My reception son getting hit by autistic child

Hi all,

Looking for some advice really.

my son started school three days ago and has been hit by the same child every day. I'm told the other child is autistic or is on the scale. The teacher has told my son to raise his arms to protect his face while they (as in my son and teacher) teach the child not to do it.

the bit that concerns me, is the other boy is only hitting my son. He is bright and socially confident, but as far as the teacher is concerned my son has done nothing to provoke the hit. I only know second hand from a friend who has an autistic child, that close proximity and noisy environments can cause the hitting, I just don't understand why it is only my son. Is it normal for an autistit child to pick one person to lash out at?

I'm trying to process and think of how to deal with this. My son is popular and confident and has been at nursery part time for years. He has never dealt with this before.

My thought are ranging from hit him back then he'll hit some one else (nursery trained him well so he wouldn't do that, and hey, I know its not the best thing, but joking aside, if he does stand up for himself and shout, push etc, would that stop it?) to speaking to the other boys parents, to writing to the head.

dont want to create a storm Or upset the other child or his parents, but I can't accept my son getting walloped for months on end. Can young autistic children be taught early not to hit? Is there anything i can teach my son that will help? Should the school not have extra resources to deal with children with difficulties?

any thoughts would be appreciated.


  • I would imagine what's going on here is that your son is somehow provoking this other child, but doesn't realise he is. It's probably not the least bit intentional. Some autistics just are very easily provoked, often by highly peculiar stimuli. Maybe your son and this child have engaged in interactions which the autistic child finds highly frustrating, and lashing out is the only thing he can think to do.

    I'm only one autistic and so what I'm about to say may not apply here at all, but when I was very little I used to attack my sister out of extreme frustration, but I really didn't want to. I remember being in tears trying to explain how badly I wanted to stop, but I didn't know what else to do, and I didn't think I could stop. It felt like I was being possessed by a demon that was making me attack her.

    I can't remember what my mum actually did about this. Perhaps nothing, maybe it was purely my will to be a good girl that helped me to stop. But these days I couldn't be much less aggressive; the way I choose to live my life is to expel anger and embrace love. And I couldn't ask for a better relationship with my sister.

  • As Azale says, it isn't too hard to think of explanations for this behaviour. I'm not sure that it's fair to use the word provoking but its likely that the child is reacting to your child somehow. An explanation isn't an excuse though and if the child isn't able to attend school without violently attacking class mates then that isn't acceptable. It is the school's responsibility to either prevent this by educating the autistic child or by excluding him from class. 

  • Thx for the replies.

    We spoke to the head of year who said the child in question was beyond their ability to deal with and apparently it is not just my son he is hitting. She suggested we wrote to the head, which we did, and the head is trying to get one to one support for him and taking advice on how best to go forward. Hopefully this will solve the problem. I hope they get a grip on the situation and can help this boy settle in. 

    Funnily enough I was speaking to someone at work whose grandson is the same age and just started at a school specialised in helping kids with needs (he is autistic). He is in a class of eight which is far more manageable than one of 29. 

  • Hi drflips,

    I've temporarily unpublished your post as I want it to be checked by senior moderators.

  • I see your concern & am curious what the verdict will be.

    Kind regards,


  • Drflips comment above is a personal one and does not break our community rules. It is controversial however. Advocating any physical violence no matter the provocation is probably illegal if it leads to an assault. The NAS does not condone such a course of action. Discussion with the school is appropriate.

  • This is where people who have or work with autistic children need to nail their colours to the mast once and for all.

    Option one is to say that there are no circumstances where smacking children, or any violence against children, is acceptable.  The upshot of this is that you do not under any circumstances allow a child whose autism manifests itself in violence to go anywhere near other children until that violence has ended.  No ifs.  No buts.

    Option two is to allow the violent child to continue to have contact with other children while you work the problem out.  In this case, you are automatically saying that violence against a child is not such a bad thing as to be intolerable.  The upshot of this is that you simply cannot tell other children never to hit back or that violence is never acceptable.

    There are other people in the world besides autistic children.

  • My son use to lash out a lot at play group and was seen as the troublesome child, it was always one certain boy he would hit and I felt embarrassed about it until I realised that this little boy had worked out that if he kept humming at my lad who has sensitivity issues to noise it would annoy him, my son wasn’t able to tell me this at the time as he had a speech delay but it was very easy for people to assume that he was just aggressive when in fact the other boy was intentionally annoying him week after week, I’m not saying your boy is doing that but I am saying usually there’s a trigger intentionally or unintentionally