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Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) Community
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Roller coaster emotional breakdowns of 14 yr old boy

My grandson who is 14 years old came home yesterday in such an emotional state.  He sobbed so hard and began hitting his chest saying "No Hitting" as he looked his mom in the eyes.  This is behavior that just began to occur and since he does not communicate to us, except to ask for what he wants (he also has echolalia occasionally) we don't know what caused it--what the antecedent was--his teachers don't know and the afterschool autism program staff don't know.  He is on three types of meds: Strattera, Risperdal, and Clonidine.  We are looking for another doctor who might know more about Autism and his psychologist doesn't seem to get it.  We also want to know of other meds for a teen that might work better.  Any thoughts out there?  The older he gets, the more emotional he gets.  Hormones for sure, so has someone gone through this before?  He was diagnosed as mildly autistic when he was younger, but now they are saying he is low functioning.  Going nuts. Love him so much and hate to see him hurting.
4 Responses
805104 tn?1242334671
Hi There,
My heart goes out to you, your daughter and grandson...it is terrible when feel like you can't reach your loved ones.
My son is 14 1/2, last August he was dx'd as having ASD...he was already dx'd with ADHD, Dyspraxia, SID etc...we had been searching for answers since he was 3yrs old..

Anyhow..as you know it is so frustrating for children who cannot communicate properley to express exactly what is upsetting them, what they need/don't need.
Any slight upset can be a huge problem for them, my son hates change, he needs to KNOW what is happening and when, even the change of seating arrangements in the classroom can set him off...My son was on anti-depressants for almost a year, they worked wanders for him...I have seen him come home from school, throw himself on his bed and sob his heart out whilst thrashing away at his pillows...now for children who usually don't show emotion this was a huge thing, there were problems at school etc...

Can I ask how long he has been on Strattera for, after speaking to my sons Psych, she intimated that not a lot of the Dr's there liked it, she said it did seem to make the children more angry/aggresive, we have been offered it but have refused it. Son is on Concerta XL and it works brilliantly. Maybe you need to ask if there is an alternative to Strattera...it might not be that, at 14 the hormones are in full flow,lol..

All I can say is, so much of the behaviour that Autistic children show is because of frustration....not being able to put thoughts and words together quickly enough, but given time and lots of understanding AND boundaries they can learn...

I have total sympathy for you all, it still isn't easy with our son, he likes to 'police' everything, he is a worrier, very black and white in his judgement, has a very strong sense of in-justice....and if I dare change anything...like 'what is for tea' or not telling him something in advance I know about it,lol...

Just hang in there...we have been to hell and back and we are coming out the other side...I think.

Give us a yell if you want to ask anything else.

Take care,
Love Sam x
Avatar universal
Just a thought but maybe he was bullied or witnessed someone being bullied?  I know I was bullied a lot and teachers never seemed to notice it so it'd be no surprise to me that none of them would have noticed something like that.  In fact I have no faith in authority figures at all.
Avatar universal
I have a grandson, abt. 10yrs old so not quite at that stage of life yet but there have been problems with teachers who do not understand how to deal/ work  with these kids. This becomes vy frustrating for the child , who may not work up to the level of the regular class as far as completing assignments as quickly. He can do the work but at a slower pace. He also needs breaks and to be encouraged by being allowed a few min.doing something he likes as a reward for completing assingments etc. In other words he accomplishes something and is rewarded for it. The teachers seem to expect him to produce and work just as any other child would and if he does not, he is disciplined for it, recently to the point of refusing to let him eat lunch.

Of course we all know that depriving a child of his lunch will automatically make him a better student and put him in a better mood to work. This was on top of making him stay in at recess and work.

It appears my daughter is butting her head against a brick wall when it comes to getting any cooperation from the teachers, ( and she has a lot of experience plus is working towards a degree to work within the area of Autism, is an RN and has been told by professionals that he sees, that she is doing an excellent job with him ).

How are the teachers working with your son?  Do they seem to understand that you cannot deal with him as they would with others?  Have you tried to educate them as to how you do things within your own family ?  It may be their attitudes are putting a lot of stress on him. In fact from what we have had to deal with, it would almost be expected.

I understand when you are doing your best, especially in an area that has so many different approaches, that make treatment sort of hit and miss, it can become very
stressful for the parents also.
I hope you find some answers.
                                             a Concerned Grandma
Avatar universal
Hi Lisa. I'm sorry to hear what's been going on with your grandson. I don't know what your grandson's school is like but I do know that when my autistic son came home from school saying someone hurt his head, it turned out to be another child had been throwing toys at his head. Unfortunately I do agree with corlenbelspar about not having much faith in authority figures. It's sad but there are those out there that do not treat these children on the ASD spectrum the way they should because they know they can get away with it. If he came home from school saying no hitting I would be likely to think either someone did hit him and he was very upset about it and trying to communicate that, or maybe he was hitting himself and was told no hitting and that only further exacerbated the situation. My son sometimes hits himself (don't know if your grandson has these behaviors) and then he looks at us because he wants us to tell him not to but when we do tell him he begins to cry hysterically and then wants to be held. I feel like he does this when he is feeling extremely frustrated and is looking for us to give him a way to vent that frustration. It's almost like he needs us to tell him no so that he feels like he has an acceptable reason to have a meltdown. As far as doctors go we had so much better luck with a neurologist than with a psychologist. I don't really trust a psychologist to appropriately handle autism being that their job is to be able to get inside someone's head and I don't think anyone who doesn't spend an enormous amount of time with the autistic child can possibly do that. Each one of them is different. I really feel like the neurologists have such a better understanding of the spectrum and also are more up on the current information and studies due to the hugely rising number of diagnosed cases we have nowadays. My son hasn't been on medication yet but my 6 year old autistic nephew takes trazadone. When he first began it he did seem to be completely out of it for awhile. Very sort of loopy and in lala land, but once his system adjusted to it he has done well with it. I'm very sorry your grandson is so stressed and upset, and I truly feel for you and your daughter. I do think that I would push the school about the issue further. It's a scary thought to feel like our children aren't being treated right by these caregivers but it happens. I am paranoid about just that with my son. In fact the only reason my son doesn't take the bus to school, is that I want his teachers (who really are fantastic now that I know them) to see my face every day and have to talk to me about him every day. I want the world to know that I am my son's advocate and I am very in tune with him and I will know if something is up. We women are the tigers about our kids, right? I really wish you and your family all the best. I hope your grandson gets the help he needs and is happy. God Bless.
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