Remove myself from aggressive son — Scope | Disability forum
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Remove myself from aggressive son

mandy_r Community member Posts: 4 Listener
edited September 2017 in Autism and neurodiversity
Hi. I am looking for a way to remove myself from my son when he is being aggressive. If in close proximity he we grab me around my neck and then bit, nip etc. Although I can generally calm him down and reassure him or redirect him while he is still in a low state of agitation, if this does not work he will not let me go and continues to nip, scratch or intensely squeeze my arms and by not removing myself from his grasp and this behaviour I am allowing it to continue, however, if I try to remove myself it completely escalates the situation and I can end up getting really hurt as he gets completely distressed. My son is 13, severely autistic, moderate/severe learning difficulties (some speech - usually single words relating to food). He has no health or mobility issues but is very anxious (transition, people) and is only really motivated by food. Many of the minor but potentially aggressive incidents are around food. I feel he is dominating me by his behaviour which extends to dragging me into the kitchen a lot and pushing and shoving me towards what he wants food wise, to possessiveness if I am on the phone or computer for example, or talking to another person (including his dad). If I try to run he would run after me and the scenario would have the same outcome. I think this is learned behaviour (attention for negative behaviour i.e nipping me when younger and he would get a response). I really feel like he has no boundaries with me. We at home by ourselves most of the time so there is really just me. He has no hobbies, interests or play skills unfortunately so its impossible to negotiate with him, or impose consequences to his behaviour (at least I don't think so). Any ideas appreciated


  • Alex
    Alex Posts: 1,305 Pioneering
    Hi @mandy_r,

    Welcome to the community. That sounds really tough. We used to have a behaviour advisor on the community and you might find some useful advice there.

    You could also try the Challenging Behaviour Foundation. They have some great resources on their site, and phone/email support.

    Hopefully other members with have ideas too.

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    [Deleted User] Posts: 740 Listener
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  • mandy_r
    mandy_r Community member Posts: 4 Listener
    Danny thank you so much for that insight, yes definitely black and white which I know but I didn't think to try to explain to him that there is a continuum and there is in between the two things, I know he doesnt know this so I will work on that, Thank you
  • mandy_r
    mandy_r Community member Posts: 4 Listener
    yes thanks Alex, I rang the Challenging behaviour foundation, and she said some things I hadnt thought of, but feel a bit better talking about it and starting to hopefully untangle the behaviour and responses. So nice to talk about things as I dont share this kind of information normally, it does help
  • brett75
    brett75 Community member Posts: 8 Listener
    I did all these as a child an my parents locked me in my room an I would kick hole's into the door I would run all the way around there house an friends and families house's an they just stopped taking me out.
    But I feel, if you take them out do thing's with them take them swimming take them to the park put thing's for them to be doing not just you enjoy but watch what they like to do an influence them in self confidence an look at what they do at school an see if they feel that they are lacking at the teacher or just reading or writing it could even as simply as just talking having a conversation might just be the part that they want so they can understand how we connect with each other.
  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,671 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @VioletFenn do you have any thoughts?

    There is some information on the NAS website here.

    Behaviour has a function, and there could be a number of reasons for it. These may include difficulty in processing information, unstructured time, over-sensitivity or under-sensitivity to sensory stimuli, a change in routine, transition between activities, or physical reasons like feeling unwell, tired or hungry. Not being able to communicate these difficulties can lead to anxiety, anger and frustration, and then to an outburst of challenging behaviour.

    Completing a behaviour diary, which records what is occurring before, during and after the behaviour, could help you to understand its purpose. It is important to make notes on the environment, including who was there, any change in the environment and how the person was feeling. A diary may be completed over a couple of weeks or longer if needed.

    Be consistent in your approach to the behaviour, and ask others around the person to use the same consistent approach. 

    Speak clearly and precisely using short sentences. By limiting your communication, the person is less likely to feel overloaded by information and more likely to be able to process what you say. Support the person to communicate their wants, needs and physical pain or discomfort, eg by using visual supports.

    Using rewards and motivators can help to encourage a particular behaviour. Even if the behaviour or task is very short, if it is followed by lots of praise and a reward, the person can learn that the behaviour is acceptable. 

    Look at anger/emotions management and create opportunities for relaxation. You can do this by, for example, looking at bubble lamps, smelling essential oils, listening to music, massages, or swinging on a swing. Challenging behaviour can often be diffused by an activity that releases energy or pent-up anger or anxiety. This might be punching a punch bag, bouncing on a trampoline or running around the garden.
    Senior online community officer
  • VioletFenn
    VioletFenn Community member Posts: 124 Pioneering
    Hi @mandy_r

    Do you see CAMHS or similar for your son? It definitely sounds like you could do with some professional help and support. I would suggest talking to a friendly GP to start with, as they can refer you. Although it can be difficult to access, behavioural therapies are available and might at least help you work out some strategies for dealing with this behaviour. 

    Have a google for your nearest 'ASD support group' as well - they are often a mine of knowledge, especially when it comes to local social events that you might be able to get your son interested in. However difficult his behaviour, there are almost always others in the same boat. 

    Violet, ASD advisor, Scope
  • mandy_r
    mandy_r Community member Posts: 4 Listener
    Yes thank you Violet think a review is overdue though I have been trying to deal with myself as medication is often mentioned as a solution, and I will try to catch up with local ASD group. Its all help thats out there I am just trying to deal with it myself which isnt working! Thanks again for everyones input really appreciate all the responses


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