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Behavior issue

Posted by on Jun. 9, 2013 at 1:18 AM
  • 8 Replies
I need help. My son has autism. He is 19 years old and has been targeting people both at school, home and strangers in the community. He seems to be obsessed with lifting up shirts to look at a persons belly. It started a year or so ago with him wanting to see my husbands belly. My husband would tell him no and stop him from trying to lift up his shirt. This behavior has increased and my son targets both male and females of any age usually with a larger belly and sometimes not with a larger belly. The behavior has overtaken him and he seems to be unable to control this urge. At school he is not allowed to go out into the community on trips with his class, he is not allowed to continue his work program The school says he is a liability and can not be out in the community even with an aide with him.

My Husband and I have realized that this behavior is sexual and excites him. We have two BCBA's , his teachers and child study team working on this behavior. Basically all they have done so far is graph the occurrences and time of day. And how his behavior has changed when he is successfully blocked from lifting a shirt.

My son is a big kid, 6'3 and close to 300lbs so he can be very strong and hard to stop We have tried positive reinforcements, social stories and rules to follow and also have taking things away that he was working for. This does not seem to affect of bother him if he loses something.

Please help.... With summer coming it is going to be hard to do anything with him, I have two Typical daughters and it is sad we can't go out with my son's behaviors
by on Jun. 9, 2013 at 1:18 AM
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by Platinum Member on Jun. 9, 2013 at 9:22 AM
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So sorry momma. I think with the help you are getting they could come up with a plan. This is out of my league. Hopefully another mom can help with this one. 

by on Jun. 9, 2013 at 9:24 AM
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What a tuffy! I wish I had some answers for you. I shall pray for you, hang in there mama!
by Platinum Member on Jun. 9, 2013 at 12:10 PM
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I'm sorry.  That sounds like a hard one.  I wish I could help.  My son does that, but he is only 4 and learning to say body parts right now.  If he can't see them, he can't say them I guess.  But I can see where at 4 that is cute; 19 would not be. 

I do understand the not getting to go out much because of behaviors, so I can empathize with you there.  The public does not appreciate my son's scream, and in no place is it appropriate or accepted by others. 

Good Luck.  I hope you find something that works!

by on Jun. 10, 2013 at 7:30 AM
Thank you for your support and kind wishes. Now the school is saying my son can't attend school on Friday's during his ESY because that is the day they go on trips because the school is closed on Fridays during the summer. They have offered home bound instruction. So, pretty much total isolation seems to be there answer. I do not agree. This is his last week of school before summer break (all half days). Then summer program behind July 1st

I am very stressed
by on Jun. 10, 2013 at 7:50 AM
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Have you checked in your community for places that cater to adults with autism?

my 18 yr old is autistic but he would never do things like that because he is not fond of touching people

keep reinforcing that it is not allowed and not OK

did he give a reason why he does it?

is this a compulsion or an obsession?

does he draw? would pictures of bellys work instead of real life ones?


by on Jun. 10, 2013 at 3:27 PM
Unfortunately, there is not much in our area for autistic adults or children that my son would be able to attend.

My son will repeat the social rules that we have taught him and he will say "no touching belly's" or "touching belly's is bad". But, it often seems like the urge is so overpowering he can not stop.

He has trouble answering "why" questions . If we ask him why he will just reply "it is bad "

He does not like to draw, but I was thinking along the same lines as you. Maybe, printing out pics of belly's from the Internet that he can look at, will help in some way

He has a big belly so I am not sure if he is curious about what other people's belly's look like or if it is more of the need to feel and touch and see belly's.

So, I don't know if it is a compulsion or an obsession.

He is on a lot of meds so I think having a medical exam would be the next step. He currently takes Depakote, Vimpat, and Topamax and also 25mg of Zoloft

We live in Manahawkin New Jersey If anyone is from this area and knows of a great neurologist that would be great

Thank you
by on Jun. 10, 2013 at 6:38 PM

OK it sounds like he is parroting back the answer instead of really understanding it

that happens have you tried explaining it in a different way

ask him what he would do if someone came up to him and lifted his shirt to see his belly

I know that if I were to meet a young man that wanted to see my belly I would show people (I am very overweight) maybe have him ask others perhaps they would also be willing to show him

(again I do not know how well your son communicates)

show him all kinds of pictures of stomachs men women children old young in art and in photos see if that helps his desire to know more about the body

I do agree with you seeing a doctor again would be a great thing

to find stuff in your area google autism support services or see if there are any recommendations near you or parent groups I do hope you find something fingers crossed


by on Jun. 11, 2013 at 3:26 PM
Yes, it seems like he understands it is wrong, but with his level of communication skills, I do not think he understands personal space and that people do not want to be touched

I do think like you said he has a curiosity of what other people's belly's look like as compared to his own. He use to be much thinner but since starting all his meds has gained way too much weight and it is mostly in his belly. His belly looks like a big beer belly, minus the beer of course.

I sometimes find him looking at himself in the mirror, checking out his belly, touching it and making it jiggle

I will look for pics of belly's. not sure where , but it is worth a try

I hate that his schools idea of helping him is secluding him from class trips and community outings and his work program.

Thank you for your help
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