Concerned about 5 year old

heather34576

New Member
Hello, this is my first post and I'm not sure if I'm in the right place. Kind of hope I'm not. My son is 5 years old and lives with me and my husband, has a stable home life, no drugs, drinking, abuse etc but I do have a history of mental illness which is being well treated. Dad does not have mental illness himself but there is family history.

My son was moderately preterm and had delays from birth, was in early intervention, then diagnosed with autism when he was 3. He does struggle socially but is very outgoing and socially motivated and can be very charming. People generally like him as long as they don't have to ask him to do anything.

Now to why I'm here ... he has been aggressive since toddlerhood, would randomly smack me in the face while sitting on my lap, etc. Over the years his aggression has increased, especially towards me but also towards Dad, therapists, and other children at school. He started kindergarten a few months ago and I have gotten numerous reports of hitting, punching, and stomping on other kids. In one case he sent a kid to the nurse's office with a bleeding lip. At home, I have been punched, kicked, bitten, choked a couple of times, head-butted many times, objects thrown at me, stabbed with a pencil, and so on. The triggers are small things like saying he can't have more of his favorite snack.

He has no sense of authority, at all. If we discipline him we are being "mean" to him no matter what he did that brought about the discipline (eg. he hit me with a toy so I took the toy away). He says his teacher "talks back" to him. He is very noncooperative and defiant. He loves villains, like Disney villains or superhero villains, and always identifies with them and pretends to be them. He says he doesn't like doing nice things.

On several occasions at parties or play dates he has talked about "making everyone die." He often says he wants to hurt his teacher or destroy the whole school. Earlier today we went shopping and he made up a song about how he was going to "destroy" me and sang it the whole time we were there, because I didn't buy him a toy. In the past when he has done things that hurt me I have asked if he wanted to hurt me and he said yes.

All this being said, he can be very sweet and has many good qualities. I don't want to reduce him to these problematic behaviors but I'm trying to show why I'm concerned. He does have a therapist/counselor, who we started seeing a few months ago.

I have been concerned for a while and feel that my concerns have generally been dismissed as me worrying too much. Now that he's hurting other kids people are starting to take it more seriously. I still feel very alone as if no one else sees what I'm seeing. But does any of this sound like we are headed for conduct disorder? And if so, what can be done to help him?
 

BusynMember

Well-Known Member
Is he engaged in autistic interventions in school and the community? His behavior can improve but not with punishment. Autistic kids need specific interventions specifically for. autism They need to learn to understand other people, the world and learn how to cope in a puzzling world. They have to learn to handle frustration but not through punishment. All this is a part of the disorder, not willful bad behavior and not helping autism specifically can make the kids a trainwreck.

They can also get MUCH better and live good lives. Pretty normal lives. With autistic help.

God bless you!
 
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heather34576

New Member
Is he engaged in autistic interventions in school and the community? His behavior can improve but not with punishment. Autistic kids need specific interventions specifically for. autism They need to learn to understand other people, the world and learn how to cope in a puzzling world. They have to learn to handle frustration but not through punishment. All this is a part of the disorder, not willful bad behavior and not helping autism specifically can make the kids a trainwreck.

They can also get MUCH better and live good lives. Pretty normal lives. With autistic help.

God bless you!
Yes, he has had plenty of autism-specific intervention at home and school. He has an IEP for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).. I don't buy that this is all due to autism.
 

BusynMember

Well-Known Member
Well....it could be. Just a thought. Autism affects everything about you. Autism can cause meltdowns and violence due to sensory overload, frustration and lack of social skills and intolerance to change.. But you must do what you do. I hope something kicks in. Perhaps he would do better in a special classroom with less kids and more one on one help. Hitting other kids for any reason is dangerous. But he may not be in control of himself.

Autistic kids do have social deficits and many do not understand that authority figures are in charge. So they don't feel as if they need to obey them. And they don't respond to traditional child discipline methods. I have an autistic grandson. He seems charming too until he doesn't get his way. He doesn't seem to grasp that not everyone is equal in authority. And he will throw things at people too. He is very difficult. We have a long road and are willing to do what we must. It is not going to be easy.

Having said that, your son does sound as if he may have other issues too. This is common. I recommend a neuropsychological evaluation. My grandson just had one. They are very intensive evaluations. They cover all areas.

This is not a neurologist. It is a psychologist with extra training in the brain.

Many blessings and good luck.
 
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heather34576

New Member
He was diagnosed by a neuropsychologist. We could conceivably go back, not sure what insurance would cover.

I do know that some of these things can be autism related, but ... making up songs about killing family and friends? I don't know. Some of this stuff sets off alarm bells in my head but people tell me I'm reading things into it that aren't there. I hope they're right!

Thank you for your input and well-wishes, I appreciate it.
 

BusynMember

Well-Known Member
Ok. I agree the violent stuff does not sound like autism! Okay so you say he had a traumatic birth, which is NOT your fault! But if he had to spend time in a hospital away from you, for medical reasons, and again this is NOT your fault, maybe he has attachment issues of nobody's doing. I believe totally that you are a loving family. Things can happen out of our control!

Maybe take him now, if you are covered, to a psychologist and talk about the violence. With the right help, all can end up well

I trust Mom Gut. I can also read how smart and caring you are. So with a clear conscience, move forward and see if he can get help to calm down. I do think maybe a smaller class would be easier for him AND you.more teachers to watch him and less phone calls.

You matter too. Find the best way to help both your son and yourself. Many blessings. Kee.p us updated.
 

Crayola13

Well-Known Member
There is another mom on this forum in a similar situation. You might want to look at posts by B.'s mom. It seems impossible to get proper help for these children.
 

heather34576

New Member
There is another mom on this forum in a similar situation. You might want to look at posts by B.'s mom. It seems impossible to get proper help for these children.
Thank you. I looked up some of her posts. I guess I'm glad we only have one child, it has to be so heartbreaking to see one of your children hurting the other.

I just picked up my son from school and he punched me, spat in my face and scratched me for no apparent reason. The worst part is I'm so used to it I don't even bat an eye. After the holidays I plan on taking him back to the doctor.
 
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JayPee

Sending good vibes...
Heather

I’m sorry for all you’re going through. I don’t have experience or knowledge of your son’s condition but I might suggest you start journaling daily these events. Maybe if you were to provide the specific details of his behaviors combined with the additional testing you plan on, it may lead to some answers.
I do feel bad that these behaviors he exhibits towards you have become your “normal” to the degree you hardly if at all react.

I’ve dealt with that with a different scenario and I get how you become numb to it all. It’s as if we don’t allow ourselves to process what’s happening as a preventative measure of trying to cope. Because we can’t cope so we don’t want to feel anything.

I pray you get some answers.
 

susiestar

Roll With It
My autistic son (Asperger's) was also obsessed with violence. He would hurt his little sister if left alone in a room with her. For years I had to take her into the bathroom with me or she ended up bruised/battered. Try not being able to pee alone for 4 or 5 years! My son had so many problems that I ended up not being able to work. I kept having to leave to go get my son because he did something to someone. He NEVER recognized his teachers as authority figures. He would do what they said if he liked them but if he didn't? Or if he thought they were stupid? OMG those were hard times.

We did all of the therapy and intervention we could and nothing seemed to help for long. When he was 14, I made the difficult choice that he had to live somewhere else. If he stayed with us, we were going to have a major tragedy on our hands. Either he would kill or maim me, and then his sister, or I would end up hurting him seriously to get him to stop hurting his sister. Oddly enough, he used to feel incredible guilt over hurting us, but when he got upset, he couldn't control himself. If he ended up causing serious harm, he would probably kill himself. I just couldn't live with those things happening. He went to live with my parents. I have no idea what they did, but he managed to get himself together in his late teens or early 20's. He worked very hard to rebuild his relationship with the entire family (both as individuals and as a family). He is now 28 and working full time. He is completely independent and his coworkers truly enjoy working with him.

One thing I wish we had done was Occupational Therapy for sensory issues. We didn't even know this existed until he was about 12 or 13. It can make a huge difference. I know it did with my younger son (also autistic but much milder than his older brother). If you can get into this sort of therapy, do it. One thing I LOVED about this therapy was that my kids enjoyed it. My younger son used to spend hours sitting upside down on his head while he watched TV or read books. Once we started Occupational Therapist (OT), we learned that deep pressure on the head is something that some kids need. The therapist had a table full of the types of toys that would fit my son's needs. Thanks to a Grandma that couldn't stop buying toys, we had at least 3/4 of the toys she said would help my son. And he liked them. The Occupational Therapist (OT) that he needed wasn't something we had to force him to do. it was something he WANTED to do. How often is a therapy something that the kid actually wants to do? Kids are drawn to the type of therapy that helps them.

To learn more about this, read "The Out of Sync Child" by Kranowitz. To find activities that will help, get a copy of "The Out of Sync Child Has Fun" by the same author. The "Has Fun" book is amazing. We wore out several copies. The activities were things we did with the entire family because they were so much fun. I used to have to get large amounts of the supplies needed because if we started to do an activity in our backyard, every kid in the neighborhood showed up! It was amazing to have kids just appear and want to join in. We had a blast with that book. And it made a real difference for my kids. I just wish we had known about this years before we did.
 

Deni D

Well-Known Member
I'm so glad you replied Susiestar!
Heather, I also know of a young man with Aspergers who was violent when he was younger. He was not in my family or in my life until he was 15.

He was placed in a residential treatment center when he was 7 years old and then continued to have major problems when he came out at 9, back in again for a year when he was 16. His father has described him as "flipping out" with his father having to tackle him and hold on to him those times to keep him from hurting himself, his younger sibling, and destroying things in the house.

The mom and dad are polar opposites in disposition (dad calm, mom not) and involvement (mom involved, dad not) none of which I knew when things got real when he entered our lives(my son and mine), so that made things so off the wall I couldn't figure out what the heck was going on when this young man became a friend of my son's and I got sucked in.

The dad had custody of the three children but seemed to be totally clueless about his responsibility towards a "differently acting" child. The mom, I know, loved and cared for all of her children very much but had/has emotional issues of her own, hence why the father was able to gain custody during a 6 year divorce(him starting at 4 years old)/custody battle. I know now neither parent was capable of sorting out what he needed. Child protective services (CPS) were a very strong staple in their lives until he turned 18.

So anyway the point is I don't know what should have been done for this young man (child at the time) but I know he didn't get what he needed. He also had and does now have a very developed conscience (unlike my own child). When he has done anything he remotely shouldn't do with me or his father he has been obviously very remorseful, after the fact. He is such a kind soul who so wants to do right. With authority figures I think he gets it more now that he's an adult but doesn't actually quite see authority, as in bosses, or the police as people quite yet, like a concept he has a hard time grasping.

He does okay now, works part time but is not working up to his potential. I do think that will come in time, or I so hope so. He also does not seem have enough people in his life right now, not enough of a life, he's pretty isolated which I also hope will change going forward for him.

The thing is with all of this is I think Susiestars examples are of a great success, a much better success and so much better examples of inclusion, and less pain, for someone dealing with the same challenges.

My particular Asperger's guy has my heart, all of my heart, forever. I miss him and look forward to visiting with him soon. He is living down south a few states from me and is much more light and sunshine than the weather down there is. I can't wait to spend some time with him.
 

heather34576

New Member
Thank you both for your comments. In the past week he has started talking about how "his brain makes him do bad things and gets him in trouble". I feel that this insight is promising, that he is beginning to be aware of and frustrated with his own behavior. I just wish I knew how to help his "brain."

We have done Occupational Therapist (OT) in the past and I know how to do compressions. He has a weighted blanket, trampoline and lots of other sensory things. I will look for those books, as he probably does need more activities to regulate, he is very sensory seeking. I know he gets Occupational Therapist (OT) and sensory breaks at school.
 

Deni D

Well-Known Member
Heather, I'm just catching up, sorry I'm so late here.
In the past week he has started talking about how "his brain makes him do bad things and gets him in trouble".
This is great insight for such a young person. He's at a young tender age where "doing right" is so very important to him. I so hope you are able to find the right combinations of support for him. It's wonderful, invaluable, you have a household with two parents, it means so much to a child like him and to both of you parents. There is so much more available these days to help children to connect socially and to emotionally regulate themselves.
A book both myself and my son loved when he was young is "Cool cats, calm kids", my son would ask me to read it to him often , especially when he was looking to calm down after a difficult day. I bet he could recite all of it to this day.
 

JMom

Well-Known Member
Heather,
I don't have anything to add, as my children do not have autism. I am glad you posted and am saying a prayer for you to have peace and that your son find his center.

I hope you get some time to take care of yourself. It sounds like you have put a ton of effort into your Special boy.

From an outsider looking in, you are doing great. I'm proud of you for your perserverence.

Jmom
 

heather34576

New Member
Hi again. So my son is about to turn 6. Unfortunately I still have concerns.

Since I last posted, but before schools closed, he started talking with some frequency about blowing up the school and hurting his teachers. Now, I am aware there some were issues with the school that I worked to address but this seems like an extreme/unusual reaction for a 5 year old.

When schools first closed, his physical aggression spiked and then got better for a while. Lately though he has been hurting me again and also making verbal threats. Eg "Get me juice or I'll smack you in the face." (I don't get him what he wants unless he rephrases it to be polite.) Lots of "you'll see" or "you'll be sorry". A lot of times when I say no to something he holds up his fist like he's going to punch me (and sometimes he does, but he knows there are consequences for that). He's also started scratching again and will turn into a character called "The Scratchmaster." He's also threatened to "slice" me, and has sawed at my arm with a plastic knife. He got hold of a pair of scissors and threatened to cut my hair because it was "annoying" him.

I should add that most of the time he is a really pleasant, charming kid. But he can switch from that to the other stuff seemingly instantly. And then he'll switch right back and be hugging me and saying "I love you Mommy" (no apology for the behavior though ... except maybe a "sorry not sorry").

His therapist does not seem to share my concerns. We had a zoom session with her today and after watching him scream in my face for twenty minutes about how he was going to destroy a tree in his grandpas yard, she had very little to say about it.

I have no idea what to do. I was keeping a record of this stuff for a while but stopped when things got better. I have no idea what would help.
 

HMBgal

Well-Known Member
Therapist had nothing to say after witnessing that? And no one else sees a problem? Ummmm, this boy is going to get bigger and then what? I would say this boy has some issues that need addressing for sure. This is from a grandma raising a child very much like this and it didn't get better until it was addressed with school (he's now 14 and in a behavioral school and doing so much better). And he finally landed a really good therapist that is teaching self-regulation techniques. We tried mediated play groups, so many drugs, talk therapy that involved asking three questions, not waiting for answers, then prescribing new drugs. I had to do a lot of work to get him the help he needed, and lots of dead ends, bad side effects from drugs, etc. Have you read The Explosive Child? It's on Kindle, real books, and Nook. It helped us get started. We found the issues to be cyclical. Things would go good for awhile, until they didn't.
 

heather34576

New Member
Therapist had nothing to say after witnessing that? And no one else sees a problem? Ummmm, this boy is going to get bigger and then what? I would say this boy has some issues that need addressing for sure. This is from a grandma raising a child very much like this and it didn't get better until it was addressed with school (he's now 14 and in a behavioral school and doing so much better). And he finally landed a really good therapist that is teaching self-regulation techniques. We tried mediated play groups, so many drugs, talk therapy that involved asking three questions, not waiting for answers, then prescribing new drugs. I had to do a lot of work to get him the help he needed, and lots of dead ends, bad side effects from drugs, etc. Have you read The Explosive Child? It's on Kindle, real books, and Nook. It helped us get started. We found the issues to be cyclical. Things would go good for awhile, until they didn't.
I read the Explosive Child a year ago or so but felt like it was geared more towards older children although some things were helpful ... Maybe I need to revisit it. Did any medication help? It definitely does seem to be cyclical.

I think another therapist is needed.
I hear you. This woman is really nice but I don't understand why she doesn't see what I see. Any advice on how to find a child therapist who will address this stuff? It doesn't seem like there's an abundance of therapists for this age group.
 

HMBgal

Well-Known Member
I read the Explosive Child a year ago or so but felt like it was geared more towards older children although some things were helpful ... Maybe I need to revisit it. Did any medication help? It definitely does seem to be cyclical.



I hear you. This woman is really nice but I don't understand why she doesn't see what I see. Any advice on how to find a child therapist who will address this stuff? It doesn't seem like there's an abundance of therapists for this age group.
You're right. Trust your gut. You know your kid best. My experience with Explosive Child was that it helped us reframe our thinking. The "If they can do good, they do" really resonated with us and changed our approach. And yes, five is young for the level of digging down and communicating, but it helped us understand the meltdowns over seeming silly things.

As for finding therapists, the kids had Kaiser insurance at the time, and he went through the gamut of groups and ever-changing therapists. They weren't there to talk and listen, mostly to prescribe drugs. And then I sat on phone for hours trying to find private therapists that could do drug therapy if needed, that his insurance would be accepted, and that specialized in kids like this AND had room on their caseload.

My grandson has done so well because he has wrap-around services now. The scattershot approach from schools and various things tried on IEPs and instructional aides etc., just didn't work. When the violence really escalated to the point that elder abuse services was called on my grandson (when he was 12) because of serious injury to my husband, and child protective services was called on my husband (who was trying to get my grandson out of the car and in trying to drag him out, left a small mark on his neck). CPS came into our home, as did the elder abuse people and they said that we might have to get police and residential type services involved. We were not charged with anything and they said that we definitely needed additional services.

About that time, he lost it at school and the police had to be called to the school. He tore the school up pretty good and hurt one of the secretaries. He was moved immediately to a behavioral school and that has saved us. He's had the same talk therapist for 18 months, one hour every week. Occupational therapy to find sensory strategies help regulate, etc. Lots of interventions and it has worked. He has had trauma, ADHD, generalized anxiety disorder, no autism, but a word salad of other DSM diagnoses over the years. Which described what was being seen at the time but didn't seem to get to the heart of things, and it's changed over time.

I don't know where you are located and services are so different in different places. We've tried private therapy where the psychiatrist played video games with him. And he prescribed drugs that didn't work very well, either.

Grandson is now 14, no drugs (we tried so many, then did genetic testing for his ability to metabolize various classes of drugs, which helped guide us for awhile). I have nothing against drugs that work, but for him, they just didn't. And lots hard work on his part. And our part. Sigh. It shouldn't be this hard, right?
 
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