Autism & Asperger's Syndrome Expert Forum
Aggression/rage episodes
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Aggression/rage episodes

Hi I have a 5 year old little girl, who was Dxed with pdd-nos around 19 months old. She had a bunch of sensory issues, almost completely none verbal, no eye contact, very aggressive and she head butted all the time.... Well she has come along way since then with us working with her, and lots of therapys....she doesnt head butt anymore, and shes verbal, shes still very hard to understand and she studders alot when shes trying to get the word out, but is she is trying to speak so thats the good thing...

anyhow heres the question I was wondering about.... Ive noticed for about a month a so that her aggression has come on full force.... its takes very very little to set her off. She gets angry very quick....and gets in this rage to were she tries to hurt me, kicking slapping, throughing things ate me, destroys things, shredding paper, and she says "hate you"

She has a little sister too I do what I can to keep her calm aroud her, she gets aggressive with her too.

Im just concerened with this because these episodes seem to intense now and here lately they are so frequent.

I was just wondering if they could be linked to a seizure disorder.

Advice on how to look into this.

she can be or should I say she is a very sweet little girl, until this rage takes over these episodes can last anywere from 10 minutes to 2 hours...just depends how upset she is....
but once she "calms down" shes back to a being a sweet little girl

She did have a eeg done around 2 years old, but was sedated for it.... (ive been told sedation medication can affect the results) and she sleeps with her eyes open too...

She has had a few "stareing " episodes too in the past, especially in her sleep...she has woken up in like a "trance" state.

I feel like she does't realize how "aggressive" she is being while shes doing it...

I just want to know were should I start about how to control this.


thank you for your time.  J.
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I recommend that you seek the assistance of a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. I list of qualified professionals is available at the website of the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (bacb.com). There are several highly effective behavioral interventions for aggressive behavior, and it is extremely important that you address this problem while your child is still young and physically easy to manage. It is also important to continue to expand her appropriate forms of communication. Often, children become aggressive to communicate that they want something (e.g., parental attention, a favorite activity) or to indicate that they don't want to do something (e.g., brush teeth). If your child can communicate appropriately for these things she will be less inclined to become aggressive.
2 Comments
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The only thing I would add to what has already been advised is that her behaviour, although inappropriate, is an indication of the level of emotion she is feeling.  My son is on the spectrum and is verbal.  Through talking with him he has explained to me that when something upsets or angers him he gets totally flooded and overwhelmed with those feelings.  So his emotional reaction is out of proportion to the incident (in our point of view), and he cannot stop it or bring it under control.  I went to a seminar where they explained this by saying to imagine a shower curtain around a bath.  When we experience emotional activity the water (emotional feelings), are restrained and contained by the shower curtain.  In autistic individuals they think this restriction is weaker with no shower curtain, so the water goes all over the place.  This means that greater parts of their brains are flooded with activity and they cannot stop it or bring it quickly under control.
So your daughter does need professionals who will help her monitor her emotions and learn to express them appropriately.  Also any improvements in communication as well as a highly structured and low sensory environment are going to bring huge improvements.  But in general these tantrums and emotional outbursts remain even in adulthood.
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Jason C Bourret, Ph.D., BCBA-DBlank
The New England Center for Children
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