aggressive behaviour in 4 year old


I am new to this, and any other forums and not sure how it all works. So hello and here goes.

I am a granny and part time carer to my 4 year old grandson who has not actually been diagnosed with autism but is only half a point off being so.

Recently his behaviour has become more and more violent to other close family and we are at a loss as to the best way to deal with it. At present he has only targeted his immediate family, mum,dad, little brother and me. Anything can set it off, usually small things such as his tea not being ready at exactly the time he thinks it should be. He punches, kicks, scratches, pulls hair and bites. It is a controlled action, not done in a frenzy and he almost seems to enjoy hurting us. At present we are just trying to talk to him once he has stopped to try to understand his feelings and to explain that it is unacceptable. He does not want to apologise and doesn't seem to understand that he upsets us by this behaviour. His brother now cringes every time he comes near him.

I would be grateful for any advice anyone may have.


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  • In my experience you are 99% of the time on your own dealing with autistic spectrum disorders.  Occasionally and at the desperate last minute you get a bit of help.  I wish I had taken these things more seriously, not allowed anyone to trivialise and be more demanding and assertive.  Your grandson probably has amazing abilities, many of them physical and in a big outdoor space without a lot of people around he could be calm and happy.  Cooped indoors he is probably upset by small noises and the proximity of people in his personal space.  Does he enjoy being taken to the local swimming pool and using their flumes and water slides?  Soft play room or gym?  Climbing frames.

    Does he hear sounds that are so quiet you can't believe he can hear them?  The sound of rustling paper through a closed door or from inside another room?  He my find these disturbing and desperately need to get away from these sounds.

    I remember this child being exhilerated by outdoors places.  Another strange characteristic was how much he liked eating fish, and seemed to know that he needed the nutrients in it, fish oils not in tablet form but would eat oily fish straight out of the tin.  That might have just been a personal trait.

    From my experience, don't be cowed into trivialising his condition or doubting the diagnosis of ASD, you will likely later on realise how incredibly accurate it was, and he can't help it he isn't doing these things out of spite.  Do notice how sharp his senses are, how upset he gets by tiny sounds that you can't hear, how he spots tiny visual things - such as noticing that the shoes the assistant brought to him in the shoe shop don't actually match and have a slightly different pattern, that you had not noticed.  And there are so many positive aspects to this, things he can do really well which will also make him feel calmer, which would be sad if they were always overlooked in the name of just barely coping - which is inevitable to an extent, don't beat yourself up.

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