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Extreme bad behavior

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#1 Minnie80

Posted 14 July 2019 - 06:22 PM


So, my son will be 4 in October God willing. He is high functioning ASD, although his diagnosis is disputed because his symptoms don't fit ASD. However, that's what we have now.
Since, he was 18 months old, he has been very hyperactive and a bit impulsive ie throwing things off the table etc. But he was also super friendly, interactive, sweet natured and incredibly funny, even before be was verbal. Despite his naughtiness, it was a pleasure to be around him. He made me laugh so much!
Then, a few months ago, I got a call from nursery that he is hitting at school. My son was never violent or aggressive. But they thought he was jealous of his baby sister, who was born in February. They told me that they have seen this happen before. New baby = outbursts and aggression for a while.
I took him on a holiday and spent a lot of quality time with him. He calmed down a bit, but unfortunately the hitting continued. And he attacked only girls! Probably because of his baby sister.
But then he started acting out at home too. He would literally do anything to push my buttons. This again was new to me, since just a few months ago he was so innocent. Now, he is literally mean What? When did that happen?!
Then we went to my husband's native country so he can have an eye surgery. He was vaguely aware of the surgery. But for him, it was a month long holiday. We were going out every day and having fun. His grandparents showered him with toys. But unfortunately the bad behaviour got worse and worse. We were eating out every day, and he was a nightmare at restaraunts. The restaraunt would literally go quiet and people would turn to stare at us. And if he is not tantruming, he is misbehaving. ie taking food out of his mouth to throw at my SIL while we were eating. I was mortified!
The worst was at the airport. He was literally running into random shops and throwing clothes on the floor. He hit a random woman while sprinting through the corridors. On the plane, he hit me and his dad and had a tantrum.
We are back home now, and have returned to our normal routine. But now he is hitting me and my husband all the time. I enrolled him in gymnastics, and his teacher ran out of the class half way through to tell me he hit six girls! It's always the girls.
And at the mall yesterday, after spending two hours at the snow rink with his dad, he had a huge tantrum at the restaraunt.
I am at a loss at what to do. He never humiliated us in public before and it stinks!
We tried putting him in his room. He hates it, but it doesn't work. Naughy corner, doesn't work. His specialist told us to block him when he hits us  and move out of his away. But what about when he hits kids at school or in gymnastics? She also told us to ignore bad behaviour. But how can I ignore it at a restaraunt when other people are trying to eat! I used to take him out of the restaraunt for a walk. But it didn't work either.
Any advice on how to handle this? PLEASE

#2 Future-self

Posted 14 July 2019 - 06:29 PM

I know you’re overseas Minnie but exactly what early intervention has he been doing? Speech therapy? Occupational therapy? psychology? This is their domain in particular the Pysch and OT.
I don’t know what kind of specialist would recommend ignoring such a set pattern of behaviour on a child with ASD, that’s pretty ridiculous.

#3 José

Posted 14 July 2019 - 06:50 PM

as above.  i think you need to consult witn the specialists supporting you and your child.
your child isnt setting put to humiliate you or push your buttons. those responses are about you, not your child who is doing his best, if you look at it that way it isn't even misbehavior, its just a kid doing what he can to get through unknown and difficult situations
i quite like the work of ross greene. have you come across him before?
tbe things that also stood put to me from your post was all of the newness, that can be overwhelming for young children so i wonder if thats a factor. and all of the stimulation by new places and being showered with gifts etc.

#4 Fossy

Posted 14 July 2019 - 07:19 PM

Get a new ‘specialist’, that advice is horrific, it’s not 1960!. Your son, your family, and those around him will continue to suffer.  I hope you can find a doctor who offers constructive and supportive care for him.

#5 ERipley

Posted 14 July 2019 - 07:20 PM

ADHD and ASD often occur together. His hyperactivity and lack of impulse control could be explained by ADHD.

He is probably totally overwhelmed by travel, new people, new places, new expectations. If he has ASD he may prefer more routine and a calmer environment. He may be acting out when he is overwhelmed by things like noise, light, activity, so restaurants may have to wait.

In your situation I would try to help him into a caring role for his sister. Give him some responsibilities like helping get toys at bath time, getting nappies, choosing her clothes. Reassure him that stinky babies actually grow into wonderful sisters who take care of their older brothers, just like he’s taking care of her. Explain when she’s trying to talk or interact and try to get him into a role of teacher, showing her how things work or what things are called. If he’s feeling displaced then having a clear role in the family will help him.

I would pull him out of environments where he’s acting out which means stopping travel, eating out, shopping with him. Get him into a routine that is predictable and that he can look forward to and know what’s coming next. If classes are too much then lots of running around the park etc is fine.

I would find a developmental paediatrician who knows ASD and ADHD and talk to them about your concerns.

#6 PhillipaCrawford

Posted 14 July 2019 - 07:34 PM

He doesn't have bad behaviour, he is a child who, along with all the other things that 4 year olds do, has an Autism diagnosis.

All behaviour has meaning , he is trying to tell you in the most obvious way that something is very wrong for him.
You and He need to connect with an Autism early intervention group and a specialist who understands him.

To start - since I know you are overseas look into Tony Attwood on Youtube  and Sue Larkey's website    https://suelarkey.com.au/

#7 a letter to Elise.

Posted 14 July 2019 - 07:52 PM

He sound like he is very overwhelmed. 2 hours at a skating rink, followed by eating at a restaurant is just too much for many 4 year olds, let alone a child with autism.

If he’s constantly having tantrums, it indicates he’s not coping. You need some help from a specialist with early intervention, but it themeantime, I think he needs a quieter routine.

#8 Jenflea

Posted 14 July 2019 - 07:57 PM

And I'd stick to the same routine when away as you do at home as much as possible.
Same bedtime, same getting up time, meals at the same times etc.

#9 Minnie80

Posted 14 July 2019 - 08:00 PM

When I said that he was pushing our buttons, I meant that previously he had a very general kind of "naughtiness". He was a hyperactive kid who had a lot of energy to blow off. He was just having fun!  And although, his hyperactivity annoyed people sometimes, it was harmless. Now, it seems to be more deliberate. Like the hitting etc. Although this doesn't apply to everything. I honestly believe that he wasn't aware of his craziness at the airport.
Yes, we had a lot of new things recently. New school, a shadow teacher who was inconsistent due to a health problem that came up after she was hired. I had to go on bed rest during pregnancy, so was not there for him as before. We ended up hiring a nanny to help. But, he would get very attached, then they would quit. And this upset him. So, Yes it has been rough for the boy.

#10 onetrick

Posted 14 July 2019 - 08:03 PM

Is it when there are lots of people around? Could it be sensory? All of the places that you've mentioned seem like they could be really overwhelming...
Maybe have a look at some sensory techniques if this sounds accurate (I'm an internet random so ignore me if I'm on the wrong track!!)? Would he wear headphones to block out background noise for example?

#11 Minnie80

Posted 14 July 2019 - 08:03 PM

oh and despite being vaccinated, he got the chicken pox a couple of months ago. Thankfully it was very mild. But he went through that too

#12 onetrick

Posted 14 July 2019 - 08:04 PM

Sorry- I meant to add- it sounds like you are doing your best with the resources that you have. Especially with a baby as well!

#13 Pocket...

Posted 14 July 2019 - 08:09 PM

I agree with pps, plus holidays aren't necessarily a relaxing time for those with asd. My autisic ds enjoys holidays but he finds them really hard work. There's new stuff to process, more and /or different people, different temperatures, different foods, time changes, changes in routine, different beds, lights, smells, the list is endless. He had a great time, but it's also very hard work for everyone and acting out will happen. It takes a while for him to get back to himself, even at 7 years, once we're back.

It sounds like there's been a lot going on recently. What I found at that age, and still now, was that I needed to really concentrate on routine. Nothing new, cut out things he is/ was struggling with. Reestablishing routine with the more basic stuff and once he had calmed down and caught up then look into adding one activity at a time. It did mean not doing lots of stuff but in the long run it was worth it because ds being overwhelmed meant none of us could actually enjoy any of it. So we  "missed out" for one or two months, but once we'd calmed everything down we could start to do a few extras again and actually all enjoy ourselves.

ETA. I also think you're doing amazingly given everything you've had to deal with.

If you're specialist is only suggesting discipline for your DS's behaviour you'd likely be better off with a different specialist. You can't discipline a child into not being autistic. You may be able to help them develop  "socially acceptable coping techniques " but it's way more complex than telling them no or punishing them. You need someone who can help you work out what your DS is struggling with and develop techniques with you and your ds for managing those. And until your ds is older you will have to do most of the coping for him. If your specialist can't dip this within you, they may not be much help.

Edited by Pocket..., 14 July 2019 - 08:25 PM.

#14 angel2010

Posted 14 July 2019 - 08:11 PM

I have 2 kids with ASD. There is no way they'd cope with all of those changes. And they're primary school aged.

What helps me is remembering that all behaviour is communication. His actions are screaming that he's not coping. Most places and experiences that are pleasant for me are like war zones for my kids.

Things that helped us...
Make life to super predictable. Do the same thing every day for a while as much as possible.

Reduce stimulation (like TV) and increase outdoor play/exercise.

We have found that OT was the most help while our kids were younger.. it's more fun than psych...

Also look into Ross Greene book/website explosive child... it's an eye opener.

Hope any of that helps. I've been there and I really get it... it's so hard when you've got a kid that doesn't respond to mainstream parenting. The pressure from others can be huge too.

#15 blimkybill

Posted 14 July 2019 - 08:56 PM

On top of everything else that others have said (all very good advice), I have a few extra thoughts.

- Children with ASD, (like all children, but in different ways) go through stages of being easier and stages of being harder. The being harder stages sometimes coincide with new development and learning. Being more aware of and sensitive to their environment. Being more aware of other people. Sometimes ASD kids do become very tricky indeed around your son's age, when they are aware of so much more than when they were younger, but when they haven't yet developed much in the way of coping skills and social skills.
- As others have said, change is hard for kids with ASD and can be completely overwhelming. A core feature of ASD is a preference for sameness, as change is harder for people with ASD to process successfully. Your son is almost certainly finding the level of change in his life too much right now
- his sensory sensitivities can change over time. He may not have been very sensitive to noise in the past, but could be more sensitive now. If you can access an OT who understands sensory issues that will help enormously.
- your son probably needs very explicit, ongoing teaching in basic social skills. How to play with another child, how to solve issues, what is OK, what is not OK, how to get help, why we don't hit people. He needs the people who work with him to understand his ASD (and possible ADHD also) so that they use strategies which are actually going to work. The most important thing is that they need to teach him what he should be doing, not react to what he shouldn't be doing. He may not know how to relate to other children in any other way except for this hitting he is doing. He needs to learn what to do and how to do it.
- always remember children don't want to be in trouble all the time. They don't want to be 'bad". They behave badly because their needs are not being met or because they don't have the skills at this time to manage the demands of their life.

I agree with other about simplifying your daily routines and getting as much consistency as you can. Try and avoid taking your son to noisy, chaotic and unpredictable environments. Prepare him for changes by telling him beforehand what will happen and showing him pictures of where you are going. If you can get help from an OT work on a toolkit of strategies which calm him and keep him from getting overstimulated. Try to avoid punishment. Ignoring is also unlikely to work because your son literally does not know the right way to behave; ignoring would only work for a child who actually knows how to do the right thing but is choosing not to. Your son does not have the skills to do the right thing yet.

I hope things calm down for you all a bit soon! It's a hard road. Take care.

#16 Whattothink

Posted 14 July 2019 - 08:58 PM

Just wondering if you’ve looked at diet?

#17 robhat

Posted 14 July 2019 - 09:12 PM

It doesn't sound like he's had much consistency lately. Most of it probably not your fault, but most kids this age manage better with consistent, predictable routines and a kid with ASD even more so. This includes how you manage his behaviour. Any undesirable behaviour you want to manage you need to have a plan and you need to stick to it. Including the stuff that previously seemed harmless.There's also a possibility that certain foods set off his behaviour into worse patterns, so the eating out and 'spoiling' is probably not helping.

And your specialist doesn't sound like they know what they're talking about. I'd be looking at getting another one.

So, I realise life has been difficult and crazy and you are managing as best you can, but now I think you might need to take some serious action to get your child in a better place before things get seriously out of control. Get some advice from your specialists. Have a plan. Cut back on all the activities in life and keep things simple. I know a few kids with ASD and ignoring bad behaviour like hitting is NEVER suggested. If they hit, they leave, except school, where there are other procedures in place. You basically need to decide what you want to do with your child when he hits (eg time out, leave restaurant etc) and then follow through. EVERY SINGLE TIME.

#18 Minnie80

Posted 14 July 2019 - 09:15 PM

Hi. First of all I want to thank you all for the advice. I was very agitated when I started this thread, but feel much calmer after reading all the advice.
I really like the idea about going back to basics. I think it may help. I was actually thinking of cutting out restaraunts for a while. But, I read some advice online. And it seems that if your kid is misbehaving in a restaraunt, then you should keep taking him out to restaraunts until he knows how to behave. I read that and followed it. But obviously the advice is not for an ASD child!

And yes it is time to change the specialist.

#19 Bearynice

Posted 14 July 2019 - 09:23 PM

I think rethink the whole day. Break it down for him and maybe use visuals.
Give him warnings when things will be finishing ( eg. We are leaving the playground in two minutes)
Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at home
Go out in the mornings.

Try to keep bedtime quite routine.

The hitting, he is getting a reaction... has his language regressed? Think about what he is trying to communicate

#20 daybreaker

Posted 14 July 2019 - 09:25 PM

I think a PPs advice about telling your son how to behave with other children regarding the hitting is a good one.  Does he have a shadow at daycare that can help with this? Or at least let the carers know that this could help him? Sometimes kids with ASD need behaviour modelled to them because they don't know the right way to behave.

And if you're at a playgroup etc and he starts hitting while you're there you can say to him we say "no thank you" if you don't want it or "it's mine you can have it after me" if someone tries to take something away etc.

My DS at 3 and 4 was very unmanageable too with tantrums in public places but he definitely did improve with age and at 11 now is much calmer!!! I would also avoid places that trigger him for both your sanities.

#21 Froyo

Posted 14 July 2019 - 09:32 PM

View PostMinnie80, on 14 July 2019 - 09:15 PM, said:

Hi. First of all I want to thank you all for the advice. I was very agitated when I started this thread, but feel much calmer after reading all the advice.
I really like the idea about going back to basics. I think it may help. I was actually thinking of cutting out restaraunts for a while. But, I read some advice online. And it seems that if your kid is misbehaving in a restaraunt, then you should keep taking him out to restaraunts until he knows how to behave. I read that and followed it. But obviously the advice is not for an ASD child!

And yes it is time to change the specialist.
FYOS teacher's perspective here. That "advice" really wasn't helpful at all. ASD or no, repeatedly putting a child in an environment where he reacts negatively is not reinforcing anything positive.
I wholeheartedly agree with limiting activities and keeping routines as consistent as possible. I'd definitely stop gymnastics as well for the reason above.
Keep things as simple and predictable as you can at the moment.

#22 robhat

Posted 14 July 2019 - 09:49 PM

You might still be able to do restaurants, but choose carefully. Try going to one that has food he likes, go to the same one or two restaurants and try to go when they are not busy and noisy. Sometimes it helps to prepare them for what to expect, but also don't expect a kid that age to be happy sitting doing nothing while waiting for food. Go with some quiet activities (not the mobile phone) and a plain small snack. And you probably don't need to go more than once a fortnight.

#23 Ellie bean

Posted 14 July 2019 - 10:14 PM

I don’t think it’s bad behaviour, it sounds like an overwhelmed child not coping. Pps have given excellent advice

#24 José

Posted 15 July 2019 - 07:10 AM

View PostMinnie80, on 14 July 2019 - 09:15 PM, said:

Hi. First of all I want to thank you all for the advice. I was very agitated when I started this thread, but feel much calmer after reading all the advice.
I really like the idea about going back to basics. I think it may help. I was actually thinking of cutting out restaraunts for a while. But, I read some advice online. And it seems that if your kid is misbehaving in a restaraunt, then you should keep taking him out to restaraunts until he knows how to behave. I read that and followed it. But obviously the advice is not for an ASD child!

im not really sure that advice is helpful for any child!
i suppose the first thing i think is how important is it for the child to go to restaurants?
and the other is that a child will only know how to behave there if you are actively teaching them. just taking them over and over wont do it.
and restaurants are hard for kids. there's lots of waiting and being still and quiet.  and if you're there at meal time they are probably hungry, making things even harder!

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