Autism and coping with emotions

Hi All, I'm a sister to a wonderful brother ,18 years, who is Autistic. He can communicate however expressing himself through jumping and clapping his hands when he gets angry. He usually does this when she hears loud noises for example my son crying or nursery rythems being played or someone being told off. 

My concerns are that the anger is becoming worse as he has started to throw objects, and boarded on hitting family members. He means well and when calm apoloises for his actions but there are also times where he makes remarks such as ' I hate ...' or 'I could hurt you'. I can see he is having difficultly controlling or expressing his emotions and wondered how others have dealt with this behaviour and is there a need for therapeutic intervention. 

Our mother died when my brother was 16 years she was his sole career and support network. We have tried to do the best we can to support him as he now has a carer, travel trained and able to do most things himself. If we are able to assist or channel his emotions in a different way it may help him cope better in the future. 

Many thanks for any advice, experiences and support 

Sai 

Parents
  • Hello Sai,

    As well as being autistic myself, I also work with highly-challenging autistic people.  Even some of the higher-functioning people can express this kind of behaviour.  We have dedicated behaviour therapists who work with the individuals, and it's often a very slow and gradual process: tracing and understanding antecedents to behaviour, triggers, etc - then putting in place strategies that can help the individuals to manage their emotions more effectively.  I've seen some wonderful results.  We have one young lad who came to us just a year ago.  He lives at home with his mum, and can read, write and communicate quite well.  But his anxiety can be triggered by the least thing, such as a favourite item being moved, or someone else becoming distressed.  When he's triggered, he'll begin shouting and swearing - sometimes throwing things and hitting out at people.  Afterwards, he's always apologetic - even though he doesn't need to be.  In the space of a year, though, he's come on leaps and bounds.  At first, he was hugely disruptive and destructive a lot.  Now, the incidents are much more isolated.  A lot of it has been about his developing trust with his carers, and the non-aversive approach that's taken with all of our people.

    I'm not sure what's available in your area for behaviour therapy, but it can be very helpful if you can get it.  Have a look at the resources here, too...

    http://www.autism.org.uk/about/behaviour/guidelines.aspx

    Good luck.

    Tom

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