Anger and violence in teen with asd

Hi, just wondering if anyone got practical advise for me. My 13 year old son has been diagnosed with ASD last week, though I'm very relieved that there is finally an explanation to his behaviour, we still have to deal with very foul langiage, screaming, throwing stuff, shoving etc. Quite disturbing for an adult, but even more so for my 9 year old son (he doesn't have ASD). I'm trying to think of a new way of dealing with his outburts (over very trivial things), but it just seems that I'm letting him get away with this outrages behaviour. He is refusing to talk about ASD, so no starting point. Any ideas,anybody? Has anybody got practical advise how to curb the outbursts without confrontations, but still imppose the boundaries? Undecided

  • You won't get anywhere without banging your fist on the table with local authorities and threatening legal action.

    While NAS bill themselves as the "exprets" the truth is they had a care home shutown near bristol as a dangerous client got out and did a particularly horrific thing.

    The NAS is also taking on residents which their facilities are not suitable for and have had staff injured due to this.

    The NAS in my opinion considering I am Diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome want low functioning chargable clients to fund their City Road Address.

    If I can give you one peice of advice you need to find the cause of the outbursts, it is quite likely something that does not bother you bothers your child.

    For instance I can hear transformers in electronics hum when others do not-it's like chinese water torture.

    Good luck

  • My daughter has had began when she started having seizures within the past year.  She is a teen.  Even though she is mostly nonverbal, as another result of the medical shift, she listens.  I talk to her and tell her about the implications of her behavior, after I learned I can set limits with her by simply stating she can't be combative.  I gave her a chance to cool down since I noticed that she would only increase combativeness if anyone tried to ask her anything or tell her reasons why not to do it, while she was in that state.  I just keep repeating the same routine.  It will become a habit for her, over time.  While focusing on happy things, while she is calm, telling her I can relate to teen issues for girls, and bring up some of her interests...I also tell her she can get into trouble for being combative.  This is helping.  She does have a seizure medication, recommended by the Epilepsy Foundation, as one of the top four medications for reducing seizures in a teen with Autism, as well.  An added benefit, is with the same medication, it has a mood enhancer included, to address aggression.  It's a little tweaking here and there, as always, sometimes behaviors happen even when you have logged every trigger you can think of.  That's life.  People can't be happy 100% of the time, but you can reduce the amount of times.  I know it's hard work.  It's easier to cope with, when the parent and the child relate to each other, as much as possible.

  • AAS said:
    I gave her a chance to cool down since I noticed that she would only increase combativeness if anyone tried to ask her anything or tell her reasons why not to do it, while she was in that state.

    This point is really important.

    Trying to talk to, or reprimend, an autistic person whilst they're in the middle of a meltdown, whatever form it takes, only make matters worse.

    Wait until they've calmed down, and they're able to think more clearly again, before approaching them.

  • Hi Stuffed,

    Thanks for contributing to this discussion and offering advice. It's always useful to read the personal experiences of people who have been affected directly. Users who do not have ASD conditions themselves may not always be aware of the different ways that individuals can feel and respond.

    It's clear, though, that you also have specific issues to raise with the NAS. This community isn't the best way to address these issues; it would be more appropriate to use the feedback form at the bottom of our contact us page, or to get in touch with the relevant department.


    Alex - Mod

  • Regarding Rusky's original posting, you are concerned about your son's "outbursts (over very trivial things)".

    It is important, if you are to find a way forward, not to simply connect the most recent event with an outburst.

    What's happening to your son continues to be a matter of debate as to the exact cause - sensory bandwidth, sensory overload, stress due to high sensitivity etc. But what he is experiencing is a build up of stresses from a number of causes. He probably cannot stop going over things in his head you would have forgotten about in minutes. This is because people on the spectrum don't get all the information they need, and have to process and reprocess to try to sort it out and find resolution. This leads to multiple spiralling anxiety.

    Hence the "very trivial things" you perceive as coinciding with an outburst may be irrelevant or "the last straw" for someone with accumulated stress. If you continue to treat the outburst as arising over a trivial matter you will still be "banging your head against a brick wall" years from now.

    You can have no possible conception of the accumulated stresses affecting your son unless you've actually "been in his shoes". So please don't trivialise this.

    However it might help if you give him some time to talk through the things concerning him over the last twenty four hours say. It may be you can re-assure him about things that will reduce the turmoil in his head. A lot can be done to reduce the level of tension.

    But as Scorpion0x17 has said, if its a meltdown give him quiet space and dignity to get it over with.

    When he is calm, give him some time to talk through the things going on in his head.

  • I also wanted to raise a concern with the moderators. While being confrontational and railing at NAS is not appropriate to a discussion forum, and I understand NAS feels it necessary to move such discussion to the "contact us" option, or the relevant department, could NAS look into more constructive ways of addressing this.

    Despite the Autism Act, Leading Rewarding & Fulfilling Lives and the new guidelines for health workers, the circumstances for adults on the spectrum aren't improving much.

    There are a lot of people out there genuinely finding the system isn't working to help them. A lot of provision for autism is still parent group led (about children only). No wonder many health professionals still seem to think it is "something you grow out of".

    Even if it is not all down to NAS, could NAS possibly show some understanding of the difficulties. It may not help pointing someone in frustrated distress in the direction of the contact pages, and may be making things worse.

  • Hi Rusky

    I agree with Scorpion and longman's points.  I would also add age 13 must be such a challenging time for anyone with ASD.  My son is 10 with Aspergers and we have been lucky enough to be aware of his diagnosis for a few years now.  I cannot imagine how stressful it would be getting diagnosis at 13 with all the puberty, girls/boys social things heating up, high school along with all the aspects of getting to know who he is and accepting a diagnosis. I can only imagine things must have been tough for him coping with ASD at school until now and probably feeling he has got things wrong socially and possibly told off. THis usually affects self-esteem which I wonder if he may have buried and it is all coming out now. 

    It is the case for a lot of kids, but not all with ASD that the school environment has tremendous stress on them and then everything else adds on.  Is it a bit easier in the holidays?  When my son is calm and has just 1 parent with him, we giving very genuine, but explicit reassurance of what he is good at, that he is a great person and then that we are there for him to help them through this tough time and that we will get through it.  Lots of listening, very small steps at a time and grabbing your opportunities when we can.  I think of it as coaching.  It has/is very time consuming for me with my son but does have amazing results making him feel happier about who he is and reduces frustration massively, particularly in school holidays.

    Has he any special interests that can be developed?  A friendship?  NAS may have ideas on befriending or NAS social groups he could get involved with.  The NAS courses for after diagnosis are also very helpful to meet others and get lots of lightbulb moments.  There are some fabulous books.  Perhaps that would be a less pressured way in for your son, where he can pick it up when he is ready and put it down.  NAS will be able to recommend some suitable ones, also reviews on Amazon give a good clue or they may have in the NAS library.

    You may be doing all this already, but I find it helpful to hear what other people do in their situation.  They are all individuals though needing an individual approach.

    It is a difficult time after diagnosis for everyone, no matter how much you know it is coming plus you are in the early teens.  Hang in there and keep talking there is a lot of others out there in similar situation.

    Best wishes


  • Just had another quick thought....does your son like drawing?  Cartoons, Comic strips?  Sometimes they will express themselves through a journal or comic strip more comfortably than talking, especially when very anxious, stressed and frustrated.  Match stick men is fine and sometimes is good therapy to draw out what is upsetting them.  THere is a decent book on this called "Comic Strip Conversations" but you can adapt it to suit what works for you.

    Another thought to measure how your son is feeling is finding a way to "label" his emotions.  So for some kids, possibly younger you may have Anger on a scale of 1 - 5 and you can judge/support when they need quiet and calm.  Book on that is "THe Incredible 5 point scale".  I have heard of older kids using a sort of thermometer gadget to show the adults around them discreetly how they are feeling, avoiding melt downs and the humiliation that some kids feel infront of their peers.

    Just some ideas, but you will know what will work for your individual situation.

    Best wishes

  • Hi Rusky, I can not offer any advice as I am new to this too, I just wanted to say you are not on your own, I to have a 13 yr old boy who has just been diagnosed with autism and he also has very angry and violent outbursts. I agree it is scary both for as us his parents and his 3 younger brothers. Hope you get the answers you seek soon and if any advice comes my way I will surely pass these on. xx