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Aspergers and violence??

(18 Posts)
Punnet Fri 15-Apr-05 11:20:52

Aspergers and violence? Is it something else now?

Got to school with Sam today, and found a huddle of parents turning their back on me- bit disturbed as one is supposedly my best mate. When I dropped him off and everyone dispersed, BF (???) came up an said Sam had hit one of the kids yesterday, just turned around after lunch and thumped him in the stomacj, and that the parenst were making a formal complaint.

Sam does just hit out, I put that down to frustration at not understanding body language / being able to express himself as wella she would like.

Is it something else? Am I barking up the wrong tree with Aspergers? Psychotic little git was the opinion of one parent.

Lying is the other problem: teachers will watch him hit someone, and he will swear blind it was the other way round. Always. Whn we asked school about the bullying they think HE is bullying other kids, he swears it's him being bullied???? How on earth can we know??

Very confused.

Paeds appt 7 days away- not long.

Also a query: School showed me a book theya re keeping on his behaviour. At first i thought, great, action at last. But now he says he and the other kids see them writing in it, and when I discussed with ex-nursery teacher, she is disgusted at what it might do to his self esteem.

What with DH being on sick leave again, it's just getting too much. Keep bursting into tears in inappropriate places. College mates have been great, but that finishes in six weeks so I have to sort it out now. tutor suggested some free counselling at the college? Tempted, but there's no-one to help me cope if it upsets me.

debs26 Fri 15-Apr-05 11:31:57

they should not be writing in the book in view of other kids, but it is a good idea to keep track. have they tried positive ways of managing his behaviour? ds1 hits out at children which i think is due to frustration but although school knows it is a problam he has not been classed as psychotic! ask him how he is being bullied and who is bullying him. you need details. my ds was bullied in his old school (was mainly name calling). after several complaints to teacher, nothing was done so one day he punched the boy in the face and then it stopped. if teachers wont help him i cant see what else he could have done, it had gone on for months. he is not being bullied now but is very sensitive to being teased and will often hit someone if they upset him. a few weeks ago he was sent home from school. a child had stabbed him in the leg with a pencil (tho didnt leave a mark) so ds had stabbed him in the back of the head 4 times! he swore he only did it once but there was more than one mark there. he admitted he did it so dont think he was lying, i think he saw red and honestly didnt know what he did. might sound too simple but he has been practising counting instead of hitting. i have told him getting mad is normal, hitting is not. sorry thats a bit of a ramble but you are not alone and hopefully it will help a bit

KarenThirl Fri 15-Apr-05 11:38:59

I'm in the same boat, Punnet, although fortunately J's class teachers are well aware that J's the one getting caught, not the one starting the incidents, so they know he's not a bully. How clued-up is your school generally with AS/ASD? Mine have admitted to having little knowledge lower in the school (because most AS children aren't diagnosed till later, I believe, certainly in their experience), but are willing to learn.

I had a similar incident towards the end of last year, when one of J's long-term friends and a regular visitor to our home decided he'd had enough of tolerating J's loud and agressive behaviour and said he didn't want to be his friend any more. His mum sent me a long email explaining all this, which I was grateful for because it helped to show how serious things had become for his current assessment. Perhaps if you made some notes on what parents have been saying to you (question them further, if you have to) and use it as evidence for your paed appointment. Do the parents know about Sam's situation, and that he's being assessed? It might help to explain to them so that they can have a better understanding of why he behaves the way he does. I appreciate how difficult that is, especially without a full diagnosis, because there's no concrete explanation for your 'psychotic little git'.

The behaviour book sounds like a good idea but they're going about it the wrong way IMO. It should be kept confidential and none of the other kids should know when it's being used, so maybe you should raise that with the teachers.

Take the counselling, it sounds as though you need it and it will probably help, and best of all it's free. It might well upset you but you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs, and I'm sure there'll be plenty people around here who will be willing to lend a shoulder if you need it. If you don't get any benefit from it you can always back out.

binkie Fri 15-Apr-05 11:48:30

Oh hon, I've been there too - I've been told that my ds (just 6) isn't AS (though definitely odd little bird) but I'm still keeping my own open anxious mind exactly because of incidents like the punching one. We have had: the inexplicable punch in stomach (yes, exactly); the spit at someone; the struggle which he claims was an attempt at a hug. When we ask him why, he says "because X isn't my friend" - which is truthful in a way, because it is true that he wouldn't dream of doing these things to a child he feels he has a connection with - so it sort of feels worse, as if he's picking random targets.

The common feature is that these incidents always happen in fast-paced group situations, where I think he can no longer keep tabs on what he's doing. I'm trying very hard to get him to manage his own sense of himself - to tell when a situation is getting past his own sense of control - so that he can step back before it goes too far. His teacher, though, thinks I'm asking too much of him at this age with that. But I can't think of any other approach - what do you do?

It's so frustrating, because like yours he's super-bright - so I feel how can he be so clever intellectually and such a blithering idiot (sometimes) socially (at other times he's a darling - it seems to be these group situations that he can't handle).

KarenThirl Fri 15-Apr-05 13:40:16

Binkie, I understand what you're saying about trying to develop your son's 'sense of self' and stepping back from situations before they explode. I've been trying to explain to J about emotion and thought, how when the brain is engaged on emotional activity it can't think clearly, so that if he feels a situation is getting out of control he has to try to reduce the emotion so that he can think of a solution. He understands the theory in principle but, ironically, can't make it work at the time because he's too emotional. Ho-hum... I'd say plug at it, yes your ds is very young but if you continue to explain this to him he should get it eventually.

Interesting about what you said about rough hugs. J's got himself into lots of trouble in the past with over-exuberant hugging, but it's always been with people he knows well and cares for a lot which is the opposite to your son. J always overdoes affection - it's not so bad at home because we expect it and know how to deal with it, but it's not so easy when he's dragging another six year old around by the neck.

Just a thought - does your son know the difference between play fights and real ones? J has difficulty drawing the line, perhaps yours is the same?

Punnet Fri 15-Apr-05 14:25:06

sam definitely doesn't know the difference between play fights and real ones- as his poor brother will tell you.

It seems to be that Sam IS starting the incidents. I don't think he does it as a fight though; I just don't think he can get that it's going too far, if that makes sense? he can tell me that, but it doesn't seem to get htrough.
But it surely can't be all him, when he is too scared to go to school? That says to me that something is happenning on top.

These situations up to now have always happened in a group- usually play time. It's the first non group incident. They also say there are sharing concerns, but I've never seen that and neither did Nursery. He went to a Montessori.

Be interesting to find out what happens at 3pm, when I collect him. Surprised I haven't had a call yet.

binkie Fri 15-Apr-05 14:56:33

Re play vs. real fights: interesting question. He hasn't any problem telling the difference between (i) a pretend fight while acting pirates and (ii) getting cross in real life - but definitely has a problem noticing that what he thinks is a game might not be (or patently is not) fun for the other person. Think it's more a problem of not noticing than not understanding though. Definitely one we're working on.

Punnet, those phone calls. I know them. I'd rather get them than it be under the carpet, though.

Punnet Fri 15-Apr-05 15:47:08

Went to the school, zilch. No complaint, no major incidents yesterday (the usual pushing etc of course). It looks like what is happenning is that Sam has been identified as different so we are being excluded by the parents. Which I think is pathetic!!! having worked for Home Start, I can honestly say I would do the opposite.

I did get a chance to talk to one lady though, an ex-neighbour whose child was born a few months after mine when we lived next door. he hadn't heard anything which is a good thing. She doesn't seem to have issues with Sam at all.
Bless her.

Play fighting- Sam really does not appear to understand the difference. I really believe he doesn't realise why other people mind being pushed / punched etc., he knows they don't like it but he has a superiority complex, or something like it, and doesnt appear to give other poeples emotions very much validity. Hard to explain. he's not a spoilt kid or anything, and I take a lot of comfort and reassurance about my parenting when I mention that his brothers seem to have none of the issues Sam does.

KarenThirl Fri 15-Apr-05 17:23:44

Not knowing when to stop seems to be an autism thing, connected to not being able to read other people's expressions and understand their wishes. As long as an AS child is on the fun end then the game continues to be fun, regardless of what the other kid is feeling. NT kids can (usually) tell when the game is getting out of hand and change to something else. Again, it's often something that they understand from outside the situation, but are unable to act on at the time.

J's had a few incidents when other boys (and occasionally girls) have lost patience with his aggressiveness and have lashed out at him, and he's lashed back, then he's been hit again but harder. One one occasion he was kicked in the head. It results in all sorts of outcomes of 'who's bullying who?' which, to be honest, I think is taken out of context a lot of the time. Parents these days don't seem to be able to look at incidents in isolation and leap too quickly onto the bullying bandwagon, when it's most often not the case. J and his peers are only six and even the NT ones have a lot to learn about patience and understanding at that age, so it's not just an AS problem. The difference is that the NT children will learn as they get older and ours will take a little longer to understand the boundaries.

binkie Fri 15-Apr-05 18:32:20

Do any of your boys have certain people whose feelings they do "get" and respect? - or is the lack of appreciating others' feelings something that applies across the board?

I ask because ds seems to have a certain category of people that he treats as, for sake of a better word, "real" - his sister for instance, and me, most of the time, and his particular friends. It's people who are known but not familiar - children in another class at the same school, for instance - who get the brunt of this odd behaviour.

Punnet Fri 15-Apr-05 19:54:17

I don't think so with Sam, he knows that if he hurts his baby brother he could get badly hurt but I dont think he stops because he feels it, more because he had it explained from the start that hit baby= dead baby. He does like babies though

Certainly, on the few occasions he has reduced me to tears, he doesn't seem moved at all, yet I think I am closest to him. i remember seeing another mother cry in front of her child who was 3 days younger than Sam, I think they were three, he went straight over said sorry and stopped what he was doing. Sam wouldn't register if it were me. He does noticew crying, cant seem to realise his actions might cause it.


He will look if someone cries, might even say 'poor girl', but it could never be linked to his actions.

Chocol8 Fri 15-Apr-05 20:06:54

Hi Punnet - this sounds familiar. My ds who is 7 has just had to start a new school as the old one wouldn't have known Aspergers if it had bitten them on the bum (which sadly it didn't!).

My ds can be violent however he never initiates the fight, but tries to stop them, getting himself into trouble along the way. He was being bullied quite regularly at his old school, but they take it very seriously at his new one.

I was told on Wed by another child in his new class (2 days in) that ds is going up to Year 6 kids and asking if they want to fight....! Er, hello? His peers all now think he is a real hero cos they are scared of these particular children. When I asked him about this, he said "oh, I was only playing Mummy!". He just doesn't seem to have a sense of danger sometimes.

Regarding the behaviour book - I have had a book like this since he was 2 and at nursery. Along the way, we have had various staff say things like it is a "book of negativity" and shouldn't be kept. The home/school book in his old school was invaluable to me, as I could explain things to ds when he was off to bed and more relaxed and able to take it in (?). The teacher usually just shouted at him and didn't explain, leaving him very confused sometimes.

About a month before he left he did start keeping a diary (one sentence) the date and a smiley, sad or serious face. Obviously this wouldn't help with your situation, but agree with those who've said that the book should not be seen being filled in!

binkie Fri 15-Apr-05 20:12:18

Punnet, does Sam notice others' happiness? My ds is not good at empathy with sadness, but the thing I notice with his "special" people is that he enjoys them being happy almost more than they seem to themselves.

Punnet Fri 15-Apr-05 20:24:02

I would have said yes, Sam did notice other poeples happiness then I though Oh God no, he never has. ever. never commented on another childs mood.

Heknows happy and sad coz he brought me a happy face / sad face thing he made, but I think a lot of his problems are covered up by his brightness- he seems to learn what is expectd of him with thjings like that, even if he doesnt really understand it.

School didnt know what aspergers was until they lloked it up on Net a few days ago. They are getting him into social ed sessions (2 half hour sessions a week) but we are moving soon, to Newport area.

binkie Sat 16-Apr-05 00:05:57

I really hope you get a better clued up school when you move. I am sure that someone here will be able to tell you how to identify one ...

Good luck with the move!

KarenThirl Sat 16-Apr-05 08:10:56

Other people's feelings - J can't seem to apply empathy to people, but can to soft toys. He hugs me till my neck's about to break but if he brings me a soft toy to hug he stresses that it doesn't like rough hugs, just gentle ones, and keeps a close eye on me to make sure I do it properly.

He does seem to understand other people's emotions generally, but in the heat of the moment when he can't think straight, it's gone.

Punnet Sat 16-Apr-05 11:56:54

Sam doesnt do soft toys, never has. they just lie in a pile. only likes books and lego really.
did cars for a while, then got sick of lining them up and went to lego.

Peachyclair Sun 17-Apr-05 13:36:07

Just to let you know I have changed my 'name' from Punnet to Peachyclair. Was starting to annoy me a bit. Thank you!!

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