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Asd child attacking me in meltdowns(13 Posts)
I'd really welcome any advice one this please. Ds is 6 and had autism, learning difficulties and epilepsy and quite probably adhd he is quite complex.
His behaviour generally had improved over the last couple of years with more structure, understanding and learning from me and him.
When he has a meltdown though he attacks me or smashes up things. He will follow me throwing things at me or hitting, scratching, pushing and grabbing me.
I still cannot figure out what to do with him when get does this!? Obviously can't leave him to it, also he won't let me intervene, he won't take deep pressure or any input of course at that stage.
What do I do when he's attacking me? Any advice would really be appreciated
This is a hard one as I'm in the same situation. I tend to say no firmly and hold his arms at length. I then say "mummy sad" and that works 80% of the time but the other 20% it makes things worse to the point of screaming hitting self. I try distraction (outside) and use one words in meltdown mode if possible like "outside?/iPad?
We too go through periods of this then it stops. Because Ds is non verbal it could be literally anything like wobbly tooth/pain/change ofroutine and it usually requires "Columbo-esqu" skills to work out which one. Lately for us it's been much harder to pinpoint the cause. Which leads me down the road of "hormones" but my ds is 7.5.
Thanks for your reply Lesley25. I know exactly what you mean about columboesque skills! It's so hard isn't it. I've come to the conclusion that ds is currently probably just not feeling well. He also has an immune system deficiency for which he is on anti bio tics and I thought that was getting better but I think he still has something going on. As well as new seizures starting so he's about to start another epilepsy med as that may be affecting his sleep. He's been lovely for about 6 weeks and now I can't do right for wrong!
The trouble is ds has such attention and hyperactivity problems he will not stop no matter how he feels! He doesn't watch films and if he's not feeling up to running around he thrashes around on the floor or again sits on top of me pinching me it is so hard to know what to do with him.
I think short outings in his pushchair might work well in times like these. I also do like you and take his arms and use single words but nothing seems to work when he gets to that point until something cracks in him and then he stops attacking and cries like a baby, it's heartbreaking
He's so big as well and I have joint problems even holding his arms at length hurts my wrists.
My DS is same age and I try to touch him with my hands as little as possible during a meltdown. I find that the more restraint and physical contact I use during a meltdown, the more it escalates.
So, I try to manoeuvre him into a space away from other people and objects which he could throw/hurt himself with by walking very close to him and guiding him in. You'll think I'm bonkers but I kind of use a sheep dog/sheep approach and move around him but keeping as much distance as possible.
I tell him I know he's angry/scared/worried and tell him he's safe and can stay where he is until he feels a bit better.
Then I give him a bit of peace and quiet.
What I can't stop is the unannounced, sudden punches to my stomach or when he pushes his younger brother (most horrifyingly down the stairs recently) as he gives no warning. The meltdowns are at least obvious in their arrival as it's usually in response to a situation or a request I am unable to fulfill.
The NAS and Autism West Midlands hold courses that are well worth attending on this issue.
The NAS course focuses mainly on prevention and descalation.
Autism West Midlands holds one that as well as techniques to prevent and descalate also teaches you methods to deal with the physicality of the meltdown e.g. how to deal with pulling of hair, biting etc without harming you or your child.
I recommend both.
My ds has ADHD also and I've found that the meltdowns are much fewer and less traumatic when he is medicated. I used to have a break during term times but I've put ds back on medikinet this week and the effect on his mood is unbelievable. I used to think it was just necessary to help ds concentrate at school but the anxiety is reduced and ds is calmer- not zoned out as I naively assumed. Whilst it makes ds "time to sleep" longer I've realised ds and I need him on this some times during the holidays.
If you suspect ADHD (my big clue was that my ds constantly moves and never watched anything for longer then 2 minutes) ask for a referral to Camhs. The process is long and it took me 6 months for a diagnosis -it involved visits to school and home, but it's changed ds at school to the point now that he can learn. At home I was of the opinion that we didn't do structured learning so it wasn't necessary- this Easter proved me completely wrong!
There is so little support out there that we have to use our gut instinct and take what's offered to us to see if it makes a difference to life being
bearable at home. It could be the change you need.
Thanks everyone for your replies sorry for the delays in coming back it's been a busy week. Ds turned a corner and became much less awkward and aggressive on the last day of his antibiotics this week, so I think on this occasion it was definitely to do with not feeling good but not knowing what to do with himself.
Thanks for all the advice i will definitely take all your tips on board. I have done a challenging behaviour course with camhs and one with autism Hampshire which have both really helped in the main but nothing was working last week!
Lesley25 we are on a waiting list for adhd assessment but they said won't assess until he is 7 here. I kind of hope he isn't as I've been told adhd meds can reduce the seizure threshold and he's already on two epilepsy meds.
The first 10 days of the holidays have been horrendous for us. DS 5 (AS) has been hitting us a lot and not listening. I don't know if it is because of the lack of structure. Anyway, we have started retained reflex therapy (I learnt about it on here) last Saturday. I went away by myself on Sunday and reurned yesterday. DS seems so much calmer, has been really cooperative and has been playing for a few hours with his construction set. I don't know if it is because of the exercises, me being back, or just a temporary blip but he's different to a week ago.
If he's being aggressive, I sit him on the ironing board until he's calmed down. If I walk away, he will come after me if in meltdown mode.
I'm no expert, so courses above sound good. But why can't you give him as much space as possible? Preferably his or a room? Unless you are strong and expert enough to restrain him safely you are putting yourself at risk.
I can't just give him space because as the poster above said he comes after me in meltdown mode he follows me throwing things at me! I've tried putting him in his bedroom in the past but it means trapping him with the door shut and he becomes self injurious then or breaks everything. I simply don't have the space to create him an empty room, even then he'd still hurt himself on the wall or door etc.
I've been known to go and stand in the back garden sometimes as that can diffuse it sometimes he comes after me then throws stuff around the garden that I can dodge more easily out there.
That's interesting about the retained reflex therapy, I'd be really interested to hear how you are getting on after a few more sessions sh77 if you'd come back and let me know? it was something I considered doing with ds at one time.
He's been like two entirely different children at times, this last few days I can say no to him with only a grumble from him, he will do as he's asked, he will cuddle me with out pinching me...the few days before a no would have meant throwing things at me, he'd do the opposite of everything I asked and he couldn't sit near me without pinching me!
Fair enough, I'm sure it is incredibly difficult. Sympathies! I guess it's alsi thinking about the future too - when he's bigger.
I'm really kicking myself now that I didn't realise sooner he wasn't feeling well last week...Im still not sure what I could have done differently though. I'm trying to think of things I can have in place if I see that again to encourage him and help him to slow down.
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