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Help - My DS1 has AS and I can't control his angry outbursts

(35 Posts)
Lorns Mon 14-Sep-09 14:18:33

Hi there

MY DS1 (although he's hardly darling), has AS. He is 11 and in year 7 at secondary without any support. Over the last 6 months he has got alot stronger and now punches and kicks me. Yesterday he banged a door so hard in his anger, that he smashed all the glass and after half an hour of sobbing dismissed all concern. He just wondered why we were still cross with him. He is also very verbally abusive towards me and tells me to "shut it" (among other things) all the time.

If I ignore him he will just start punching me and when i grab hold of him to put a stop to it, he tells me I am a child abuser as I'm touching him against his will.

Anyone got any ideas. My marriage can't survive much longer and need to protect DS2 and 3.

mumslife Mon 14-Sep-09 14:31:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

streakybacon Mon 14-Sep-09 14:39:44

You need to get to the root of the anger and learn how to pre-empt it. What is making him angry and why is he responding in this way. Learn his triggers, help him to recognise them too and find preventative strategies - it's no use trying to sort it out once he's blown his stack, he's gone too far and lost all control by that point, but as he's getting older and stronger you have to act before this becomes an even bigger problem to solve.

I have done a lot of work with my ds (10 with AS) on anger management using 5-point scales, choices, reward and consequences etc. He had no support in school either - that might be a large part of the problem with your son. I can send you some stuff if you like. Email me if you're interested.

Lorns Mon 14-Sep-09 14:42:08

It's great he will go to his room. I have had strategies in the past e.g. DS1 designed a clam down picture on teh computer which was laminated as small cards which he could carry around in his pockets, and feel when he felt angry. Also larger versions to have in his bedroom. Also "It's not worth it" laminates. He also had a chill out area that he could go to when he felt angry, with things permanently in it that helped him. Unfortunately he has got used to that, but could help you?????

Last November I moved to a different county but am finding any support hard to come by. Desperately trying to find some anger management courses for pre-teens in the area. Has your son got any support at school? Remember not all AS children are the same. I have heard that they learn to deal with their anger as they get older......... hmm!

Lorns Mon 14-Sep-09 14:57:03

Thanks streakybacon. I have done all the strategies you have suggested but my sons doesn't want to know. We sat down together and worked out his feelings for 1-5, how to recognise these and what course of action he could take.

Yes I know what his trigger points are and some of these are very hard to stop. EG Breakfast not wanting any of the food on offer (even talked about it the night before), my DS2. He is insanely jealous of him and hates him being around. Also triggers are not getting his own way e.g. computer time when HE wants it, seeing something he wants on the internet, obsessing about it and getting V. angry when he can't have it..... I could go on! How about summing it up by saying LIFE!

sickofsocalledexperts Mon 14-Sep-09 16:36:14

Have you thought of meds? I have an AS son who also has ADHD and am currently trying out a calming drug called strattera. I don't think you should have to live like this so worth a try?

JJWMummy Mon 14-Sep-09 18:05:07

I can completely empathise with this post. My DS1, who is 10 in two weeks has Frontal Lobe syndrome, this displays itself in much the same way as AS and ASD and we put up with constant violence from him, at least once a week, generally more, like you, it's biting, kicking, punching etc. We had to fight long and hard to get restraint training from SS and in the end we had to pay as well, but to be honest it's near on useless because we need to be able to anticipate we he is going to blow, and it's not always possible, that together with getting in the right position to hold him when he's bucking like an animal, well i'm sure you get it...

As for a solution, I'm afraid I have none, I wish I did. To be honest we are looking at residential ed for secondary, which I had sworn I wouldn't do until he was at least 15, but looks like it's going to be essential for the welbeing of the rest of the household (I have a 2 yr old too) and I don't know how much longer my marrige would last under these circumstances either (My husband is not DS1 father, though has been on the scene since he was 3 and treats him like his own)

Apologies for the ramble and for not being of any help whatsoever. Just wanted to say I understand.

BethNoire Mon 14-Sep-09 18:14:15


I ahve two asd boys, ds1 has a dx of AS / HFA and he has incredible angry, violent meltdowns currenlty at the rate of one a day.

He is 9 so I can well empathise with where you are coming from with relation to aging!.

The best help for us was a gluten free diet, however DS1 also has eating disorders so we have ahd to abandon that for a while, worth a go though? Another one BIBIC suggested was called the Salicylate free diet- AKA Feingold.PITA but they can make a difference.

Truth is, most of what triggers ds1 is unavoidable: leaving the house, having a wash, school (DH works from home and would struggle with HE< though it's been considered)..... with ds3 I can spot a trigger a mile away but not so with ds1 as they change so often

I've just signed up for the MA in Autism startng bext week so hoping I can gain some ideas from that, but I do sympathise with you immensely. Were ds1 not violent he'd be almost NT- as it is we get HR care, LR mobilty and have a statement. It's like living in a pressure cooker.

BethNoire Mon 14-Sep-09 18:18:01

JJWMummy your son sounds so much like mine- I have other children aged 8 (NT), 6 (ASD) and 1.5 and it'sreally hard at times. I can keep them safe but it is at my own cost, I was knocked out twice over the summer and do wonder how long we can go on, but residential is not available to us as ds1 doesn't qualify as disabled here because the opertaional definition invovles beinga ble to prove lifelong need- with a dx of AS / HFA you can't prove that. I'd return to work and fund a palce for him in private SN schooling (he's in MS) if I could but there isn't one anywhere near us(I can;'t work otherwise as cannot place him in afterschool care).

SS did offer us helpif I reported him as an abuser to his siblings but that's too horrid to bear.

wigglybeezer Mon 14-Sep-09 18:18:13

Lorns, I empathise, I have just made a CAMHS appointment for DS1 as he has got so angry and shouty these days. Jealousy of his younger brothers is the main trigger in this house. He is also 11 and restrains himself at school (although says a lot of very negastive things about it). I don't have a lot of paitence left and am ashamed to say that recently I have been doing a fair amount of shouting and door slamming too sad. Mindyou, he sometimes seems repentant when i get really upset, only an extreme reaction seems to register with him but its a good job our neighbour is deaf.

BethNoire Mon 14-Sep-09 18:25:34

AM intrigued by frontalLobe Disorder, very similar to asd in many ways from what I have briefly read. Certainly very good description of the ds1 in many aspects.

Lorns Mon 14-Sep-09 18:40:18

It's always bizzarly good to know that there are other people out there that have to live their lives like my family.
Love the name sickofsocalledexperts! Meds may be a good idea. he is on Bio-melatonin. Are there any side-effects of strattera?

JJWMummy I would love to do residential schooling for DS1 as I think it would help him to confront and control his issues with people there who "should hopefully" understand. As he doesn't have a statement he isn't entitled to be accepted into any SE school. Even those run by the NAS. This I think is an outrage as it is yet just another division between statemented and non-statemented children.! Anyone else think so to?

Bethnoire - amazing you're doing an MA. I have come to the conclusion that anyone who has a DS/D with a disability should be entitled to free training and anything else we need to make our lives easier!! I know dream on!!!!!

Wiggybeezer keep pressing on with the CAMS appointment. The county I'm in now won't even give an appointment if they are at risk of self-harming, (so my gp says).

CherryPopTart Mon 14-Sep-09 18:47:43

I have asd so maybe my insight could be useful?
straight after he breaks anything, hurts you, ect stay calm and explain why what hes done is wrong, you cant leave it as he wont understand why your still focused on that
things he says to you will be hurtful but he doesnt understand that, he does it because of your reaction, so blank bad behaviour

my best advice is to forget his age and treat him as you would a toddle having a tantrum, as hes stronger i know its harder but try your best

i can completely sympathise as looking back i can see how much crap ive put my mum through

oh and streakybacon's advice is gold, i completly agree

BethNoire Mon 14-Sep-09 18:53:08

It's wrong that the NAS utilise staementing as a basis for admittance I think, you would imagine charities are there to pick up the stragglers rather than the other waya round.

DS1 has a statement for 10 hours, partly because I informed LEA that I wuld sue their asss if some other child got hurt as a result of ds1's anger. He has it for other reasons aswell, but without it they wouldn't have provided the time out zone etc that he makes fairly good use at school of. He likes to save his best moods for home use hmm. Have you applied and been refused?

DS1 hs laminates but they have steps on- 'am I feeling angry'? 'Do I need some personal space'..... if he gets to step 5 he has to go into timeout, he theoretically has access into the school building at breaktimes but some of the diver aldies won't do that, they were asked to attend ASD training but said they 'weren't interested'. hd I ben the hed i;d have disciplined them but Head was on his way out to retirement.

I think that'saoprt what'swrong atm: Ne Head taking a new brrom attiotude; she's uber religious (Church schol but lasyt was fairly ligtweight) and things like DS being allowed late access so he can avoid crowded playground ahve vanished. For the time being I suspect- she'lllearn.

mumslife Mon 14-Sep-09 19:01:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HelensMelons Mon 14-Sep-09 19:14:06

God the strain that this puts on everyone in the household is really unbearable. My DS2 is 8 and has major meltdowns and he hits, kicks, etc and I don't really see it getting any better tbh. It really worries me.

He is also medicated for adhd, equasym but it doesn't seem to stop these outbursts.

I am looking into local support services - and am hoping to tap into having a support worker or key worker who will come and take ds2 out for something structured - if I am really, really lucky there might be something on offer for the other siblings because they have few outside activities during the school year too. I am hoping that this might provide more structure, keep the peace, allow each dc to explore something outside of the home, etc but I need to get a Social Worker and have mixed feelings about that.

streakybacon Mon 14-Sep-09 19:22:12

Sorry, Lorns, I forget who I've spoken to sometimes grin

I second the meds suggestion. Ds started taking Equasym last week and there's been a significant change - he's still hyper and has all the usual Aspie tendencies, but he's more reasonable and I can communicate with him better as his focus and attention have improved. Mind you, it can be a struggle to find someone who will prescribe without a formal ADHD dx. We've had to go private in the end but it's worth it to see ds being supported at last.

sickofsocalledexperts Mon 14-Sep-09 19:32:33

The strattera did cause a slight loss of appetite at first, and a slight change in his sleeping habits, but that is all fairly much back to normal now. The thing is though that every child reacts differently to every drug, so you often end up trying lots of differents types/doses, before getting it right. My DS does not have a separate ADHD diagnosis, just ASD, but I found that taking him to the paeds office for half an hour soon sorted that out! there is no doubt that he is hyperactive, anyone can see that within a couple of mins, so I found that I did not need the formal separate ADHD diagnosis. GPs are no good, but if you book an appointment with the paed who deals with SEN, it could work. For me, we do the behavioural approach, and none of the other things I've tried (homeopathy, naughty step, change of diet, fish oil etc) came even close to controlling what to me is a deficiency of calm in his brain make-up.That's what these drugs sort out, if they are the right ones. I am not completely happy with strattera (not enough calming) so might try ritalin next. Good luck Lorns. No 11 year old should be punching his mum and I do feel for you.

mumslife Mon 14-Sep-09 20:36:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JJWMummy Mon 14-Sep-09 20:57:05

Just to give you a bit of background, my DS1 has actual brain damage (visable on MRI scan) which is why he has the dx of Frontal Lobe Syndrome rather than ASD or AS, he does however have a dx of ADHD, managed to get that about 3 yrs ago now. We tried ritalin but it made him sooooo emotional you couldn't say boo to a goose without floods of tears. We moved on to Atamoxotine (Straterra) straight afterwards and he is on nearly the highest dose for his body mass. It does help though, it helps him concentrate better than without.
He is statemented at MS and has 30hrs a week 1-2-1 at school. Our biggest problem is his attitude and outbursts at home as when he goes he goes and it scares the living day lights out of DS2.

We have tried so many different mechanisisms of behaviour management at home I've honestly lost track, I think to be honest the most succesful one was colour cards representing his moods, ie red for angry etc etc. However.... he got fed up with them and started using them to manipulate me and any situation he didn't like (Despite everything he is actually quite bright) so they went to the wall.

Not sure whether res ed is a realistic option at the mo, just something we are exploring.

It's reassuring to know that we're not the only ones having these problems though, not that I would wish this on anyone else that is.

Lorns Mon 14-Sep-09 23:08:14

Thank you all sooooo very much for your advise and support. Special thanks to cherrypoptart and others who themselves has AS in some form. It's great to hear your point of view.

My mum has undiagnosed AS (not that she thinks so). I can so see her traits in my DS1. Here's me thinking that I had got rid of all that when I left home (well at least could view it from a distance) lol!!!!

I do wish there was more support for siblings as they are the ones who have to put up with all the **?!?!**.

I'll try your suggestions and see where I get! smile

BethNoire Tue 15-Sep-09 09:24:28

Just an extra though- It's commonly accepted in the ASD field that you can't separate home and school stress- children often save up anxiety from one environment to implode in the other, certainly ds does this. I used nas information on that as part of our statement claim, I wouldn't necessarily see school as good and home bad- rather home a safe environmnt ti relase frustrations if he is working hard all day toappear to be coping.

Lorns Tue 15-Sep-09 10:54:26

That's a very good point. I know this is the case with DS but hadn't thought about using this to his/my advantage to get the help we deserve! Thanks

BethNoire Tue 15-Sep-09 12:07:56

Start by getting paperwork to back t up- look at the NAS website for ideas. Use that fors trategies with dealing with it as well- one therapist recommended 10minutes on a trampoline each day immediately on return from school 9we couldn't fit one in the garden but I do know people it has worked for).

mumslife Tue 15-Sep-09 13:56:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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