Autism & Asperger's Syndrome Expert Forum
violent episodes
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violent episodes

Hi I was wondering if anyone else had trouble like me. I have a 20 month old that  has always had to have a certain amount of food on his plate, washes his hands always the same way and has to walk the same way to nannies house. He wont or cant speak and bangs his head all the time for no reason its not to get his own way. He also has violent episodes where he will be happy playing or watching tv and then gets up and hits his brother (3) or he has started to try hitting his younger sister (5months). all of this is for no reason nothing sets him off tonight I changed his nappy and when I had finished he started to hit and kick me the whole time he does this he is screaming and when you call his name he has a vacant look on his face. It starts and stops just as fast or can last all day he then is very hyper afterwards. I don't know what to do or how to deal with him when this happens can anyone give me some advice please. When he is not having an episode he is the sweetest child out. is this autism?
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The type of behavior you describe is not uncommon in typically developing children. However, you would like to see some more effective communication beginning to emerge. You have other children and know what two-year-olds can be like. If you have concerns about your son, absolutely bring them up with your pediatrician and ask for a referral to have him assessed. There is no reason not to do this and he might be able to start receiving early intervention which can make a profound impact if he does have any delays regardless of whether or not he receives an autism diagnosis.
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Sounds like a typical 20 month old to me!  Can't yet communicate effectively but know what they want/don't want so get frustrated easily.  My daughter is 23 months and I can totally relate to what you are experiencing.  She hits out and scratches when she can't get her own way and is also a creature of habit and does not cope well when routine is interrupted.  I used to worry about autism a lot because she also rocks to soothe herself and has done this since 6 months old but there are so many other symptoms to autism that she just doesn't display so I've relaxed a bit lately.  If your son happily plays with toys and smiles/responds to you, there should be nothing to worry about.  He probably lashes out at his siblings just for attention (or because they are getting attention!).  I've read that the 'terrible twos' can start at around 18 months - and I guess they don't call it this for nothing!   Best wishes to you and your family.
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Jason C Bourret, Ph.D., BCBA-DBlank
The New England Center for Children
Southborough, MA
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