The things they don’t tell you in the parenting books….

18 Apr

… “Blue Eleanor” by Old Canes

Today, I have bruises all over the insides of my arms and all down my sides. Why? Because yesterday was one of those “mommy days” that made me wish I hadn’t become a mommy.

Does that sound harsh? I really don’t mean it to be. I’m just being honest. And if you’re a mom who has never had one of those days that leaves you laying on the floor of your bedroom saying over and over to yourself “What the fuck was I thinking??!!” and having fantasies of running away from home- then you’re either the luckiest woman on the planet, or someone gave you a lobotomy while you weren’t looking.

My son can be the sweetest, funniest, most polite, and most considerate child I have ever been around. But part of his Aspergers Syndrome is that he has a really hard time controlling his temper… and since he’s my son- he’s got a really bad one. The gluten free/casen free diet that he’s on is REALLY helping with his overall attitude and concentration, and the blow ups aren’t as frequent and don’t last as long- but when they do happen now… holy fucking shit. It’s unreal. It’s like a volcanic eruption of rage and spite and hate that could level buildings (not to mention completely disassemble the coping mechanisms of any adult around). No amount of reasoning, calming tactics, or text book parenting techniques help with these. They are nothing short of brutal, and our only options are trying to stop them before they start or just waiting them out and try not to get hurt in the process…. neither of which are easy.

Yesterday was one of those days. Sully woke up angry and filled with venom, that apparently held strong throughout the whole day. His rage grew when his teachers tried to fill me in on his day, and escalated to the point where him and I just had to leave because he was starting to get destructive in order to keep them from ratting him out to me.

Then we got home. This is where my bruises come in. I told him to sit at the kitchen table and do his homework, and then we would talk about the day after he calmed down. And he exploded. Grabbing things off the kitchen table and breaking them, kicking over kitchen chairs- a full blown violent episode. I tried to sit him on the kitchen chair, get him to look me right in the eye to “talk him down” a little (because I was afraid he was going to hurt himself)- and he tried to kick me in the chest. So I got on my knees, put one of his legs under each of my arms, and in my calmest but sternest voice started telling him over and over that I was not going to let go of his legs until he stopped kicking. And each time I said it, he growled back at me “NO… you let go first”… and the battle of the wills begun. Consistency and following through with what you say you’re going to do (NO MATTER WHAT) is extremely crucial with him…. so there we sat. For over a half an hour. With him kicking his legs as hard as he could, and me holding them just enough so that he couldn’t break free telling him that he had to stop kicking FIRST, then I would let go. Brad takes parenting cues from me, and he told me later that it was the hardest thing in the world to sit and watch Sully not only so out of control, but physically hurting me. But Brad and I play “good cop/bad cop”- and since he’s the step-dad, he has to be the good cop. So he couldn’t step in on this because I was already using the “calm and soothing” good-cop tones.

After over 30 minutes of having Sully beat his legs into my ribs, I was in tears and couldn’t take the pain anymore. Brad put a lock on the outside of Sully’s door, and we put him in there. I hate living in a “locked doors” kindof house, but yesterday we had no other option. He eventually calmed down, and was fed dinner and sent to bed early because we were both too exhausted for him to be awake any longer.

Here’s what terrifies me. Even though he’s only 9, he’s almost as tall as me (I’m little). And he may be slim, but he is STRONG. By next year, he’ll be my size. So what am I supposed to do when I can’t protect myself anymore during these freak outs? What if we don’t get a thumb on his anger before he towers over me and can just knock me out? Where is the section in “Dr.Spock’s Guide to Parenting” that tells you what to do when you’re afraid of getting the shit kicked out of you by your pre-teen child? Because after the nightmare of yesterday, I am covered in bruises, my back is thrown out again, and my ribs feel like they’ve all been cracked. It’s heartbreaking, because once he calms down he is overwhelmed with guilt. He is in tears and freaking out because he’s so ashamed of how he acted- but during the anger he’s out for blood, and can’t stop himself.

Suggestions?….. anyone? Please???? I don’t want to have to take self-defense courses just to survive his teen-years, and Brad is already in his mid-forties and didn’t want to spend his 40’s and early 50’s defending himself from an out of control child.

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24 Responses to “The things they don’t tell you in the parenting books….”

  1. beartwinsmom April 18, 2008 at 5:17 pm #

    I have no advice, just hugs for you. I know how you feel because I’m a mom of twins, one of the twins has autism (possibly AS). Those meltdowns from hell are scary for everyone.

    And for your comment on “those mommy days when I wish I wasn’t a mommy”… I’ve had those, too. I think it comes with the territory of having a child with autism.

    Hoping for a better day for you!

    Warm regards,
    Michelle aka The Beartwinsmom

  2. Kristen Ferrell April 18, 2008 at 5:39 pm #

    Thank you! Hugs make it better (except right now they hurt really bad considering I’m a battered mess). It’s really difficult because he’s extremely high functioning, so it’s easy to forget that he’s a walking time bomb… and he usually catches me off guard when he blows up. If we can just find ways that he’ll actually USE when he’s having a melt down, then I think he’ll feel better being able to have more control over himself. But when he’s in a “rage moment”, it’s like he just wants to take down the planet. Sigh….

    Your kind words are much appreciated!!! πŸ™‚
    xoxoxo

  3. joeyyy April 18, 2008 at 8:30 pm #

    Sorry you guys had a bad day. I don’t have any advice, but I do have that vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe I was meaning to look up for you!

    http://www.cok.net/lit/recipes/desserts.php#chewychip

    They are good as is, but really good if you add a little cinnamin.

    Hope things get better! xoxo

  4. Kristen Ferrell April 18, 2008 at 8:45 pm #

    ooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!! Cookies make everything better. One of my best friends from Kansas is coming to visit me this weekend, and she’s a pastry chef at this Vegan/Vegetarian/Organic “Whole Foods”-like grocery store. Maybe I can talk her into helping me make them (because I kindof burn everything I try to make).
    Thank you!!!!!!
    πŸ™‚
    xoxoxo

  5. Taylor April 18, 2008 at 11:04 pm #

    First time reader, long time fan. πŸ™‚

    I used to babysit for a child with AS. I was young, probably only 14 at the time, and he only had one episode with me which involved a giant stick to the side of my head. I was absolutly horrified. The parents told me if he ever had outbursts, that I was to walk away and ignore him at all costs until he settled down no matter what he broke or what he said. And wow. I don’t remember how long it took before he stopped throwing things.

    But still, to this day, it’s not the worst experience I’ve had babysitting. I was a nanny for an 11 year old who cursed, threw things, called his self concious 10 year old sister fat, etc etc etc. And the only reason I could think is that the parents just spoiled him and gave into him because they couldn’t/didn’t feel like putting up with his behavior. There was no AS in this childs medical history, no behavioral or mental disorder. Nothing. He was just a spoiled brat.

    There’s a saying that we are never given burdens we aren’t strong enough to bear. And obviously, you have a gift for parenting that far exceeds many’s abilities. Take refuge in knowing that you are doing a great job raising a child under special circumstances in ways that many parents under normal conditions still can’t or refuse to handle.

    I admire your strength, even though I’m sure there are many times you feel weak.

  6. Aine April 18, 2008 at 11:15 pm #

    So I’m not a parent but this is a random suggestion and probably uninformed regarding everything. But I was thinking, maybe when he’s in a calm mood and explain to him how much he physically hurt you and obvisouly (you probably already have though) explain how physical violence is the hardest to deal with on both sides of situation and that its okay that he feel frustrated time and again but its not okay to take it out on other people or objects around him. Then my suggestion was maybe think if you could make a safety word? It’s totally taken from that whole S & M thing, but I dunno! It might help, so that the safety word is there when you can voice to him that your really terriffed or something, but I feel like that could also have a potential to blow up, just cause kids tend to jump on whatever thing they can. But I wish you the best of luck and you should check out the book “The Volumptus Vegan”I spelt it wrong but its a great book!

  7. Brandi April 19, 2008 at 6:28 am #

    maybe you could have a designated things to break. get to a flea market and buy little ceramic things that represent whatever he’s pissed about and next time he has to rage send him outside on some concrete with his box of breakables. You should throw a couple of them in there for yourself, too. Just don’t have him aiming at you.
    Or maybe that’s a bad idea because he should learn to find ways to control his own temper without breaking things before he gets to be an adult.
    Parenting is so hard!

  8. whitney April 19, 2008 at 8:46 am #

    wow, kristen. 😦 i’m sorry that yesterday was so rough. i’d like to give you some suggestions to help you out…. although, i do work with students with special needs, i don’t think some of our “tactics” we use would be too helpful. but i’ll tell you anyway cause i love you πŸ˜‰
    sully’s a smart guy. its seems that reasoning during a fit of rage is just impossible. but, i know there are holds that you can use (i’ve gone to classes where they train you and teach you legal holds that are safe and non-threatening) when a person is throwing a fit and you can hold them there safely and securely until they calm down and are ready to cooperate. but like i said, i don’t know how well he’d respond to that and i couldnt imagine a parent wanting to do that to their child (then again, it might be A LOT easier on yr back and ribs and arms). but the holds are really helpful, even when we have to use them on the real “difficult” students who can slip out of anything.
    i mean, even if you wanted to use these, i’m not necessarily sure how i could model them via text. but there are 2 man holds where brad could jump in if you REALLLYY needed him to….. :\

    maybe if i can find the books, i could send them to you.

    i dunno. hopefully any of that helps.
    aaaagckkkkk.

    goodluck!!!
    <33.

  9. awalkabout April 19, 2008 at 8:50 am #

    I fully understand that wishing you didn’t have your kids sometimes. *nod* And it doesn’t mean you don’t love them.

    My Aspie son is now nearly as tall as I am, and he’s never gotten physical with me, though he has at school and with his siblings. I think often of what’s going to happen when we get to those points in future. Right now (at 12) he’s still believing the parents are in charge. Let’s pray that continues.

    Best wishes always–

  10. Kristen Ferrell April 19, 2008 at 9:38 am #

    thank you all so much for all your kind and encouraging words!!!

    Taylor… times like the other day I feel weak and totally helpless to make the situation better. Usually I’m pretty hopeful and have the general attitude of “fuck you, life… I can take whatever you throw at me!”- and then it throws me a 300mph curveball, and I’m left standing there saying to myself “what the fuck just happened?”. But hard times build callouses in me instead of sores- so it all just makes me more ready to take on the next trauma…I hope.

    Aine… I think we’ve talked with him about healthy behavior so much that he’s become immune to it’s effects. Whenever he has a good day or makes good choices in a stressful situation, he gets tons of praise and rewards and we always go over why that choice was the right one. And a “safety world” would work if I could talk him down at the right time- because once he’s actually mad, he WANTS to make us hurt (usually just verbal insults- the physical violence is a new thing). But I’ll work harder at getting him to a mentally “safe place” before he gets there.

    Brandi… we just got a big punching bag, and i could use your suggestion with that!! we originally got it for me so that i could relieve some stress- but i think it could work well for all of us! yay!!

    whitney… YES!!! i would love to get together and have you show me some holds- just to be on the safe side! that would make me feel a little safer for when he gets bigger. plus, i’d love to hang out with you anyways! i’m in your area now… why haven’t we gotten together yet? (probably because i’m always hiding in the house.. haha!)

    Awalkabout… Sully was really violent as a toddler and in preschool- but with ALOT of work, he seemed to get past it. but he’s so smart and so manipulative, that he now knows that I’m afraid of him when he lashes out- which gives him more control over the situation. And that’s his big thing… being able to control his surroundings. That’s why we need to stop this NOW before it gets any worse. It’s a scary thing to be afraid of your child- the person you love the most. Let’s keep each posted, ok? πŸ™‚

    you all are fantastic!!
    xoxoxoxo

  11. melancholymonday April 19, 2008 at 10:18 am #

    “Consistency and following through with what you say you’re going to do (NO MATTER WHAT) is extremely crucial…” – That’s SO true. With any child.

    Also, I second the suggestion to become trained in “holds” that work for both you and your son. I think you’re probably handling this way better than I would.

  12. germinfested April 19, 2008 at 11:42 am #

    My mother used to have a foster child that had violent issues. At the time she weighed under 100 lbs and he was also 9 or 10.

    Anyways, I asked her about how she dealt with him after reading this. Although it might sound odd, she always found it effective to “put the fire out”. She filled a pot with cold water, put ice in it, let it sit a while to get it cold, took the ice out so she wouldn’t hurt him, and tossed it on him. Not his face, like his chest. It’s basically shock factor and apparently, it worked for her.

    Also, for something less extreme, she said to approach him from behind instead of face to face, it’s a psychological thing.

    I hope things get better and let me leave you with this piece of wisdom.

    “The things that frustrate us the most in our children as kids, are the things that we admire the most as adults.”

  13. butcherbaby April 19, 2008 at 9:01 pm #

    i know you don’t want to put him on medication, but if he’s physically violent to the point where he could seriously hurt you, you may need to consider it as an option- even if it is totally your last resort.
    my niece threw horrible tantrums like that when she was a toddler- screaming, throwing herself on the ground, biting, hitting, kicking, etc. the violence in a child that age was both maddening and frightening- she even stabbed her grandmother in the leg with a fork once, and tried to do it to her great grandfather as well. and her bites would draw blood or tear clothing. i was subsitute daddy at that point and nothing we tried worked- NOTHING. physical restraint was useless because as soon as we let go (even if she *seemed* calm) she’d run right back to whatever she had been destroying or start up her fit again. if you spanked her it was the same- it had no effect (when i was a kid even the THREAT of a spanking was enough to keep me in line.)
    she was also not potty trained at the age of four and couldn’t speak in coherent sentances. i convinced her mom to have her tested and she was diagnosed mildly autistic and ADHD. her mom did not want to put her on meds, but finally did. the difference was unreal. she started speaking normally right away and in a month or so was finally out of her diaper. and the horrible fits ended. soon after that her mom got a boyfriend who also was a teacher for special needs children. they worked together for years on venice’s behavior until she was able to control herself without her meds (they also took her off them in the summers, when she was out of school, to reduce her dependance on them). she is 12 now and has been med free for over two years and is a happy, beautiful young girl. not that she doesn’t have her moments but it is nothing like when she was young.
    i know you had horrible experiences with being medicated young and don’t want to push that on your boy (which is actually a good thing- i’m not knocking it, too many parents take the easy way out) but if you end up hospitalized because your son beat the crap out of you in a fit of rage it’s not a going to help either one of you.

  14. butcherbaby April 19, 2008 at 9:03 pm #

    PS- i was hesitant to even voice that suggestion….but i’d rather risk offending you than not speak up

  15. Kristen Ferrell April 19, 2008 at 9:28 pm #

    you could NEVER offend me with your suggestions!!! and even though i don’t like meds- i’m always in favor of them if they are a last resort, it keeps the person taking them from hurting others or themselves, and they’re used in conjunction with therapy in the hopes to someday be off them. i know there is a place for them in our society… and when sully is freaking out, they are definitely on my mind. i even tried to look up homeopathic aids for aggressive behavior in children, but the information on line is so confusing that i couldn’t really make heads or tails of it.
    and you’re right… it’s not going to help anyone if sully beats me up, and then social services steps in to try to protect me… state agencies do their best- but the system is very flawed and sometimes downright terrifying. it’s such a hard decision… but totally one that i’ve been bouncing around lately (because after the other day, it’s opened my eyes to how scary it could eventually get).
    but thank you so much for speaking up!! please don’t ever feel like you can’t say what’s on your mind on here! it really does take quite a bit to offend me!! πŸ™‚
    xoxo

  16. HarleeQ April 20, 2008 at 8:45 am #

    Hey Kristen, long time no talk. So as usual when you have an issue i turned to the interwebs of the world. I found that there really isn’t very much help for you hahaha. except for this:

    “Prepare them to be provoked

    * It’s O.K. that they get angry.
    * Remind them that they know how to deal with being mad; they can manage their anger

    Confronting the provocation

    * Emphasize their temper is in their control. Let them know that managing their feelings is good and that they can do it.
    * Help them accept that negative action is outside of their control. Bad things happen to everybody.

    Coping with the anger and agitation

    * Help them recognize feelings of anger or frustration and their causes.
    * Help them help themselves calm down.

    Reflecting on the provocation . . .

    . . . for unresolved conflicts

    * Point out that some things are outside of our control.
    * Also, that some situations can take time to resolve.

    . . . for resolved conflicts

    * Point out what they did right and how it helped them with their anger.
    * Let them know that similar work can be done anytime, anywhere”

    Sully is a good kid, over time he will be able to deal with his issues, hopefully by puberty. You defantly should look into proper effective ways to restrain him without hurting him. I have a friend who works at a school for troubled youth. She works in the dorms and unfortunately she has had to restrain kids that vary form 4-17 years old. For this she had to take a class on how to properly restrain someone so they do not hurt you or themselves. Also call a counselor or psychologist to see if they have any information about dealing specifically with someone how has these outbursts AND Aspergers Syndrome.

    Thats really my only advice. You are a wonderful mother, I’m sure everything will work out. Bruises and cuts heal, but a mothers love is everlasting…

  17. Tawni April 20, 2008 at 10:57 am #

    I’m too new and inexperienced at the mommy game to offer any suggestions, I think, but I heard this:

    “And if you’re a mom who has never had one of those days that leaves you laying on the floor of your bedroom saying over and over to yourself β€œWhat the fuck was I thinking??!!” and having fantasies of running away from home- then you’re either the luckiest woman on the planet, or someone gave you a lobotomy while you weren’t looking.”

    Good gravy, ain’t THAT the truth! πŸ™‚

    You sound like you are doing a great job with a lousy situation and I’m impressed that you manage to do this and still juggle everything else you have going on in your life. Hats off to you, amazing lady, and a million hugs, too. xoxoxoxoxoxoxooooo.

  18. Lex April 20, 2008 at 2:42 pm #

    Hey Tawni!

    Kristen–Any Mom who doesn’t admit to those feelings you describe is just lying or, like you said, labotomized. This is why I don’t hang out with “the other Moms”, since talking about every aspect of child raising and new granite colors for the kitchen just doesn’t do it for me and I end up yelling, “DON’T YOU PEOPLE READ?!?!?”. OK, so I’m not the person to look for here for advice.

    Actually, I am sitting here with the exact same problem. My daughter is now 8 and, well I bred with Gavin. So yeah, she’s up to my chin already. And I’m small. You say you’re small, I’m the real deal. I’m STUMPED!! The verdict is still out on how much of the Damianakes-Emmanuel Asperger’s is going on here as well, though she’d only be a candidate for Borderline Asperger’s like me.

    Does Sully have a song that he likes to listen to just over and over, what would seem absurd to a non-Aspie? A few of these songs perhaps, and one of them gets him going and one calms him down? This might be really, really helpful if there is a song or something that changes mood. I still have to use this on myself. Is his anger centered also on one thing that he seems to fixate on? I still don’t know what to do about that one, but these Aspie books seem to have advice…I don’t know how to break the fixating at all except with music. That may not be his thing. Breaking the cycle is imperative to get any Aspie to do anything if their mind is set against it. Getting over-stimulated is just such a huge problem though. If Sully is getting over-stimulated at school then he is just too worked up when he gets home and I don’t know what is done these days about that.

    Write me if you get a chance though, I’m soooo escapist into my musical world at this point (I think that’s on my MySpace blog but not my Blogger one) and just cannot deal with having Trigeminal Neuralgia as well as freaking out kids that I’m ALWAYS on the floor crying for help. I do have a dear friend who has Asperger’s in the Netherlands (East) and he gives the most amazing insights into “Aspie moments”. He’s practically my therapist…LOL. Also, there is a lot of extra attention given for kids with Asperger’s there, so maybe getting away from it all and moving to The NL would be a nice break…HAHA…I’ll probably follow, election here pending.

    But DO NOT think you are they only Mom dealing with this. The other Moms are either “living entirely for their kids” (WTF is that anyway?) or they’re lying. I just have trouble with “over-stimming” and attaching as well like the rest of my fucked up Aspie freak family, so dealing with my kids is like double the Aspie double the inappropriate comments. Actually, maybe you should talk to Gavin instead…he probably is really the one who needs someone to talk to at this point. Ack…I just wish I could help in some way other than introducing you to more Aspies or other relatives with Aspie kids (we trick them into marrying into the family with our cuteness and apparent ‘eccentricity’…HAHAHA!) or to just letting you ask me why things freak me out. But asking other Aspies why they find somethings terrifying or so frustrating can be very helpful. I already have several parents who call me regularly to ask me things I otherwise wouldn’t think about. It’s kind of weird, but it seems to work for some people.

  19. Lemissa April 20, 2008 at 10:07 pm #

    ohhhhh momma…this is rough…I have two suggestions, when he is in the remorseful stage let him know that outbursts like that can land him in an institution which is school all the time with no one who loves him, because you having bruises is not o.k. and if stuff like that keeps haooening you could easily end up in a child welfare situation. Explain to him, that even though you both know that there is all kinds of bullshit around to deal with, and yes much of it is unimportant in the long run, but if he really wants to control a situation, he must first learn to control himself. Ask any Dominant…
    Also, I think you might wanna look into hypnotism…some sort of safe word that will help bring him back from the rage when it has taken over.
    Maybe even research anger management ideas with Sully, surely he know that behaving like that does no good in the end, he just loses sight of that fact when in the moment. Appeal to his intellect…ask him to help you solve this problem.
    I am having Chrystal write you…she worked at CLO and as a para and had to restrain clients (adults and children) You should definitely look into a class on that as much as it sucks and if he is still too strong Brad will have to be bad cop.

    I love you lady.

    Melisss

  20. Michelle April 21, 2008 at 7:57 am #

    No good advice ’cause it looks like you’ve already got a TON! Just a hug that won’t hurt and a “hells yeah” to the somedays wanting to run away. I don’t think we’d be very good moms if we couldn’t recognize our limits. Sending good thoughts your way. πŸ™‚

  21. Lemissa April 21, 2008 at 4:05 pm #

    here is Chrystal’s two cents…she worked with all kinds of folks when she was at CLO and as a para…”WOW!!! What is going on with our little Sully? The system of restraint that I learned in CLO is called the MANDT method. But first, I’d try and figure out the circumstances surrounding the rages. Some may be occuring just because he is nearing the teenage years…a naturally joyous time for all parents and children. Testoserone increase is linked with “rage” type behavior for many of the kids I worked with….go figure! However, in my experience there are usually “triggers” that set people off. Triggers are different for everyone and they are often times fluid….meaning just when you figure out that the sound of fire engines cause the person to huddle in a corner, a few weeks later the same no longer applies to fire trucks but to the school bell. This is especially true for growing and developing children. Other triggers however, will persist throughout the person’s lifetime very predictably and no matter what…which believe me can be a good and very BAD depending on the response.
    May be Kristen should take special note of the environment during the occurance of rages and see if a pattern develops. What music is playing? What smells are present? What happened before the incident and after? Was something at school a factor…bad test grades or other kids? What response is she having before, during and after? Gabriel is like a big reflector dish of my emotional tone. When we’ve had a particularly rough day I can sometimes trace it back to how I’ve responded to things and initially I’m not even aware of it. But Kristen is an excellent mom with exceptional skills so she may all ready know this stuff.
    What does Sully say about what is going on? How is he feeling and is he aware of when he is about to rage? Sully may be able to find a pattern with some self analysis and help reduce behaviors by minimizing his own triggers. He also, with Kristen’s help, be able to make an action plan to avoid rages…for example, “when I feel like smacking someone I will instead immediately leave the room and take a lap around the block”. Anything that relaxes Sully should be increased until they are able to understand what is going on together.
    Please tell Kristen that I am sending them both a big hug. I am sorry that things are so frusterating for both of them. I’ll do more checking around with some of my moms that I know have delt with similar issues. –Chrystal”

    love,
    Melissa

  22. Abra April 22, 2008 at 11:47 am #

    Wow! I really admire your patience and strength. As I said before, I have a 2 year old and there are many days when I wonder what the fuck I was thinking! Plus, I’m pregnant again (have we no self control?! ;-)). What the hell?!

    For yourself, I would recommend taking your friend up on learning to defend yourself. If you are interested in learning safe ways to both protect yourself (and stop your son with the least amount of physical damage) look into taking some Kenpo Karate classes. (http://www.kenpokarate.com/) They teach primarily defense moves. I plan on enrolling my kids just because we live in a metropolitan area.

    I think it’s great that you are saving medication for a last resort. It shocks me how many parents think a pill is the answer. I’ll be the first to admit (I was diagnosed with manic depression in college), that sometimes it is, but for many they just need someone to love them and teach them (which is how my husband is dealing with my bi-polar symptoms)…and you seem to be doing that amazingly.

  23. Kristen Ferrell April 22, 2008 at 10:46 pm #

    Thank you so much, everyone, for all the encouragement and suggestions!!! It’s so frustrating for me and Brad (and even more so for Sully) that we can’t seem to get a thumb on this. We’re trying all the tactics, and everything every possible teacher/doctor/website/ book/magazine/etc says we should… and it’s heartbreaking to watch Sully continue to spiral out of control- and then spiral into shame over the things he did while he was out of control. He’s just as desperate to make things better as we are- but at age 9, he can’t comprehend why he’s got all his anger… let alone how to tame it. But all your suggestions are fantastic, and we’ll keep at it. What else can we do, right? And something has to work eventually, right? Trial and error… trial and error… trial and error…
    You all are fantastic.
    xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

  24. Jay April 23, 2008 at 11:18 am #

    I had to respond after seeing the hilarious cat video (we do that at home with our Boston Terrorists also). I work with kids with Aspergers/autsim/TBI and my daughter also has Asperger’s-we deal more with self-injury than aggression with her–but I have plenty of kids on my caseload who are go through the same types of behaviors(though I don’t call them that as I feel it is something they cannot control). Is there anything that he does to calm himself down when he becomes agitated? My daughter will do things like pull on her eye lids,twirl her hair, etc…we now have her listen to music as that seems to help. I have been working with one family where these types of behaviors were going on at school. I suggested that a ‘calming bag’ be used which contained items that would soothe the child (walkman/puzzles/comic books/etc) and we placed in his IEP that at any point those behaviors were starting to show he would be allowed to remove himself from whatever the class was doing and take a ‘time out’ as long as he needed. This doesn’t work for anyone and not knowing the whole situation it’s hard to make suggestions especially if you have tried them–I have been kicked, hit, spit on,bitten, poo’d on, etc (just like a good ol’ punk show!) and it is hard to control yourself in those situations -much less calm the child. Sometimes there is something that is triggering the behavior that no one notices,but sometimes there is no rhyme or reason to it. We discovered with one child that the excessive stimulation during recess triggered behaviors-another that kid that sat next to him ended up pissing him off—-

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