Aggression in Autism

Aggression? Yes. Kicking people, kicking floors to the point you think his heel will shatter, kicking holes in walls, headbutting (front & back), throwing himself onto his knees, biting his family members, teachers and his wrist to the point of multiple bruising and skin breaking. Alongside sleepless nights, aggression is currently rife.

I’d say “what a long stressful week it’s been”.. but truth be told it’s been a stressful month, at least! Leon has become very aggressive lately. I’d originally assumed he was in pain as he seemed to wince. He’s non verbal, so can’t tell us. We’ve checked everything. We’ve gone over everything. We’ve visited GPs, consultants, dentists the lot, trying to find the source of suspected pain. We’ve tried everything to lower the likelihood of meltdowns.. I’ve bought rugby headgear to protect his head when he’s headbutting, I’ve bought ear defenders incase his hearing is somehow much sensitive than it has been. We’ve bought chew buddies in the hope he stops biting people and instead chews on the chewbuddy. Pain made sense initially, based on what I seen in front of me when it’s happening.. I’ve spoke to a few mums who recognise the ‘eye wincing’ in their verbal autistic children who have suggested it might be a tic. A tic before a meltdown.

This is bite marks he’s made on his own arm.

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It’s horrible to witness, I’d love to tell you how loving and great it is to be an autistic childs parent, but truth be told lately it’s a giant boiling over kettle of shit. I absolutely adore my kids, both of them but it saddens me. It’s so difficult to watch my normally happy cheerful boy that would brighten anyones day, turn into an out of control child who is harming themselves. I know it’s not him, but he’s trapped in their and I don’t know how to make it better. It’s mentally draining. There’s thinking about the future, he’s big and strong now and he’s only going to get bigger and stronger. There’s wondering how much it affects his brother, as he too is seeing the aggression, he too is suffering sleepless nights because of meltdowns at all hours. We’ve had a meeting that included both schools as Leon bit Max very badly on his knee. They referred us back to Camhs (child and adolescent mental health service) as the school agrees that his behaviour has drastically changed with no actual trigger for it. We agreed a behaviour and sleep diary was the best option for now until the referral goes through. They’ve suggested respite day care based on how unmanageable he is right now, and for the first time ever I’d even consider letting a stranger look after him just so I can recharge my batteries or even straighten up the house.

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We’ve tried everything. He’s kicked holes in the wall in his room. I’ll have to pay for the repairs. When he was very young (3-4) he was a terribly bad kicker. The repairs were done for us then, on the agreement we’d fix any further ones. He seemed to grow out of it, until lately. I’ve decided to pad his wall near his bed, and in the sensory area we’re making for him. (I say we but I have a habit of not speaking about myself in the correct term – it’s just me, ‘we’ is my shitey way of rambling so forgive me, I keep going to correct it but I can’t be arsed just now as it’s 2am) The wall padding it being done against the advice of the school, but I really do not care. Apparently having somewhere to release the need to kick / headbang is a necessity in an autistic child and taking it away will make them go elsewhere (which I can kinda grasp) however, he is an 8 year old child on a necessary loft bed (they’d have no space otherwise.) If he were to start kicking in his bed with me downstairs, by the time I get upstairs and get out the ladders to get to his height there will already be a hole in the wall. Currently the ladders are always in reach in their room for this reason. The padding stops him from being able to hurt himself easily, it stops my walls from being damaged, and they will be in his favourite colour. It’s a win win in my opinion. I’ve spent a fortune. (which I absolutely do not regret, I just hope it helps him stay calmer) He has a sensory bit in his room just now, but it involves a small projector light, giant bean bags, lots of little rubber sensory toys and light up things. He had a bubble light but it tipped over and broke. I decided to go the full shebang and buy everything. If I thought he’d find it useful / interesting, I bought it. I’ll do another post about that as it’ll be a DIY sensory room, (including the padding) I just hope it will work out as I picture it.. Fitting two loft beds, all their toys & maxs Xbox things (he’s xbox daft) alongside Leons sensory room will be a hell of a job but I’m having a go. The doctor has suggested we move to a larger house, having 3 bedrooms would be much more suitable as they’d have their own room. Max’s sleep would be less interrupted. Leons sensory area could be blackout. But that would mean moving an autistic child to a new area. This alone can have such a bad impact. A child who struggles if a different taxi driver picks him up for school, will not cope with all the changes involved in moving house. We’d also lose the large back garden we have, six foot fences all round, they’ve lived here since they were 9 months old. It really would be a last resort to move home.
I’m not sure how long the Camhs referral will take, I’m not sure what they’ll suggest. I can honestly say I’ve always felt blessed having such a cheery wee boy, and right now if I could take away his autism I absolutely would.

Posting is going to be few and far between. I’ve only just purchased lots of sensory things for his room. I will be trying to fit all the things before / around christmas time (wish us luck – me and my brother.) I’ve also bought paint and paper for my room which I plan on doing after Christmas as I don’t want to attempt getting it done the now.

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4 Comments

  1. 3rd January 2017 / 8:27 pm

    My son has autism and has broken my ribs before. My heart goes out to you from one mum.to another. It’s not easy it does get better in some ways and worse in others in my experience. If you ever need a chat drop me n email xx

    • 3rd January 2017 / 8:38 pm

      Aww, thank you so much. Lovely words! Thankfully he’s not that strong yet but he’s definitely getting there which is only adding to the worry. We’ve made a little bit of progress since as his sensory den has been fitted. Very difficult with Christmas as all the professionals are on holiday! I’ll keep that in mind, same to you if you ever want a chat! x
      Terri Rankin recently posted…Looking back at 2016 : goal reviewMy Profile

  2. Saira
    30th September 2017 / 7:44 am

    I’ve just blog hopped onto this (was reading your sensory room posts initially) and I feel your (actual) pain. My boy is fully verbal but still cannot explain to us the feeling that causes him to strike out and kick or punch, any more than he can explain why we sometimes just find him on the floor under a pile of his clothes, crying desperately. Poor babies but very much poor us – it’s so exhausting for the whole family. Just wanted to say hi and send a little love, hope life has eased a bit by now.

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