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How to stop DS hitting other children

(9 Posts)
chuckeyegg Tue 26-Jul-11 16:11:43

I'm at my wits end and the thought of a long summer holiday ahead of us is filling me with dread. I have tried reading him books about things you should do with your hands not hitting, visual cards, taking him straight home from places he wants to be as soon as it happens but nothing works. Our friends have given up on us, we don't get any invites anywhere now and I just feel so sad for DS and lonely and depressed myself. Taking him out is so stressful I hover near watching him the whole time trying to fend off any hits. He is 4 and has ASD.

Please any advise would be great.

5inthebed Tue 26-Jul-11 16:14:20

Can you see when he is going to do this? Does he get quite irate before or does he just do it for no reason?

DS2 has never hit, but he has done things with his hands and we have used a few things. Hopefully something might help, sorry if not.

Give him something in his hands to play with, maybe playdough or something like a squeezy ball.
Get him to put his hands on his legs, safe hands.
Repeat to him that he has to have happy hands not angry hands and that hands do not smack.

sickofsocalledexperts Tue 26-Jul-11 16:33:22

How much language does he have ? With my boy at this age, and even with some boys without autism apparently, you need to SHOW not TELL that they are doing wrong at this age. So something instant needs to happen that he doesn't like (take a toy off him, turn off TV, put him straight into another rrom with door shut - something that you can think of which will become associated in his mind - "oh dear, I'd better not hit as x always happens). The basic equation that worked for my boy (also autistic, also used to hit at 3) was - the downside of hitting is bigger than the upside/thrill I get from hitting.

chuckeyegg Tue 26-Jul-11 23:56:39

Thank you both very much for your replies I will try and impliment the immediate measures plan, he doesn't really seem angry when he does it and I have no warning. I think I need to get out there more with him and hopefully we can win this one.

I work with teens who have severe ASD , severe learning diffs and very challenging behaviour (also my son has ASD) so spend an awful lot of time with people who hit..

There is always always always a trigger for a behaviour. The problem is it often isn't obvious.. so you have to become a bit of a detective. I know it sounds mad, but if you can make a note each time he hits, of where you were, what he/you were doing , and what the environment is like.. you may find there IS a pattern and be able to avoid it/anticipate and redirect. Sometimes it's sheer sensory overload.. too much noise, bright lights.. etc For some of the children I work with the trigger is something in their heads, not external.

We find that minimal language is best. If a child is hitting then he is in a state of high arousal emotionally.. so 'please don't hit X he will be sad' is pointless at that moment. Short language with the key word last, as the last word is often the only word that is processed. So we don't say 'stop hitting Joe' we say ' hitting STOPS' firm and loud enough to be heard and processed. The only word processed will be 'stop'

Most of the boys in my class are non verbal , but the short clear language works equally well with verbal children.
Also physically show him that hitting stops. Obviously not brute force, but removing him from the situation, or even (as he is yourssmile) holding his hands down briefly with a 'stop' may help .

Oh and don't blame yourself.. your DS is in a scary world and his instinct is to hit out.. he can and will learn other ways as he grows..smile

chuckeyegg Wed 27-Jul-11 12:45:05

Thank you very much, that is very helpful. smile

colditz Wed 27-Jul-11 12:50:26

Ds1 has high functioning ASDbut he still does lash out. One of his triggers is over excitement, so sometimes I think he is hitting so that I will take him out of a situation.

Because it's the natural thing, isn't it? YOu lose your patience with the hitting and you say "Right, we'll go home then!" .... I used to think I had an oddly compliant child because I was so strict and yet he instantly obeyed me in that situation and would leave immediately - NOW I can see that he was using hitting in order to get me to take him home.

A 'safe space' for him is very very useful. A small pop up tent (just for him) or under your table.

AlysWho Wed 27-Jul-11 17:04:24

Just wanted to say Medusa excellent advice! I've cut and pasted it to save ! My DD is 14 now and mostly over the 'random' hitting (eg she only hits now if she's in a foul mood or cross/ upset/ anxious). When she was younger I felt a lot of the time that it was like she was in a 'habit' of hitting, so my strategies were to try to stop it, but give it as little as possible attention (minimal language, show no emotions, no eye contact, as Medusa says), reinforce other good behaviour with LOads of Praise; and also to try and replace hitting with something else to do- getting her to carry a fave item around helped a lot, her hands were too full to hit!

I also think, in retrospect, that (at the age of your child) she was a bit envious of the interactions between other children, even tho at the time I thought this not to be true, as she doesnt seek peer friendships, or approval. I think that as Medusa says, it was(is) a very confusing world, and a guaranteed 'way in' was to hit and get the immediate gratification of highly-animated attention!

Whats helped in the long run is facilitating her play and interactions,giving her communication tools, helping her to understand her own emotions, and HEAPS and heaps of patience and years of persistance- not all from me tho I hasten to say!!

chuckeyegg Thu 28-Jul-11 16:44:13

Thank you for your replies there are some excellent ideas here. I do feel DS sometimes does it to get out of a situation.

Carrying something is a great idea.

I am going to try and print this off so I can keep it for reference.

Thanks again you're all superb on here. smile

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