Growing with Autism
July 14, 2011 12:30 PM Subscribe
So my autistic son is now 9 years old. How do I (a 5'0" woman) stop him (a 4'6" tornado) from physically harming me?
posted by mitzyjalapeno to human relations (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
For the record, I (and his teachers and therapists) don't think he fully understands how other people feel pain. What happens is that he gets upset about something and it seems like he can't express it; his reaction, when I try to calm him down, is to punch and kick. (The punches don't leave bruises, but the kicks do. When he punches me in the eye, it does tend to hurt.) Of course, it all hurts emotionally, even though I know why he's doing it. This doesn't happen often, but he's getting bigger every day, and I'm not.
I'm asking for any advice, especially from the MeFites out there on the Autism spectrum or who's kids are, because I am out of ideas. We've tried brushing/combing/scratching, squeezing, positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, verbal and visual preparation for what's going to happen at "big" events, removing him from overwhelming situations, and quietly reminding him, with specific keywords, about appropriate behaviors in particular places. He sleeps with somewhat heavy items on top of him, like an animal filled with bean-bag filling, a giant Cars pillow and a Tomica box. (The Tomica box isn't heavy, but I kept it so we'd know how to put the damn track together again after he deconstructs it, and now he loves the box more than the track.) He is mostly verbal now, but still exhibits some echolalia and is exceptionally literal.
His teacher, who is wonderful, has mentioned a weighted vest, but wants to view that as a very last resort.
So what can I do now, to get my normally affectionate and lovable son to stop hitting and kicking?