe? He certainly doesn't "get it." From his standpoint, he was defending himself. These children often do not understand social hierarchies. You are not alone.

Stefanie - posted on 05/24/2011




i understand your sun im hf now wasnt as a child .but socialy an emotinaly im told im still more like a teen or child when trhing dont go well or im on over loud i lose it to .im beter then when younger it take alot now to get were i may pinch or what ever .i think what hard is when we are having angizty an then a toin of bluh bluh bluh coming are way is a bad mix .if the teachger say to him .you can swape the watch for water gun afer everyone else pick there prize he proubly wount have lost it .

Katherine - posted on 05/22/2011




It sounds like he was extremely frustrated about the watch. They probably could have handled it differently had they been trained. As for him not getting it I can see that too. To him his watch wasn't working, it wasn't his fault why should he be held accountable?
I really think that with the growing number of autistic children teachers need to have SOME kind of information and how to deal with it.

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