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Aggressive Behavior

Posted by on Apr. 3, 2013 at 3:17 PM
  • 3 Replies

My daughter has not been formally diagnosed with Autism but has been treated for about two years now for Sensory Integration Disorder, which is somewhere on the Spectrum. She has been increasingly aggressive toward us when she gets upset. She has a little brother Max who has Down Syndrome and she has been increasingly aggressive with him as well. We have tried Time Away but it has not had any effect on her at all. She is currently attending the LEAP Program at our elementary school and is in a Visually Structured classroom. It has help tremendously in some areas but we have hit this wall. Any ideas/suggestions would be appreciated.

by on Apr. 3, 2013 at 3:17 PM
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KatyTylersMom
by on Apr. 3, 2013 at 3:25 PM
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I haven't dealt with this personally but from everything I've read, heard, and seen the key to aggression is finding out the triggers.  If she just goes from sweet to aggressive in 0.5 seconds every time then she may not have any other coping mechanism available to her when she gets upset.  So in that case working hard with social stories, visual prompts that are reviewed frequently with pictures for her getting upset, her stopping, her going to her quiet corner or w/e works for her, and her calming down kind of thing. 

If she can handle some things that make her mad but others just push her over the edge every time then those would be the ones to work on and even playact where you DO THOSE THINGS and she has to learn to react differently.

Or if she is largely non-verbal or has a lot of difficulty communicating particularly when upset it might be good to figure out an UPSET MODE of communication where she can point to pictures of what she needs RIGHT THEN or has a place she can just GO RIGHT AWAY when she gets that mad to calm down (in school as well would be key). 

But if it's really just that she's lashing out at family and is handling things fine in school then it might be time to bring in a family counselor to help figure out what is setting her off, what dynamics might be leading to her aggression, and what can help ALL OF YOU overcome it.  I know with my daughter she and I push every last button and are far too similar to always coexist peacefully so it takes some concrete coping strategies for me (she's only 4) to learn how to react differently or even not at all.  Having two special needs kids is hard and it could be that guilt over spending more time with one or the other is changing your behaviors and they are reacting to that or something along those lines. 

MGRmomma
by on Apr. 3, 2013 at 4:37 PM

Thank you Katy I appreciate your suggestions! There is definitely a family trait of aggression (I like to say from my husband's side of the family...) His mom has ADHD and now Dementia, and his father before he passed away was a very angry/abusive person. So I'm sure some of her traits are genetic along with the additiion of the emotional/social issues. At this point I am willing to try anything to help her and help us understand how to deal with her special needs. It is difficult with two special needs children, especially so close in age (17 months apart) and at my advanced maternal age I'm not exactly in my prime...LOL

lucasmadre
by Kari on Apr. 3, 2013 at 4:50 PM

I am sorry you are dealing with this issue, it is so hard to see your child out of control and not know what to do about it. I worked with my son on expressing his feelings in other ways including punching pillows, yelling into pillows, I bought him some big blow up boxing gloves, signed him up for karate...most of all we talked a lot about how he felt, what was making him mad, what he wanted to do about it, better ways to deal with it. It took a lot of effort and time but in the end he now has tools to deal with his own feelings. Hang in there and good luck.  XO

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