Newbie with-agressive almost 5 yr. old

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by zzraven, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. zzraven

    zzraven New Member


    husband and I are at nearing our wits' ends about what to do about our 4 yr. DS (5 in December). DS was diagnosed as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) when he was 3, but we moved to another state and that diagnosis was taken away - we are currently awaiting a re-evaluation and to see a developmental pedi. We've been involved with-Occupational Therapist (OT) since he was 15 mos. (developmental delay and sensory issues) and he now sees a Behavioral Therapist 1x/wk. However, recently he has become EXTREMELY aggressive. If he doesn't get his way, he will kick, punch, and headbutt and throw whatever is with-in his reach. Usually it's directed at husband or me, but he will also go after his 2 yr. old brother or whoever is in his way. It's not just one trigger, it's everything. From getting dressed to eating to going to karate to playing to going to bed. It seems like every interaction with-him involves aggression/violent behavior on his part. The minute something doesn't go his way, he erupts. He could be building a block tower or playing with-lego, but the minute one block falls, all heck breaks loose and he starts throwing and if you go near him, he kicks and hits. Getting him dressed for school, he starts kicking and punching the minute we wake him up, continues when we help him dress, etc. The thing we don't understand is he's fine in school. He's always had tantrums, but never to this extreme or with-this much violence towards others (he used to headbutt out of anger when he was younger, but would headbutt the wall, floor, or ground). He just started this 2-3 weeks ago following an ear infection. We meet with-his behavioral therapist for his weekly session tomorrow, but it seems like the sessions are futile. We do what his therapist suggests, follow the hand outs, but nothing works. We remove him from the situation when he tantrums, we do positive reinforcement, we remove/avoid his triggers if we foresee a tantrum, we tried charts, but nothing seems to be effective. He's getting stronger as he gets older. We don't know what to do. husband thinks it's because he's spoiled and says he's too old to be acting like this. And my biggest fear is he's going to become more aggressive if we don't do something about it now, but don't know what to do.

  2. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    It sounds like his rigidity is becoming worse as in things not going the way he "thinks" they should or follow his "plan". He might need some medication to help with the extreme anxiety that can be associated with this. My difficult child 1 went through a spell where he was VERY rigid. He was put on a medication (can't think of what at the moment) to help calm him down so we could work on teaching him some level of flexibility.

    Tell your husband that it's not because he's spoiled and that he not "too old" for this type of behavior. Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) causes kids to be emotionally immature for their age. My 14 year old difficult child is emotionally about 9 or 10. What works for a typical 14 y.o. doesn't work for him. It's sometimes hard to remember that.
  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Hi, and welcome. Glad you found us - sorry you had to.

    How long is his school day? I'm assuming he isn't in grade 1 yet. Starting school - K or grade 1 - often brings other problems to the surface. Many difficult child kids end up dealing with all sorts of "overload" conditions at school... and have nothing left to cope with life when they are out of school.

    Who provided the original Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) diagnosis? And how did that get "taken away"?
    I'm assuming he had an Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation, in order to be involved in Occupational Therapist (OT) therapy.
    Has he ever had a comprehensive evaluation? (usually 6+ hours of testing, neuropsychologist or child developmental/behavioural team at a childrens' or teaching hospital or equivalent)
    Sleep patterns? Not just quantity, but quality?
  4. zzraven

    zzraven New Member

    He's in pre-K and has a 4 hr. school day, 5 days/week. His original diagnosis was provided by the school district and several physicians and specialists in MD via comprehensive evaluation with-many months of testing. However, when we moved to DE, the school district evaluated him and said he was "too high functioning." Whereas his pedi says he's at least Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) and that the district hasn't seen his history and development and apparently they don't understand the nature of the spectrum (she was upset when she found the district took away his services). However, the school district said they don't go by medical diagnosis when considering services, just what the district evaluation says and according to them, he's not Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). So we now have referrals for a re-evaluation by the developmental pedi along with-appts. for pediatric psychiatrist, behavioral psychiatric, neurology and he already sees a behavioral therapist.

    As for sleep, he gets 10 hrs./night along with-a 2 hr. nap each day. He sleeps pretty well, though he has a history of night terrors and had a recent episode of sleep walking. I'm also worried because he's had so much change in his life (we're a military family, so we've moved a lot) and now father in law and brother in law are moving in with-us (semi-permanently) in the next few weeks. So, he'll go through periods of great sleep, only to have major life events interrupt and it takes forever to reestablish.
  5. zzraven

    zzraven New Member

    I think husband is frustrated. Ever since the new wave of aggression started, it's been stressful. husband is handicapped (2 broken hips, muscle weakness, missing the ribs above his heart) and in the past few weeks, while attempting to protect himself from DS, DS has hit, kicked, headbutted him in several surgical/vulnerable spots. So, I think husband is frustrated. He thinks we spoil DS bc we treat him differently from the 2 yr. old (the 2 yr. old is more independent). And whenever I try to explain that DS has different needs, he says I'm just making excuses.

    We haven't approached the topic of medications, yet, neither have any of the physicians. We see his behavioral therapist again tomorrow and have an appointment. with-the psychiatric in 2 weeks. We just want to help DS.
  6. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hi there! Welcome to the club no one ever wants to have to join ....but sure glad it's here. Glad you are seeing a new dev.pediatrician. I hope he does a good complete evaluation.

    What does your gut say? Do you think he is on the spectrum? That level of frustration / rigidity / etc sure is a common thing for many of us with kids on the spectrum. My son and I had no luck with traditional behavior therapy either. When we used common Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) strategies we did much better. In school it is likely they have a picture schedule to help organize the students days, a fairly routine schedule, and maybe even songs or chants for transitions (a clean up song, a line up chant etc.) Kids on the spectrum often do much better in school if those issues are tricky for them. Their social issues may not appear too bad either when young. Sharing and socially negotiating / cooperating, are not as challenging until after second grade.

    For many years we used pictures of our day and I put them in order on a little ring, flipping to.the next activity and showing him prior to the next activity (eat, going in the car, going on the school bus, play time etc) each of those activities might then have a one page "social story " which is a list of how to do a task or reminders for behavior, etc. For example I'd bring a sheet to mc Donald's that had a picture of eat first then play. For play there were pictures like quiet voice, no climbing etc.that I could point to if needed. We used a visual timer to help him see how long he had before a switch.

    My son has sensory issues too. He struggles when changing activities and when he was little that could even mean going from standing to sitting. His lack of ability to access enough language to express feelings or to problem solve if he was uncomfortable or upset contributed to the constant upsets. He processes language poorly too so gets very frustrated. He hates being rushed in general. Imagine all those things adding any day to day drama like a hang nail or a cold etc. Our kiddos who are wired differently really do feel uncomfortable and frustrated a large % of.their days.

    I agree a complete evaluation that looks at everything (like a neuropsychologist or if your dev. pediatrician. Uses a team to do alot of different assessments) would be more helpful than just a diagnosis. (Though that of course is helpful to get appropriate treatment and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) opens lots of therapy options and can really help if school challenges should arise (if it turns out that is what you're dealing with )).

    Do you have the book "What your explosive child is trying to tell you " by Doug Riley. Or The Explosive Child by Ross Greene.? There are many suggestions there and importantly ....they help reframe how you can look at the behaviors .....even IF your child was "spoiled " he doesn't want to be miserable and upset all of the time. Something is going on. It helps to identify skills he needs to learn and to prioritize when and how to work on those things.
    You are not alone, many of us know the challenge of having an aggressive child. Some improve some get worse and some, like mine are on a rollercoaster ....good long lengths of time then challenging.
    We too (like TeDo) needed medications to help. It doesn't cure (for us ) but puts him in a place where we can work on things and he is in a place to receive the help and learn.

    Take care and hope you check in as much as you can. Sometimes it just helps to let it out!
  7. zzraven

    zzraven New Member

    Just an update. DS had his evaluation yesterday @ the children's hospital. Four hours of interviews and evaluating. We won't know the results until they receive the additional feedback from his previous schools and his current one. We completed our questionnaires as well. Now, it's just a waiting game.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Good luck. He sure sounds Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) to me, especially how he can't handle frustration and head butts (a very Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) thing to do) and with his having delays. It has nothing to do with "spoiled" or immaturity. He is wired differently, no matter WHAT the evaluators call his problems, and he is not going to mature the same way as a typical child, no matter what you do. That's why behavioral therapy doesn't work. It doesn't tend to work with differently wired kids. If the BT is costing you serious money, you may want to drop him.

    Your son needs interventions, not discipline for "bad" behavior. Likely that will never help him, whereas interventions really should.

    Good luck on the waiting game. Hope you can get him some interventions after you hear the results!
  9. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Will be so interested to hear what they tell you.....hope you get more support!