Anger & Autism my kid needs help?

I have a teenager who was just diagnosed with high functioning autism. He has huge fits of anger where he gets so out of control he hurts his sibling, damages property etc. I have asked the doctors, teachers, social workers etc to help but with little relief. It has ruined my marriage since he blames everything on my spouse and even says things like he is trying to kill me, break my arm etc. I don't want to lose my son but I don't have any clue how to help.

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  • 9 years ago
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    Work with good Phychiatrist and Developmental Psychologist to come up with an appropriate treatment plan for him. Work closely with his school and get all the help you can. Your son may have issues beyond autism that are causing his anger and violence. My son has HFA and a fairly nasty BiPolar Disorder that makes him delusional sometimes (many forms of BiPolar are less severe and cause more mood issues than delusion). When he went through puberty I wasn't sure if we'd all survive and there wasn't much help out there.

    If your son needs medication for his moods then get him on it and keep him on it. Keep the meds locked up and watch him take them every day. If the meds aren't working let your doctor know and change medications or doses until you find what works. This can take a while.

    Stress can make mood disorders, not just BiPolar, worse. Autism can cause a lot of stress. Throw puberty into the mix and things can become surreal and scary very quickly. I honestly wasn't sure if we'd be able to keep my son. He did a lot of damage to our home, possessions and peace of mind.

    Now that we are through the worse of puberty my son is much better. His grades are good, though he gets a lot of special services and help in school. His mood is fairly stable. He has episodes and bad days but there are more good times than bad times. He's doing the regular curriculum and seems to be back on track to go to college, though he'll always need help with daily life tasks.

    It can be hard to find the right resources, but keep looking and trying things. You'll find what works, and he'll mature. It'll get better.

  • 9 years ago

    First of all, when he starts to get upset, DON'T TOUCH HIM. That is a mistake I see constantly. That may be the source of the "he's breaking my arm" comments. I'm guessing that your spouse is trying to physically restrain him? From your phrasing I'm assuming that he isn't your son's dad? If that's the case, it's a mistake to put a stepfather in the role of disciplenarian even for a nt teen.

    I understand your reasons of course, your son is getting violent. But sensory overload happens in every meltdown or fit as you call them. Aspies don't like to be touched in the best situations.

    Give him serveral yards of personal space. If he approachs you, don't back up. Just stay there and let him aproach and back off as he pleases.

    Don't yell or blame or threaten or use accusatory language. In fact never do it at all around him. If he is on the verge of a meltdown and you don't know it, that will likely push him over the edge. You are probably thinking "So I am supposed to sit there and let him destroy stuff and hit people?" No, If you are calm, he will calm faster and get less angry. I know how impossible that is. Autisic people are affected the emotions around them. They tend to mirror the emotions around them. If you are angry, he will be angry. If he's angry already, he will be twice as angry. Always give him space to calm down and rest after he's done ranting. And don't mention any punishment until he has had a long time to calm down. Wait til he starts interacting normally with the family for a while. Don't mention the meltdown in the punishment. Even though you are in effect punishing him for his meltdown, you only tell him that he is punished for hitting or breaking something. Don't use his obession in punishment either. You will lessen the severity of his meltdowns slowly as he avoids punishment by not doing what he is being punished for. If he thinks he is being punished for his meltdowns, which he couldn't stop, it will be useless and his meltdowns will get worse. His control slipping through his fingers is no different than his drink. And you don't punish kids for accidents. Meltdown are not tantrums. Meltdowns aren't 100% controllable, even as an adult. You can't expect him to change overnight. If anyone tells you he can, they are at best misinformed. Medication most likely won't help. There isn't a medication for Autism or for "bad behavior". Kids are constantly given medications for other conditions that they don't have. Anti-anxiety meds *may* help if he has anxiety.

    Listen to what he says when he rages. "Nobody likes likes me" may mean, "I'm upset because I don't have any or enough friends." "Everybody hates me" usually means someone is being unkind or mean. Or a lot of someones. Or even "I'm really frustrated." Try to think when he has meltdowns. Notice everything. You may notice it happens before or after school. Hence something at school is bothering him. Before homework? His homework is too hard, too easy or too big of a load. You might discover the trigger, but not the cause. Remember what happens right before the meltdown is a trigger or "the straw that broke the camels back" not the actual cause.

    It will get better. I was like your son a few years ago. Now, I'm 21, my meltdowns only happen when I'm hormonal (if you know what I mean) and something happens to trigger me. Last time I yelled for a couple minutes. I haven't hit anyone for a long time. I got much better after my parents learned not to touch me. Know that the hormonal teen years are the worst and it will lessen as he gets older.

    I wish you luck and patience.

    Source(s): A 21 year old aspie that used to have severe meltdowns.
  • 9 years ago

    Been exactly where you are. First thing you need to do is make sure he is properly medicated, Also, don't assume he is taking his medication- give him the pills each night. Second, reward good behavior. Don't escalate to yelling or physical punishment if you can avoid it- it will only beget more of the like. Finally, get some help for yourself too. I know I needed it.

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