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How To Handle Violent Autistic Child

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Handling Aggressive Behavior in Children with Autism

If things are not calming down and you have no back-up person to help, you may need to call the police or an on-call staff person . Let’s talk about calling the police. I am a big believer in natural consequences – I think natural consequences are the best teacher in most situations. The natural consequence for a person who is hurting you and tearing up your house is for the police to intervene. This is a drastic step for many parents. None of us want our kids to have a criminal record and none of us want outsiders dealing with our family issues. However, the person who gets violent changes all those wishes for privacy. Their behavior demands an intervention.

If you have a child or adult with autism who has even one episode of violence in their past, I would recommend calling the police when everything is cool and talking with them about your situation. Tell the police about your child, about autism, and about what you would want them to do if you called in a crisis. Explain what a typical crisis is and what steps from them would be helpful. Some people are so intimidated by the police that they immediately calm down . Their presence may be enough to defuse the situation. The police can “flag” your home on their system with the information you give them.

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  • Managing Autism Meltdowns Tantrums And Aggression

    By;Kim Barloso, AB

    May 7, 2021

    To an outsider, a child with autism having a meltdown might appear like a child having a temper tantrum, but the circumstances are often more complex than what meets the eye. Those who have cared for a child with autism spectrum disorder will know a meltdown is handled differently and with intimate knowledge of the childs personality.

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    Dealing With Violent Behavior In Autistic Children

    Autism is a genetic neurological disease affecting the cognitive and social development of the kids and sadly in the current society this health issue becomes more and more present.

    The gravity of the condition can vary from mild focusing issues to severe behavioral problems and unfortunately so far a cure is far from being discovered.

    The educational therapies and medication are currently the only chances these children have for a life close to what we call normality.

    A very complex aspect of the disease is the secondary effect of the aggressive behavior.

    The autistic children are normally recognized by the violent behavior and angry acts they display and many parents make the mistake to consider these a simple manifestation of the illness and not a result they can help control.

    In spite of the dreadful situations this illness brings, the parents are responsible to teach the autistic children the difference between good and bad.

    This difference will be responsible for preventing the kid from suffering because of being rejected from the groups and isolated by society.

    Here are the best methods to control the aggressive behavior in autistic kids.

    Teach The Child To Communicate

    How to Handle an Aggressive Autistic Child (with Pictures)

    The most common cause of aggressive behavior in autistic children is the fact they try to send a message but are not able to do so. As a result they do their best to communicate doing something that will get your attention.

    The most aggressive acts come from the frustration and in autism the feeling of frustration translates in anger and rage. Try to communicate with your kid from a very young age through any means necessary.

    Teach him or her signs and behavioral patterns that will be easy to use and recognize. Doing so you make sure he has enough tools to say what he wants or feels so the frustration will not appear.

    Recommended Reading: What Causes Autism In Utero

    Utilize Books With Pictures

    Another way for you to teach your child to read effectively despite his autism is to make sure that you use picture books. Autistic children are normally drawn to pictures instead of words. So if you choose a picture book that has colorful images when reading, you will definitely be able to capture the childs attention and teach him or her what she needs to learn about the book.

    Here Are Our Top Seven Strategies For Promoting Language Development In Nonverbal Children And Adolescents With Autism:

  • Encourage play and social interaction. Children learn through play, and that includes learning language. Interactive play provides enjoyable opportunities for you and your child to communicate. Try a variety of games to find those your child enjoys. Also try playful activities that promote social interaction. Examples include singing, reciting nursery rhymes and gentle roughhousing. During your interactions, position yourself in front of your child and close to eye level so its easier for your child to see and hear you.
  • Imitate your child. Mimicking your childs sounds and play behaviors will encourage more vocalizing and interaction. It also encourages your child to copy you and take turns. Make sure you imitate how your child is playing so long as its a positive behavior. For example, when your child rolls a car, you roll a car. If he or she crashes the car, you crash yours too. But dont imitate throwing the car!
  • Leave space for your child to talk. Its natural to feel the urge to fill in language when a child doesnt immediately respond. But its so important to give your child lots of opportunities to communicate, even if he isnt talking. When you ask a question or see that your child wants something, pause for several seconds while looking at him expectantly. Watch for any sound or body movement and respond promptly. The promptness of your response helps your child feel the power of communication.
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    How To Prevent Meltdowns

    For parents, dealing with ASD meltdowns can be exhausting. Preventing them can be a better strategy than trying to respond to them.

    Sometimes you can use the information you know about the child to avoid common triggers:

    • Know the childs sensory sensitivities such loud noises, bright lights, or strong smells
    • Know the daily routine such as reading a story before bedtime, eating a certain food for breakfast
    • Know the childs favorite things/places such a dinosaur toy, favorite blanket, a specific shop/store

    Once you have these pieces of information, it will be easier to identify meltdown triggers and avoid them as much as possible.

    For instance, if your child does not like a specific sensory input like bright lights, but you are in a public place where there are bright lights, try to redirect your child to avoid this area.

    It might be necessary to improvise if you can not avoid a meltdown trigger. If you need to skip breakfast because you need to leave early for a trip, pack the childs breakfast so he/she can still eat it on the way.

    Averting a meltdown may not be possible at all times, but here are a few ways to try to prevent them:

    Helping Nonverbal Kids To Communicate

    How to handle a tantrum in public with your autistic child.

    There are a number of treatments available for nonverbal people with autism including medical and educational approaches. Medical approaches include diet and supplements; educational approaches include speech and behavioral therapies, as well as assistive technology devices and augmentative communication methods. More at:

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    When Behavioral Plans Arent Enough

    Professionals agree, the younger you can treat a child, the better. But what about older children and even younger kids who are so dangerous to themselves and others, behavioral techniques arent enough to keep them, and others around them, safe?

    • Medication. Medication for underlying conditions such as ADHD and anxiety may make your child more reachable and teachable. Kids with extreme behavior problems are often treated with antipsychotic medications like Risperdal or Abilify. But these medications should be partnered with behavioral techniques.
    • Holds. Parent training may, in fact, include learning how to use safe holds on your child, so that you can keep both him and yourself out of harms way.
    • Residential settings. Children with extreme behaviors may need to spend time in a residential treatment facility, sometimes, but not always, in a hospital setting. There, they receive behavioral and, most likely, pharmaceutical treatment. Therapeutic boarding schools provide consistency and structure round the clock, seven days a week. The goal is for the child to internalize self-control so he can come back home with more appropriate behavior with you and the world at large.
    • Day treatment. With day treatment, a child with extreme behavioral problems lives at home but attends a school with a strict behavioral plan. Such schools should have trained staff prepared to safely handle crisis situations.

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    Read Also: How To Teach Empathy To Autistic Child

    Violence In Younger Kids

    If you have a younger child who is displaying violent or destructive behavior, think of it as a warning sign. Kids who are violent at age five, six, and seven have an extraordinarily high rate of being violent as teens and young adults.

    Violent behavior at this age would include hitting other kids, biting, and kicking on a consistent basis to get what they want. Its very important to hold young children accountable and to teach them social problem-solving skills they can use to replace violence.

    Dont ignore the problem. Dont assume he will grow out of it and it will go away on its own. Having a system of consequences and rewards that you use consistently can be very helpful in curbing violence. Many kids are under-socialized and need extra teaching, structure, and patience to learn these skills.

    Transporting Your Child Or Adult With Autism To The Hospital Yourself

    How to Handle an Aggressive Autistic Child

    Sometimes the police will not cooperate, or you have determined that you do not wish to involve the police for some other reason. Transporting a child or adult with autism who is in a crisis is not a task for the feint of heart and it should not be done alone. An out-of-control person in a car is a recipe for disaster – please do not attempt this alone. You may be able to call an ambulance or even a cab to transport. At least in those situations you will be free to restrain the person if necessary.

    If you must transport the person to a hospital or other program, you will need help. Prior to this step you should identify someone in your family or circle of friends who is fearless, physically large and fit, and will agree to come with you and supervise your child or adult with autism in this situation. Call this person and tell him or her to come over immediately for the transport. Depending upon the size and/or strength of your child or adult with autism, you may need to arrange two people for this task. Do not tell your child or adult with autism what you are up to. When the person arrives, let him take over with your child or adult with autism as you go to prepare the car. Tell the person to come when you honk the horn.

    Also Check: Is Autism A Social Issue

    Acknowledge Your Childs Emotions

    Instead of telling your child to stop crying, you can let him/her know that you understand his/her feelings. You can validate feelings without giving in. For example, saying something like, I know youre upset that you cant have that toy, but we cant buy it right now. Maybe next time. This lets your child know that you feel bad that he/she feels bad, but there is nothing you can dofor now.

    In The Midst Of The Crisis

    But what if you, like so many of us, miss the early warning signs, and your child appears alarmingly close to damaging your home or hurting someone or himself?

    One thing is certain, theres no way to rationally work through a behavioral crisis in the midst of one. Safety becomes the priority, and this may mean calling 911. However, here are some guidelines that can help keep everyone safe.

  • Stay calm. Breathe. Your childs behaviors will likely trigger your own strong emotions. You need to manage them. By way of analogy, think of an aggressive behavioral outburst as a fire. Dont fan it with energy and excitement. Your goal is to smother it by remaining calm, patient, firm and reassuring.
  • Talk quietly. Talk less. For many of us, the impulse is to talk when things are getting out of control.; Remember that when someone is in full meltdown mode, he or she isnt able to reason. Autism adds to this difficulty, even for highly verbal children. When highly stressed, your child may have difficulty understanding what anyone is saying. A good rule of thumb is to talk far less than you want to. Consider not talking at all. When you do speak, keep your sentences short and concrete maybe one or two words paired with a visual signal.
  • You might consider smoothing or covering walls and sharp corners with soft materials. I recommend Making Homes that Work: A Resource Guide for Families Living with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Co-occuring Behaviors.
  • Looking beyond the crisis

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    Techniques For Avoiding And Managing Meltdowns

    Children with autism can have a tough time managing their behavior. Even high functioning children can “have a meltdown” in situations that would be only mildly challenging to a typical peer.

    Children with more severe symptoms can get very upset on a daily basis. Meltdowns and anxiety can make it very hard to participate in typical activities or, in some extreme cases, to even leave the house.

    It’s not always easy to calm a child with autism, but there are techniques that can often be successful. Some require a bit of extra equipment that offers sensory comfort. Some of these items can be used in settings like school or community venues. If they work well, they’re worth their weight in gold.

    Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin

    How To Stop Violent Behavior In Autistic Kids

    How to Deal with New Aggressive Behavior

    Autism is a disorder that affects the social and communication skills of the brain. Children that are diagnosed with autism have difficulty with social play and both verbal and nonverbal communication. According to Carl Sundberg from the Behavior Analysis Center for Autism, the incidence of aggression in children with autism is higher than their peers, primarily due to difficulties with communication. Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach to reduce violent behaviors such as biting, hitting or scratching, states Mary Rosswurm, executive director of Little Star Center, there are a number of different methods you can try to reduce your child’s aggressive behavior.

    Read Also: Why Vaccines Dont Cause Autism

    Handling A Lack Of Responsiveness

  • 1Understand that a lack of responsiveness is a common sign of autism. They may not know how to offer social or emotional support to others, and a few may display extreme unfriendliness and detachment. Other autistic people deeply care about others, but are unsure how to act appropriately and help the people they love.
  • This lack of responsiveness is one reason for the difficulties that some autistic people face in securing and keeping employment, and making friends.
  • Keep in mind that even an extremely unresponsive child can probably still hear you; they just don’t have a way to communicate yet. Therapies such as RDI and RPM can help them engage more.
  • 2Teach social skills directly. While many children pick up social skills naturally, just by observing and participating in groups, autistic children often need direct instruction. Parents and special education teachers can and should spend considerable time teaching autistic children to socialize politely and recognize the needs and emotions of others.
  • 3Encourage limited social interactions. Many autistic children begin, over time, to express an interest in making friendsespecially if they are offered many opportunities to do so. Set up brief playdates and visit fun places where other children will be present. If your child doesn’t socialize well, explain to them that it is for a limited time only, which will help them feel less overwhelmed.
  • How To Calm A Child With Autism

    There are certain calming do’s and don’ts that apply to most children with autism. These are based on the factors that autistic children have in common, specifically:

    • Difficulty with understanding social norms and conventions
    • Difficulty with following or using non-verbal communication
    • Unawareness of others’ likely reactions to behaviors
    • Sensory challenges that can get in the way of positive behaviors
    • Lack of social motivation

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