Autism & Asperger's Syndrome Forum
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Avatar universal

Asperger's and Violence

Please forgive me for asking such a dreadful question. I know how difficult and stigmatizing all forms of autism can be, and I would never want to add to the challenge faced by those whose lives are touched by this syndrome.
A 12-year-old member of our family was diagnosed with Asperger's and we have dealt with the challenges since his birth. He has constant attention, special schooling, doctor's supervision, etc. Now, as he has aged, he has become progressively more difficult and destructive, damaging property, hurting and killing pets and even attempting to "kill" his mother but putting what he thought was poison in her food (He was very factual and detached about it, expressing only disappointment that his method had failed.). He was taken from the home at his physician's insistence and put into a mental health facility briefly, but was released after a week because frankly, they didn't know quite how to handle him. In addition, he has expressed irritation with the presence of a new family member. She is a lovely little 9-month-old, but he calls her "it" and doesn't like her at all. With the pattern of violence that has emerged, his emotional detachment coupled with his propensity for meticulous planning and our inability to control any of it, we are really worried about what a adolescent male with such tendencies will do. Is the baby safe? His mother? Is this normal for Asperger's? Will the tumultuous hormones of his teen years, that trouble so many kids, turn him into a serious threat to the health and safety of the rest of the family? Do Asperger's kids get worse with age?
We live in an area that does not have a lot of resources for people with Autism spectrum disorders, and it has been difficult to find answers to these questions....
Again, please forgive me for asking such awful questions. Please have a moderator delete this posting if you find it offensive.
16 Responses
340657 tn?1196785504
This sounds like an extremely challenging situation. As a disclaimer I need to note that no responsible therapist can diagnose over the internet or give you a prescription for the best course of action.  However, I would consider this child potentially dangerous and not permit unsupervised visits with the 9-year old and very close monitoring at all times.  I think you should immediately take steps to have this boy evaluated by a psychiatrist who will likely indicate, based on the reports in this question,  indicate that he poses a risk to his family members. I would also be in contact with his school district immediately about seeking a residential placement at a school with clinicians that have experience working with children with similar issues.  I wouldn’t take any risks with this case.  
347888 tn?1239899454
I have a 10 year old daugther with Asperger's who has never been violent, but this year in school she has exhibited behaviors we have never seen from her before--bitting, kicking, knocking over desks, etc.  I think the hormonal change does have something to do with it, and I am hopeful that things will get BETTER with age (at least once we are past the teen years).  As for the baby and mother, I personally would fear for their safety in this situation.  Even the mental health facility didn't know how to handle him--what does that tell you?  
Avatar universal
wow i really feel for your family.i have a 12 year old son with aspergers and i have asked the same question so many times.it seems no one wants to say yes or no.i guess because it is still a fairly new disorder they don't know alot about it.has your son been on meds like antipsycotic drugs.my son was on them but they didn't work.he is now on meds for mania and they have calmed him down a bit.before he was on them he was quite viloent all the time but now only gets that way when he is depressed.i am waiting for an appointment to have him re assessed to see if he is also bi-polar.with my son he acts on impulse when he is angry without thinking of the consequence.he is always sorry after.i had the end of my finger chopped off in a door he slammed.its really hard to get peolple to listen and to get help and like the other person said if the mental hospital didn't know what to do with him then what hope do you have.i would just keep taking him to doctors and ask for reassessments and try different meds til you find something that works.good luck
Avatar universal
Prozac was a big no-no for my son.   Sometimes if they have a bad reaction to it - it can signal that bipolare may be at play.  His doctors are very cautious and will not diagnose bipolar until a child is much older.  

There seems to be aperception on this board that children with Asperger's are very violent.  I have not found that case with my son.  He has been known t push, shove or even hit one of his siblings when they didn't stop bothering him (he usually verbally asks them too before he makes a physical move).  But I have seen his non-Aspie sisters do the same to each other (one likes to bite).  His sister can actually take hm down without to much a problem so maybe tht is why they don't fight too often.  My kids are 7, 8 and 9 and we have fierce rivalry going on.  My sister's boys are all on travel teams - and those kids (the athlestes - nothers in particular) have been known to get pretty physcial with other team's members off the field.  Some of this is hormonal.

But as far as planned posionings, etc. - there is something deeper going on than just Asperger's.  The kid almost sounds a bit like a psychopath.  My son's actions tend to be more the impulsive type and he ususally seems toregret them afterwards - or has a very logical explanation (not that I condone siblings smacking each other).

There was a very violent child in my son's public school that was sent to live in a resifdential hospital for three months because he was hitting teachers, students, and throwing chairs across the room.  The poor mother was besides himself.  He lives in a residential school.  Regardless, this child obviously can be classified as Emotionally Disturbed and placed in a residential school if the family is in that much danger.

Our friends adopted an abused child (I am not saying this child was abused so don't take it the wrong way) whowas also violent.  He lives in a residential school and comes home most weekends.  Other than that, he would heave been left in a group home - at least he now has a family that cares for him.

Good Luck,

Avatar universal
I can't even imagine how you cope with all these terrible things going on.  I have a daughter with Asperger's and has always been horribly noncompliant, she would never hurt me or an animal.  She does get horribly angry, breaks things, slams doors, screams and yells and runs out of the house, but I made it clear a long time ago, things can be replaced.  When these kids get frustrated, they lack the ability to rationalize and talk it out when they are in hyper mode.  

But what you describe is definitely more pathological.   I hate to be this blunt, but you are describing the behavior of a serial killer.  This is not something to be toyed with.  You have to understand just because he has Asperger's doesn't mean he is not affected with other, more dangerous problems.  You can never leave him alone with anyone, especially children, babies and animals.  You said he has already hurt and killed animals.  He is very sick, and needs to be seen by someone specializing in these areas.
He definitely needs medication and hospitalization.  I realize you are overwhelmed and don't know what to do, but you have the internet, and you can locate anything you need.

Please don't ignore this boy...it will definitely get worse.
Avatar universal
just curious about wrestling if it is a good idea to incourage the sport
to my son with apergers. I am very concerned it might harm him.
Avatar universal
That is very scarey what you are saying. Personally, I think your child is bipolar. Alot of these disorders are never just 1. It's more common then you think for a child on the spectrum also has bipolar. Puberty is the time when then things pop up.

My son was dx'd with bipolar at 5 years old. (after getting ASD ruled out at 3.5y) We treated the symptoms he had with lots of meds--most of which did nothing (except that wonderful Risperdal!! Can't live without it!)

At 6y--he finally got the dx I knew he had---HFA. Along with bipolar. I did a med wash. Within 3 mo, he had to be put back on Risperdal---the rages and violence was out of control. At 7y, He got the bipolar dx dropped. He is also on Strattera for impulsiveness. We finally enjoy our child for the first time in our lifes!!! Most bipolar can't be on strattera or any ADHD type meds.

My son was dx'd bipolar based on the fact he goes manic with ANY SSRI's(antidepressants), and the violence, rages, etc.

You really need to get your son help. Have him admitted to a hospital for mental health eval. Here is the website you HAVE to go to. These people are experts with raising children just like yours.  bpkids.org
219373 tn?1274921434
i am so sorry that you are having to deal with this, it is one of my worst fears as a mother.  i do not want to sound harsh but here goes anyway...i am no doctor but i did go to medical school (did not do residency) and know from my psych training that the act of killing before age 5 is almost always a sign of antisocial personality disorder.  he needs major help.  you need to find someone to help your son.  unfortunately this is not a disorder that can usual be treated with medications, he needs intense therapy.  i think he was mis diagnosed as aspergers.  i know many aspergers children and have never come across that level of violence before accept in people with sever mental problems including antisocial personality disorder.


i wish you all the best with your son.  i hope yall can find the help and healing that he needs.
Avatar universal
My heart truly breaks for you and your incredibly difficult situation.  My husband is an Aspie along with my eldest daughter - who sometimes attacked her younger sister when she was a baby. However, gratefully, she only did it when angry, and did and does genuinely love her sister.  Counseling, EEG Neurofeedback, plus medications, and hypervigilence on my part got us through those years.  However, my situation wasn't anywhere near what yours is.  Your situation scares the hell out of me - I remember the neuropsychologist we saw years ago telling about the "trifecta" for a sociopath was - betting wetting, abusing animals, and setting fires. I don't know if your son does the first and last, but killing animals is a huge warning sign.  Please please protect the baby and do whatever is necessary to keep her safe, even if it means your son must live in a group home.  If there is any way you can get this boy EEG neurofeedback, I highly recommend it because it turned my daughter and husband around - and niether of them fly into rages anymore.  God bless you,
Avatar universal
Hi there! All I have to say is hang in there and get that boy to a child psychiatrist who can prescribe him the meds he needs! My son not only has asbergers but an arachnoid cyst in the left temperol lobe of his brain. It was drained when he was in kindergarten and after the surgery we saw all sorts of changes in his behavior. He became mean and aggressive, and non compliant. He was put on a medication called Abilify. Let me tell you it changed our lives.... I didn't realize how much it was helping him until I took him off of it a year latter. HOLLY COW! He even said " Mom can I have the blue pill back I feel so much better when I take that."
Now this is just our story it may not work for you..... I agree with everyone else.... keep the baby safe.... get the boy help.
Good luck, just know there are options, you are not alone or without help.
Hang in there.
Avatar universal
I have two son's with Aspergers 18 and 12. Truly, things do change with the hormones and having a psychologist/psychiatrist and developmental pediatrician that cares is what has been great in our case. We are seen at Childrens Mercy Hospital in the Kansas City area. You have to be persistant and call every time there is a problem. Don't think you are being a pest. They won't know unless you tell them and you waste time in between appointments by not calling. The older of the boys does loose his temper but with age he takes redirection pretty well. Also, the boys joined a youth program in our church. They have been helpful once they knew what Aspergers is and how to help them integrate. Don't be afraid to ask for help and prayers for them.
Avatar universal
A related discussion, severe violent tendancies was started.
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A related discussion, Asperger and violence was started.
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A related discussion, What can be done? was started.
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A related discussion, A child on the receiving end of Spectrum Violence was started.
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