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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  • Hello, where to start?

    My little girl is 8 and I finally received her confirmed diagnosis of ASD on 31.08.16.  It took me two years to get it.  I knew I fighting an upward battle because of her gender, making it much harder, school didn't believe me.  I researched as much as I could and provided the forum with as much information as possible about her behaviours both present and past, in the end it was enough.

    You mention he was 1/2 point away, so did that make him Aspergic?  if not, think about all the little things when he was a baby and growing up.  My daughter (lets call her Jane), wouldn't get in a car seat, wouldn't hold my hand, would run off all the time.  I would pick her up from nursery and she wouldn't come home, she wouldn't stay in a car longer than half an hour. lined toys up, grouped everything in colours and shapes, like Easter eggs.  She was addicted to jigsaws and now does 500 pieces on her own in 1 - 2 days.

    I would firstly keep notes on his behaviour, have a think about whether anything was missed before.  Maybe in a year, go back for another diagnosis.  4 is I think still early to diagnose.  In Norfolk they often start the process around 6, becuase the behaviour has had more time to develop.

    In regards to the challenging behaviour, i am sorry to say that I can completly relate.  Only tonight was I kicked about 10 times.  This is called a 'meltdown'  If you research on this and some other sites they give you the differentiation between a meltdown and a tantrum.  In a meltdown, they have no control, it has to play itself out.  I have been finding different things to help us out.  Do you have a good neighbour, who understands?  In my case, I run or call a neighbour who pops round.  it almost distracts her from what was going on, and allows her to regain control.

    I have been pinned in my bedroom, the stairs and the kitchen because of the number of things being thrown across the room (heavy things like books, full juice bottles etc.)

    Another thing I try is to hold her tightly, it is supposed to help - but generally doesn't for us.  I try changing the subject onto anything and everything, It takes about 10 mins sometimes, but it eventually wears her down enough to break through.

    In regards to being active.  My daughter runs and runs miles probably round in a track like motion.  She has to use the trampolene for hours at a time and she loves to dance, often putting spins in.  I found out only yesterday that this is probably becuase she has a disorder called Sensory Vestibular.  It sounds as though your grandson has the same.  They need the activity and motion of circles and running to reset their system every 2 hours or so.  We are now on the Occupational Theropists waiting list of 18+ weeks to find out more.  But basically, 'Jane' needs as much exercise as possible.

    School told me I was 'making' her run to much, and should stop her, so I tried to keep her in for a few days.  That was one of the worst meltdowns ever, and resulted in calling for help.  the meltdown was about an hour of pure violence, no thought for our or her own saftey, and once I had managed to get out of the house to ask my neighbour for help, it took about another 3 hours to calm her down sufficently.

    The reason he is hurting you guys, is because believe it or not, you are his 'safe' people.  

    'Jane comes out of school at 5 on a Weds and Thurs, so I tried letting my daughter run to and from the car today, then drove to another school to pick up my boy, let her run as much as possible there and back, knowing it was too dark when we got home.  It was not too bad, but by 9.00 we were in full meltdown, I had managed to stop several.  So when she throws something, she raises her other arm to aim it.  I now go up to her, and put her arm down.  She doesn't like it, but i have less things thrown at me.

    Another thing, Has he had some type of change (new baby, moved, bereavement, school), these all impact and as I am finding out take a long time to process.  So my 'Jane' has only just started to process the funeral of her dad from May this year.  This is the main reason for her stress, along with many other factors I shall not bore you with.

    Any way, I hope I have managed to provide you with something useful.  Please rememebr these are my own experiences, and what works one child, wont the next.

    Anyway, waffling as normal.wishing you good luck, take care,


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