6 year old hitting himself

Hi, I’m new on here and looking for a bit of advice. My son is 6 years old and we are currently going through the process of assessment and diagnosis. We and the school have filled in various questionnaires about my son and have  appointments with paediatricians and speech and language therapists. We still don’t have a diagnosis but at the last appointment with the paediatrician she said she felt it highly likely that he is on the spectrum, and pointed us to this website to seek support and advice in the meantime. He is high functioning but struggles with social skills and is highly emotional. He has always had outbursts and meltdowns over things that to some would be minor irritations or setbacks but recently he has started hitting himself whenever he is told off (no matter how gently) or whenever he is upset or frustrated about something. I just wondered if any other parent has experienced this and how they have helped their child through it. We make sure he has lots of cuddles and reassure him that it’s ok to make mistakes, and that’s how we learn. We ask him not to hit himself, encourage him to take deep breaths and talk to him about finding other ways to deal with his frustration. Sometimes, I hold his hands to physically prevent him from hitting himself. I just don’t know if we are dealing with things in the right way and want to do the best I can to help him cope. He is incredibly demanding and talks incessantly from the moment he wakes up, until he goes to bed. He is exhausting and sometimes we feel overwhelmed, but then I try to remind myself that whilst it may be tough for us, it must be much worse for him as he is the one going through it, and he is just an upset overwhelmed little boy. Any advice would be appreciated 

  • During meltdowns they might not respond to things that are being spoken. If you need say anything keep it simple, ie "Mum here"/"Dad here" try to speak in a carm way and not in a loud voice, even if they are screeming like trying to get olympic gold medal.
    When you think it over say some thing like "Hello", and if you think they might be able to explane them ask them why but dont keep on asking (naggin is not fun for anyone).

    Now there is an issue of Tantrum vs Meltdown. I rather no say to much on that, trust me Autism is a complex issue I would rather wait until able to see an expert.

    Now I don't have children but this how think things should be done as some who has Autism.
    I hope you don't have a long time until diagnosis.

  • Hi ,

    I'm sorry to hear about the situation that your family are currently going through. Individuals on the spectrum can often display behaviour that may be challenging. There will generally be a reason for this and it is important to try and understand the trigger for the behaviour when developing strategies.

    You may like to have a look at the following link for more information on behaviour and strategies:


    You may be interested in seeking some professional support regarding the behaviour. You can search for professionals in your area we are aware of on the Autism Services Directory: www.autism.org.uk/directory.aspx.

    You may also like to contact The Autism Helpline who can provide information and advice on behaviour and strategies. You can call them on 0808 800 4104 (Monday to Thursday 10am to 4pm, Friday 9am to 3pm). Please note that the Helpline is experiencing a high volume of calls and it may take a couple of attempts before you get through to speak to an advisor.

    Best wishes,