It's All Okay

Just a mom blogging about life with an autistic child.

Location: Canada

I'm a stay at home mom with two boys. Patrick is my youngest and has ASD.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Agression and violence

Here's something I've been taken to task for lately.

I do not think accomodation and acceptance of an autistic person should include accepting violence.

Someone said she thought her family was over reacting because her son thought hitting and kicking was playing with his cousins. I tried to be understanding of how she must be feeling but I kept thinking "violence is never ok". Another person mentioned that all NT kids go through that phase too and so it was no big deal. To me it is a big deal and I would do everything I could to stop my NT son from exhibiting those behaviours too.

We have, in the past, had to sit next to Patrick every second of a visit to see family so he didn't hurt himself or someone else. I feel that is my responsibility as his parent. No child should have to accept physical violence because another child is autistic and doesn't understand what they are doing.

I feel very stongly about this. I blogged before about feeling that although my son deserved an education, if I ever thought he would hurt other children I would not send him to an integrated setting.

Is my 'no excuses for violence' way of thinking really that off base? Nobody in the conversation (all autism moms) agreed with me and all felt that the family should be more understanding.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

No it's not ok. And I'm not the only one that thinks so. So does Dr Temple Grandin.

And neither do I

She'll find her child in a behavioural class b/c the mainstream class won't keep him. They have already moved the one child in my SK's grade for next year (Gr 1) to a DC (developmental) class. Behavioural issues. Yet my non-verbal one.. and his pecs.. stay mainstreamed.


Thu May 17, 06:06:00 AM 2007  
Blogger mumkeepingsane said...

Thanks. I feel less alone now. Sometimes I wonder at the moms I meet in real life as opposed to the wonderful ones I meet online.

Fri May 18, 09:07:00 AM 2007  
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Fri May 18, 01:01:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Niksmom said...

Mum, I just found you through another blog so I missed the initial post you refer to. I agree with you, though, VIOLENCE IS NEVER OK! It is up to us to teach our children, NT or otherwise, how to manage their angry or frustrated feelings so that they can be "heard" by others and resolved when/where possible.

I get very frustrated with Niksdad sometimes when he will slap Nik's hand if he (Nik) is being naughty. I know it is how he wasraised AND I know he would never hurt Nik, but it is still not acceptable to me.

Sun May 20, 05:37:00 AM 2007  
Blogger Mom to JBG said...

I think you have to keep your expectations high, especially in the area of agression. One of my guys is non-verbal, but I think he understands when i put him right down if he bites me. And I know the other twin understands that he isn't supposed to hit or bite. They are supposedly "low-funtioning", but they can still learn how to behave (or at least I'm going to do my best!)

I totally agree with you.

Sun May 20, 03:47:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Club 166 said...

Hmmmm. I agree with both sides, to a degree.

I agree with you that violence is never acceptable, and I find myself repeating this to both my kids many times a day. :(

On the other hand, last year when Buddy Boy was in Kindergarten he was essentially well behaved everywhere (church, swimming, gymnastics, home) except school.

They didn't pick up on his cues when he was frustrated, acted inappropriately (physically restraining him), and pretty much provoked him until he did things like throw a stapler across the room or pull everything off the shelves. While I don't condone his actions, I felt that they were essentially the ones most at fault. Therefore though we indeed kept up the official message to Buddy Boy that his aggression wasn't a proper response, we also went after the school until we got a different placement for him.

Mon May 21, 08:16:00 PM 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Which is why we have a proper dx for both.

We have proper interventions and recognition of the triggers. Doesn't mean the 7yr old gets special treatment but he may be given a "time out" with a social story or a trip to the fountain to settle down when he's wound up before he gets upset. He has stickers and every 10 he gets 10min on the computer. And his classmates are helping with this. His class is always noisy and in groups. The PDD team has already informed the school that a different style teacher is necessary for my eldest for Gr 3. He has been identified through Ont's IPRC process as autistic = placement considerations.

BUT.. if he's bad...hits, shoves, spits etc to the Office with the rest. It's not OK. And with the steps in place to prevent it, it's only happened a couple of times all year.

The other boy in the little one's class has not been properly dx'd. And since the parents will not deal with this issue, the child is expected to 'toe the line'. I watched him fry on Fri at a field trip - hit, kick and spit at his EA. There was no reason for this to happen if he was allowed a 2min recess and brought back to the group. He's off to a special class in the fall.. IMO having spent some time talking to him.. it's not necessary if the boards behavioural team was involved.

But the first word my kids learnt to obey... was "NO".. the 2nd was "STOP". We live on a farm.. it's a dangerous place with all the equipment.


Tue May 22, 06:02:00 AM 2007  
Blogger mumkeepingsane said...

club 166,

Wow, what a bad situation for your son to be in. I guess we are really lucky where we are. If another child starts something that gets Patrick going the other child gets spoken to about what they've done to contribute to things.....and that's just one example of how great they are.

What they were doing to your son wasn't only setting him up for failure but could be considered abuse. I'm glad you got a better placement.


Ya know, I never would have thought Ontario would be a good place to be with an autistic child till I experienced it for myself. I've been pretty impressed with my school so far.

Tue May 22, 02:09:00 PM 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm impressed with mine too.. b/c it's not one with a really good reputation.. also lost in the rural corner of the board.

But I keep digging... and I drag my Family Support Worker from Community Living to all the appts.

Paperwork.. you have to have dx's and get them to do the paperwork. After that... it gets done.


Wed May 23, 06:00:00 AM 2007  
Blogger MileMasterSarah said...

My daughter is extremely violent. It freaks me out. It seems like there is nothing I can do sometimes to avoid her meltdowns, and they last a longgggg time. I have trouble knowing what to do or how to respond to her violence.

Sandis has had some problems with violence and aggression in school and I have been very aggressive with the school in dealing with it. Sandis has a lot of sensory issues and when those sensory needs are being met then he melts down a lot less and is rarely aggressive or violent.

I don’t think violence or aggression is acceptable and I believe it needs to be dealt with, but sometimes I feel like it is unavoidable (that is my inner voice feeling defeated). I just don’t know what triggers Gracie so I just don’t know how to stop it, and short of a weighted blanket or physically restraining her, I don’t know where to turn. Her OT and I are building a morning visual schedule with a sticker rewards system and hopefully that helps with morning meltdowns, but it doesn’t address all the other times she may melt down. If she melts down in public, the only safe way to carry her is upside down because then I can hold her legs so they can’t kick and if she claws me at least it isn’t my face or eyes. People look at me like I’m terrible but when she gets that bad I’m just trying to remove her from the situation. Actually, Gracie’s aggression and violence has worsened so it is really a sore point for me these days!

Wed May 23, 01:37:00 PM 2007  
Blogger mumkeepingsane said...


I'm so sorry things are so difficult for you right now. The hold you describe is how I used to have to remove Patrick. I remember doing a lot of fact if felt like I always had my arms around him to protect both himself and others.

It sounds like you're working things out with the school to help your daughter and I hope that's successful.

I'm sorry I hit a sore point. I do know that we can't always be there every second to stop aggression and I do understand that it can't always be predicted. I hope my post focused more on the attitude of this particular woman. No one should feel badly because of a situation they're trying to deal with but can't completely get control over. This particular woman felt she shouldn't have to do anything to try and stop her child's behaviour but that everyone around her should just 'deal with it'.

Fri May 25, 03:33:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Club 166 said...

Ah, I remember that "carry them upside down" position well.

Fortunately the last time I needed to use that was a year ago.

I hope you find a solution, Sarah, as I know how frustrating it is to have to deal with problems like this.

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