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How can I stop him hitting me?

(15 Posts)
Merlot Wed 20-Jul-05 09:20:42

Ds2, as most of you know, has developmental delay (no dx) and is 22 months old.

He is a lovely happy little chap most of the time. He is very quiet and has no real expressive language (apart from a few little grunts and squeals). His understanding is better than his expressive language, but still not good. He does however appear to understand the word `no'.

My problem is that every now and then he seems to have this little `turn' - his face suddenly becomes completely devoid of emotion and then he whacks me in the face. He also does this to dh and ds1, but it is me that gets the brunt of it.

There doesnt seem to be any particular catalyst that prompts this behaviour. Its not when he is tired or out of sorts. Its a passing mood which just sort of descends, followed by a swift `whack' (hard and usually in the face )

I leave him in no uncertain terms that this is unacceptable. He gets a loud `No' accompanied by Makaton and then `naughty' accompanied by Makaton. I also put him down on the floor if I am carrying him or cuddling him. His little face then completely crumples in despair (its absolutely heartbreaking as he really doesnt seem to understand why he shouldnt be hitting me)...he looks at his offending hand (as if to say why did it do that?) and then howls. I normally then pick him up to comfort him....and guess what? He smacks me again. The look on his face is really quite chilling when he does this smacking and unfortunately it is becoming quite regular. Any hints or tips?

Merlot Wed 20-Jul-05 20:22:16

anyone, please?

JakB Wed 20-Jul-05 20:29:06

Sorry, didn't see this when I was on earlier. Funnily enough, my DS (no problems so far but touch wood and all that) is going through a similar phase. Is he doing it to get attention? I'd be tempted to try extinction (ie: ignore it) and put him somewhere safe with no eye-contact or language. But it's often hard to find out why a child with SN hits out, I think, particularly, if like you say, he has no particular facial language to give away a certain mood. I'd take 'data' on it- the antecedent (what preceded the it), the behaviour (what happened) and the consequence (what you did/ what he did afterwards) and see if it sheds any light? Have you got a good specialist nurse who could help? Ours if fab for stuff like this.

matnanplus Wed 20-Jul-05 20:31:02

Has he been checked for petit mal / absence epilepsy?

Other than what your doing, maybe when you comfort him hold his hand/s tho beware of his head!!

Bethron Wed 20-Jul-05 20:32:12

Message withdrawn

Merlot Wed 20-Jul-05 21:32:39

Thanks guys.
JakB - I will keep track of these `episodes' - as I think it is something I perhaps need to raise when we next see the dev paed. It occurs mainly when my face is level with his...ie.I'm kneeling and he is standing (maybe I'm too in his face/space?) I will definitely try the putting down and ignoring.

We dont have a specialist nurse (or at least not known to me we dont) - how did you find out about your nurse and what is her main role?

Matnanplus - No, he hasnt been checked out for petit mals. Interestingly when he was much younger, I did wonder whether he had these because he seemed to swoon when looking at lights, but the dev paed said it could well have been a sensory issue - particularly as he wasnt crawling then and didnt have much else to do iykwim.

Do children become violent when they have had a petit mals? As I said, his face is very interesting when he hits me..he could have been smiling seconds before...and then its like that masquerade trick where the person brings there hand down in front of there face and turns it from happy to blank. You have a seconds warning and then you know your in for a `whack`!

Bethron, Ikwym about the trying to show affection. Its a real muddle - ds2 loves hi fiving etc..and I did wonder at first whether he is just trying to engage me in play...but it is just this look on his face...and then if he misses first time, he follows it up with a very deliberate hard thwack!

He is absolutely distraught when told off though, which is what makes it so hard. OMG if he is trying to engage me and thats his only way of expressing it...and I just keep telling him off!

Bethron Wed 20-Jul-05 22:04:35

Message withdrawn

louismama Thu 21-Jul-05 01:07:54

Hi Merlot, tyoed loads about this earlier then knocked reboot button and cleares it- dope.Anyway my ds started smacking me at 17 months, I tried firm discipline NO putting him down- he kept doing it but cried the place down when I shouted at him, and even started slapping himself on one occassion which is a situation id like to avoid. He doesnt whack as your ds but repeatedly slaps he gritts his teeth whilst doing it too- looks scary. I know it sounds daft but I KNOW its not malicious but frustration as he also does it when half asleep (still ends up in my bed early morning) he just checks im there. I told the phycologist at the centre he attends and she said its because he cant express himself and I get the brunt of it too its a "you always hurt the ones you love the most" senario but very literally iykwim. DS has extended it to other family memebers now and bizarrely they appreciate it as a term of endearment but as i say this is slapping on arms not a whack less easy to tolerate i suppose. In the end after tapping him back (not child beating i promise) which he definately didnt make the connection with i started to say in a hurt dissapointed tone and face "no smack a mommom, love a momom" and making him stroke instead. Its took a while but it seems to have diminished and on occassions when it does happen i can either ignore or when i say this he will stroke OR tap gently instead. My ds is just 2 and also has very delayed language skills. Dont know if this is of any use to you but understand where youre coming from.

Notice you use Makaton and know youve just been to BIBIC we're going in September its something people keep suggesting signing I mean, Could you give me the benefit of your expetise if you wouldnt mind. How to get started etc. im trying to research a million things at the moment (suspected ASD no dx yet) thanx lm.

louismama Thu 21-Jul-05 01:10:17

sorry never check posts, new sentence after connection with.

JakB Thu 21-Jul-05 10:02:53

Merlot, our nurse is part of the SLD team but I'm sure there must be people in similar roles for children with developmental delay who do not have severe learning difficulties. She works with the clinical psychologist at our local child development centre and together they tackle behavioural issues. Do you have a CDC?

Merlot Thu 21-Jul-05 10:40:21

Hi JakB - I'm not sure if we have a Child Development Centre, but thanks for pointing me in the right direction. I will definitley ask. Lou33 do you know if the Jarvis Centre is a child development centre?? I'm sure there must be some help available. This smacking thing is fairly new, so I need to raise it (maybe with portage?)

Hi Louismama - thanks for sharing your experience. I am really new to Makaton - lots of the others on here are much more expert in it - but I got started at the suggestion of my SALT. She runs beginners courses. Have you got a SALT. She gave us a handbook when the course finished and it has been a case of practising at home. We are down to attend module 2 now

JakB Thu 21-Jul-05 18:20:38

BTW, I'm going through exactly the same thing with my NT son and have tried everything. Yesterday he slapped my arm and I just stopped and looked really shocked and he burst into tears and said sorry and kissed my arm! So that's my new technique. Will let you know if it lasts.

JakB Thu 21-Jul-05 18:23:05

Also, Merlot, didn't want to sound as if it was a really, really serious problem by suggesting a specialist nurse, it's just that they're often really good at decoding the behaviour of children with SN- which isn't always obvious, if you know what I mean! Rambling now...

Merlot Thu 21-Jul-05 21:47:22

No offence taken Jak B - it was excellent advice

I've been through the normal terrible two's with a NT son, but this is a different ball game altogether. I would be much more confident about being consistent and `going for it' if I had another point of view as to what this smaking is all about. Decoding his behaviour is an excellent way of putting it.

monica2 Fri 22-Jul-05 10:26:13

Hi Merlot I would consider the mixing up emotions theory, dd although a lot older (nearly 10) still struggles with this, she will often want to show affection to ds but seems to get overwhelmed and pinches him or squeezes him really hard.

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