I am a single mom to a nine year old son and a five year old daughter. My son is diagnosed with Asperger's and oppositional defiant disorder. His Asperger's symptoms are minor but the ODD is extremely problematic, to the point that in my opinion it's turning into conduct disorder. He is a very intelligent child and does well with school work. His relationships with people, however, are disasterous. He has been overly aggressive and violent for years, he has been kicked out of daycare and an after school program for physically harming people. A month ago he hit my boyfriend's ten year old daughter in the face. Last week he got mad because of something his little sister said, so he grabbed her and slammed her up against the wall. In July he punched me in the leg and threatened to kill me because he was denied a treat that he wanted. He was suspended from school on Friday because he won't stop leaving his classroom and wandering the halls, then running from staff and hiding in places like the teachers' lounge when staff try to take him back to class. He has exhausted a very patient teacher and principal. He has the whole school in an uproar on almost a daily basis. After I brought him home on Friday I sat down and tried very calmly to talk with him about his behavior, but he began screaming at me to leave his room. He then grabbed my cell phone out of my hand and smashed it into my forehead so hard it left a lump that is still visible today. He showed no remorse and told his aide later that afternoon that I deserve to have every bone in my body broken.
He is not violent all the time. He can be very humorous, interesting and charming. He is a very tall, good-looking child who is capable of speaking very articulately about many topics. The problem is no one can tell when he's going to snap and hurt someone. Also, even when he's not hurting someone he's very bossy, demanding, difficult, irritable and manipulative. He lies and runs away and threatens people. He is rude and refuses to follow rules. He makes every day a struggle. Other than this behavior, our lives are good: I'm almost done with a master's degree, we have supportive family and friends, a good place to live and I will soon have a good career. I love my child very much and have raised him well. Nothing I do helps. He has had anger problems since he was two years old. He sees a therapist weekly and has gone to therapy since he was four, he sees a psychiatrist, has a 504 plan, a behavioral aide after school, is on Zoloft and I do not allow artificial colors or flavorings in his diet. I don't know what else to do. I am afraid he will seriously hurt someone and I hate raising his sister in this chaotic environment. I want to change him now, before he gets even bigger and stronger. I left his dad five years ago and my children are not allowed to see him because he has been in and out of jail and prison his whole life and has a history of substance abuse, manipulation and violence. Any suggestions on what to do about my son's behavior? Should I send him to a residential psychiatric home for treatment or will that make things worse?