Asperger's Syndrome Community
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Avatar universal

Asperger's aggression

Hi, my son is very aggessive and lacks any type of inpulse control.  He can not be left alone with his siblings.  Does anyone have any reccomendations?  I know he does not want to do these things, because when we talk about it he says he loves his sister, etc, but he hurts her all the time.  My poor daughter has to put up with his aggressions on a dialy basis.  I can't watch him every second he's awake.  I also can't put either child in a protective bubble or send my son to his room and leave him there all day.  I really don't know what to do with him and I'm not a big advocate of drug therapy.  He's so young and I don't want to change his personality, only his behavior.  Will this end soon?  Will he gain contol at 6, 7, or 8?  I love my little boy, but I'm sad that he's so physical.  He's starting to internalize his behavior and now said to me this morning that he's a bad boy even though no one tells him that, not us, or his teacher.  I worry about his self-esteem as he grows older.  We praise him when he's good, but he gets a ton of negative feedback.  Don't do this, don't do that, etc.  "you need to go to your room for hitting your sister", I constantly feel like I have to micromanage him.  But he knows he's in time out/ or his room a lot and I do that so he can calm down or to protect his siblings.  Any advice would be helpful.  
28 Responses
365714 tn?1292202708
Regrettfully I was rather agressive with my younger sister. I don't remember why for all the cases, but touching me by any shape or form turned out to be a big NO-NO... (unless it's a back-rub, then it's welcome ;)) Hugs are welcome too if you ask first or if I request. Even my parents ended up learning the hard way. No tickle!  Tickle me and you'll get slapped rather hard... Same with poking on the shoulder. At best I end up rubbing the area like a burn because it feels sort of like that. At worst I may grab the hand and shove it away or hit the person if they persist.  For some reason people like to tickle and continue tickling even after someone cries stop... My mom's last tickle ended up a disaster... At least she learned not to tickle me ever again.

If it is a case like described, perhaps it would be good for thyour daughter to be aware of certain boundries such as not touching your son, unless he requests.  Sometimes with my younger sister it was a matter of personal space. I didn't like her following me around, so I would lash out.

As far as the impulse control, I still don't have impulse control... That doesn't seem to go away... I basically had to give up just about any computer or online game...
347888 tn?1239903054
I'm not usually for medication for children, but in some cases I think it is warranted.  I have tried it with my daughter who has Asperger's, and it actually made her worse.  But, I had a child in my day care with an ADHD diagnosis and I could tell the second she walked in the door if she had her medication or not.  If she didn't, she was so mean to her brother, constantly picking on him and hurting him, and she couldn't sit still to do anything constructive.  If she had medication, she was the most wonderful person, and extremely artistically talented.  She could draw the most beautiful pictures, when she was on medication which took away the agnst that drove her to unacceptable behaviors.  She would say how much she hated how she felt when she wasn't on medication.  If I were you, I would consider trying medication.  Like you said, it is not fair to your daugther to be hurt all the time in her own home!   And it sounds as if your son does not like how he feels/behaves either.
Avatar universal
I guess it wouldn't hurt to give medicine another try and to also like MJthewriter stated, teach my daughter some social boundries for her brother.  I really hadn't thought about trying to teach her to survive her brother, more just disipline for him.  If she learned that he doesn't like to be touched then maybe that would solve some issues, but then they couldn't play like brother and sisters do.  She wouldn't be allowed anywhere near him.  There's no way to draw a line at this age and say you can play with him, but don't touch him anywhere on his body, or you can play with him,but make sure you only play with your toys and not his....basically they just wont be able to play together at all.  He doesn't like to play with her, he doesn't like her in his room, etc.  It's sad.  
450695 tn?1205553414
I know a little boy who is now 9 who has this. His mom chose no medication and lots of bad things happened. He eventually after about a year of breaking windows, kicking holes in walls and leaving a stove on high over night mom looked for some help. Then he threaten to kill his older sister. He was removed from the house and put into foster care one on one  and they put him on 2 kinds of medications.  He is a different child now, he plays hockey and soccer, and he is doing well in school and his mom and dad got custody of him back.   So don't dis medication, these kids don't understand and if help is there early get it for them  before something happens you regret.
365714 tn?1292202708
I have no doubt that MOM24KIDS may be telling the truth about one family, but I think it's an extreme case... Not every autistic who "hates" their sibling will get that violent.

When you talk about how your son and daughter play that was like me with my younger sister. I hated her following around. For one thing she'd get into my things and disrupt whatever I had set up. I think it was either a container of crayons or colored pencils she tipped over. It got me pretty mad. Also I hated her crying and screaming. When that happened I'd either try to shut her up or I'd flee the house.

I regret the aggression I displayed to my sister in her early years, but I think as we grew up we got better. She still remains a polar opposite of me...but that’s how life is.

She's social, loves to hang out with her friends... She would invite them into the house where they would stay all day and not go away. Some of her friends were okay, but some were outright hyper and some would gang up against me.  I eventually learned to shut my room off. I made it very clear to my sister my room is off limits (although now that I am gone that is moot). She would not enter my room unless I specifically allowed her to do so and she would play my games on my terms.

We had several fun times. One of our favorites was to play outer space. I had my room full of glow in the dark stars and planets. Our space ship was my bed and we had a throttle which was a plastic Jurassic T-rex turned upside down. We had all sorts of "alien" encounters (which we called Terrorizers) that would come and want to do harm. We had a protective shield that kept them from penetrating the ship.  We had fun making the terrorizer sounds. Both my sister and I screamed into a tape recorder.

I have no idea how to get your son to do this, but perhaps he can find a way to include her in his games. This also provides that his sister plays by the rules he sets up. It can be quite a bit of fun. But he can't be forced to do this any more than I could. It has to be something he decides as well as his sister.
Avatar universal
A behavior analyst should be able to help you.  He/she will work with you and your family to try to hash out the functions of the behaviors.  Once that is determined you son will be taught replacement behaviors that he can use to meet the needs that his concerning behaviors are filling for him.  

Try doing a web search for 'behavior analysis' or 'applied behavior analysis' in your state.  That would be a good place to start.  
Avatar universal
ASD or not, you have to make him understand that society will punish him for his behavior if it escalates.  The fact that his school tried to have him arrested for refusing to get out of  an unlocked bathroom was a good example to use with my son.  Though angry about how the school dealt with this I have to say it was a lesson well taught and the incident is funding his private school.  

His father, a lawyer, explained that he could not always bail his temper prone rear end  out of the fire - we also had my brother the prison guard do a scared straight on him.  Sam was very unsettled as my brother described what happened to men behind bars.  It sounds harsh, but it was quite effective.

470168 tn?1237474845
Firstly I think nearly every household has siblings that don't get on and fight sometimes to the point of hurting eachother.  
I agree with MJ that your daughter may need more information about autism and what she should/should not do (afterall children with autism are not good at communicating their likes/dislikes verbally, you usually get a smack first!).
Secondly your son has to know that certain behaviour is unacceptable.  But from an autistic point of view, my son has explained to me that when he gets upset/angry/overwhelmed etc that he cannot 'stop the feeling' and whereas we might feel upset he gets 'flooded' with feelings that overwhelm him.  They do find it much harder to get their feelings under control and sometimes it takes them along time to 'recover' from something.  So praise any positive action he takes to control/keep control of himself or to manage himself.  Empathise (it helps him identify what he is feeling/how he is behaving) eg. I can see you are really upset about ..... and maybe you need some quiet time in your room to calm down (this can make it more positive than just time out or you've been naughty so go to your room).  In the same way, your daughter may need help if your son is breaking her toys/messing up her room.  She needs to be able to set boundaries for her brother and to know she will be backed up by you.
I have heard of a very good behavioural system called 1,2,3 magic.  This is a way of rewarding good behaviour (and when they have enough rewards they can trade them in for a treat of their choice).  It also allows options/choices (as some children with autism/ADHD may find it hard to comply straight away), but their choices comes with responsibilities eg. you ask them to do something now, if they comply they get 3 rewards, if they cannot comply until later on they get 1 reward (but the important thing is that they are rewarded for complying, even if it was later, rather than being punished for not complying straight away.  
It might be worth seeing if you can find out about this system as I have heard only good things about it from parents of children with autism/ADHD/and NT children.  A number of schools are now using this approach as well.
583775 tn?1219970088
My son (nearly 10) has always been very aggressive.  We are trying to reduce yelling and tension in the house (which he is the cause of a lot of) and have gone GFCF.  He has been like a different kid.  I couldn't categorically say it is the GFCF, as we are trying to change the family dynamics too, but much better.  His violent rages have reduced in intensity and frequency.  His sister isn't getting beatn up constantly any more and most of the time they are good freinds.

Another good diet to check is on the website www.fedupwithfoodadditives.info/.  It was developed at the Royal Prince Alfred Hosptital in Sydney, Australia so its had input from dieticians and allergists.  The lady promoting the diet is a Mum with and ADHD husband, daughter and son.  We (roughly) have followed this diet for years, but I have only got family acceptance of the GFCF part since our sons diagnosis.

It is recommended for Aspergers, Autism, ADHD, excma, Asthma, sinus and behavioural problems in children.  for Autistic symptoms you need to go GFCF which is the full version of the diet (a simplified one including gluten and dairy exists).

I find a normal Western diet makes both of my kids obnoxious and makes their asthma worse.  Most packaged food is so full of chemicals, I could take my pick of several additives that could have adverse affects for their health or behaviour.  We eat meat, rice, GF pasta, most fruit and veges, and avoid additives and are GFCF.

Might be worth checking out before medication?  We do have our son on a low dose of ritalin for school, but the paed was talking about something like zoloft for the aggression, so I deicded to put my foot down with my partner (armed with a diagnosis) and insisted we go GFCF (huge family history of dairy intolerance anyway).

Good luck - I know how awful the constant conflict is.
Avatar universal
my son with asp. is not agressive
but i was and can still get that way
it did out grow most of it
no medication help this part of my personality
and yes i have been on that psyc. med rollacoaster since i was a small child
i would try vistoril first, the most common type medication for agressive children are adderal, seroquel, all the new sri's
all those medication made me very sick, the seroquel made me gain 100 pounds, the paxil and other sri's made me agressive and suicidle, even as a young kid, prozac made me suicilde, i already felt like a bad kid and was fighting a negative view of myself the medicaiton just set me over the edge
vistoril is a non-narcotic anti-anxiety pill, that can be taken prn
it is not a benzo so your child will not become addicted,

oh well guys, this thread was from a long time ago, this person is not coming back
we should move on
637356 tn?1301928422
I have read most of the other post and they are good ideas. For my son his aggrevation is when his brother tries to play with him. Or touch any of his toys. I have learned to talk to his brother and try to explain to him why he can't play with his brother or why he can't touch his brother's favorite toys, (mainly dinosaur toys). I have also noticed that when Toby is upset I will tell him it is calm down time and I will make him sit and count to ten even if he messes up the numbers this gets his mind off of what angers him and after he takes the time to count he has concentrated on that so much he has forgotten what origanlly was upset about.

My son is also on medication and I have noticed that it curves his aggresation a little bit but not a lot.  
Avatar universal
what mediction is he taking? i have been on almost every medication for aspergers andmy experience may be helpful
some of the mediction made symtoms out of control
when my aspie son starts being mean while playing with his brother, he is punished immediatly, i send him away from the other kids, and make him stay in his room until he is ready to share and act like a kind person
at first this was a challange, it takes energy and time to correct a behavior, but it is worth the effort
we have to train our children to be kind to others, if they have a tendency towards agressive behavior then we must spend a set amount of time each day training our children to be kind, loving and caring
i rent library books that teach children spiritual principals, such as forgiveness, love, sharing, helping, friendship, manners
when i was a new parent my kids did not have any boundaries, i have learned that i cannot run a healthy happy home with out placing strict boundaries on what i will accept in my home
when they are little we send them to their room for hitting their brother
when they are in highschool they get suspended for hitting other children
when they grow up they end up being charged with assault and taken to jail
i would rather send my kid to his room for an hour than have to visit him in a hospital or jail
and the reality of aspergers if this....left untreated the patient may end up in a hospital, jail or die
my experience may sound harsh to those parents who are dealing with this for the first time, but i worked for a mental health center, so not only am i basing this on my own experience, i am using other aspie patients as an example
all behavior can be changed, do it now while you can
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