Autism and Terrible Behavior

The Terrible Behaviors

                My heart broke this week.  Why is he acting out so much?  My son’s behavior was horrible this week.  I cried, I got angry, I thought endlessly, and I prayed.  There seemed to be no common thread to this problem.  The school could not figure out why the physical aggression was so intense.  He was hitting other students for no reason and throwing chairs.  Really?  Is this MY son?

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Take a Breath… Be Calm

                We can analyze the situation all we want until we go stir crazy.  We can email teachers and demand answers.  We can talk to other people and get feedback.  The main thing to keep in mind: Our reaction can make or break the situation.  Overreaction can be devastating and under reaction can prolong the situation.  So where is that fine line of boundaries?

                It would be so nice if we had a manual that came with the delivery of our children.  Chapter 5: How to Handle Physical Aggression at 5 Years Old.  But we do not get manuals; we only get advice from past experiences.  So we take advice and sometimes it is great and often it is not applicable to the situation.  And we continue to search for the boundaries.

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                First, stay calm.  Look over the whole situation, take notes, and talk openly with trusted people who will listen and not offer advice right away.  Stay in constant communication with teachers, therapists, and other individuals working with your child.  Look for common threads in both positive and negative behaviors.  Talk with your child and try to get reasons and understanding from his/her perspective.  But I warn you, be gentle and patient while talking with your child; do not raise your voice or threaten with demands and punishment.  Try to understand your child while you listen to him/her.  Explain it is safe to open up to you.  Remember, you want answers- you are not there to get answers for punishment and discipline.  You want to help your child succeed!

Finding Answers, Then What?

                When you get some answers, even if they do not make sense, communicate with the other individuals involved with your child.  Together you can all begin to put the pieces together.  Continue to stay calm and understanding of your child.  Forgive your child and tell your child you still love him/her.  Follow through with communication.  Continue seeking knowledge and understanding while getting help for the problematic behaviors.

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Possible Reasons for Disruptive Behavior

                Here are some possible explanations for difficult behavior:

Too much stimulation

Changes in routine

Illness or pain

Not enough sleep

Confusion about something

Emotional imbalance

Unable to cope with anxiety

Disappointment

                Remember, every child is different.  Your child’s difficult behavior may be related to something not on this list.  These are just common ones I often see in Autism (and typically developing children too).

                Please share with me any other thoughts or things your child struggles with.  If you find yourself at a loss of what to do, seek help through myself or another professional.  Meanwhile, hang in there fellow parents and professionals!  I understand your struggles and frustrations.

                After all the emotional struggles this last week with my son, we took him to the dentist only to discover his six year molars were pushing through.  No wonder he has been deregulated!  So now we are working on helping him to communicate with us when he is in pain somewhere so we can help him. And afterwards, we had some “alternative medicine” at Cold Stone!

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                Sometimes it feels like we move one step forward and then suddenly two steps back with our children on the Spectrum.  Keep staying calm and searching for answers.  Overall you are moving in the forward direction in his/her life.  It may not always seem like it, but hang in there!

Contact Information

Jen Edwards

jen@voyagescounseling.com

720-258-6392