The comments continue to pour in, both through email and on yesterday’s post and the post from the day before on the topic of violence and coping when overwhelmed and overloaded. A number of parents have emailed that a behavioral program helped tremendously and a few wrote about various medications they’ve (almost always) reluctantly given their child as a “last resort”. One parent wrote: “I had to go to the ER because he broke my nose and when the doc saw the bruises on my arms and my broken finger they called social services. I was told my child would be taken from me. Another doc prescribed _____ (anti-psychotic drug) and told me it was the only shot I had at keeping my son with me. Sometimes the choices we parents are given suck. I never went back to the ER even after he broke two ribs and my toe. Years later he was able to type that three kids were bullying him on the school bus and had been for years.”
Has anyone had experience with being given a behavioral plan? Did it help? If it did, what was it exactly? And if it didn’t, and you don’t mind sharing about it, what was your experience of it like? Did anyone have drugs given to you as a child and what was your experience with that? As always, I will not use whatever name you give unless you leave it in the comments section of this blog or give me explicit permission.
Feministaspie wrote: “The adults around me would tell me to take deep breaths, count to ten etc, and while I knew they meant well (and frankly, that was a much better way for them to deal with me than some of the other things I’ve read online, so I’m lucky really), that sort of thing didn’t really work for me. This was because at the time, I’d basically go into fight-or-flight mode so I absolutely was not thinking about that at all. I think it might also be to do with taking things literally, because apparently I’d just scream the numbers 1 through 10 at whoever told me to count, which obviously didn’t help matters. In hindsight, perhaps a more detailed plan was needed as far as that was concerned!! This made me feel really frustrated because that sort of thing was supposed to help and it didn’t and I felt like it was completely hopeless.”
Ashmire wrote: “I’d also add that sometimes there is kind of a feeling of powerlessness, of knowing that no matter how bad I hurt someone I don’t/didn’t have the capacity to hurt them as much as they are hurting me, because they are hurting me with emotions and I can only use physical damage which just doesn’t, can’t, ever, inflict as much pain as emotions can.”
bjforshaw wrote: “As for what helps, I would say that being given space is paramount. Confronting the violence feels like being cornered and makes it worse. What helps me is whatever makes me feel safe and unthreatened. I’m not able to speak or even type (I hate to think what effect my pounding would have on my keyboard) but as long as I’m not pressured I will be able to talk about it after I calm down. It has to be in my own time, on my own terms. That’s when I can start to explore the causes, the triggers.”
In his blog post, Violence as a Means of Expression, bjforshaw writes: “Why do I do it? That’s a very important question. I am usually able to communicate effectively but emotion is a minefield: I have alexithymia which means I have great difficulty identifying and describing my emotional states. Strong emotions, especially negative ones, are very stressful. Add to that the fact that I become practically non-verbal when under stress — words are in my mind but I can’t get them to come out of my mouth — and you have a recipe for disaster. I’m not able to communicate my state of mind or my immediate needs which adds to the sense of frustration.“
Reblogged this on Married, With Aspergers and commented:
This is the latest installment in what has become an active discussion on violence, its causes and effects, and ways to deal with it. It’s building into a very useful resource, and it’s not a subject that gets tackled very often because of its emotive nature. So great to see it handled so well here — this has turned into a real community effort (and I got a couple of quotes in this latest post).
Your post on the topic and comments here have been really, really informative and helpful. Really appreciate it!
Thank you, it’s very good of you to say so 🙂
Thank you for taking so much time on this issue. My grandson is a 5-year old autistic and both his mother and I have been at our wits end on how to be the most helpful to him. By posting these comments from other parents, as well as others on the spectrum, I am able to share some great ideas, approaches and thoughts with my daughter. Thankfully he isn’t so violent that he has hurt anyone, but his aggression does seem to be directed to his younger brother so we keep a very watchful eye for these meltdowns. We are hearing more and more from his teachers at school that he is threatening them with kicking, biting and hitting, but they have somehow managed to avoid this actually being acted on – he tends to give you verbal warning of what he is about to do, thus allowing you time to prevent it.
He does get rather destructive in that he will throw electronic devices (we’ve replaced a television, 3 tablets and an iPhone so far). Please keep posting these blogs – they are so helpful and to a degree, reassuring that we are not in this alone.
This idea, that has been repeated over and over again by so many – do not place demands, do not try to reason, allow the child/person to retreat to a safe place of their choosing, have a safe place for yourself and other siblings until things calm – is something that I am thinking a lot about. Not just for a child, but for anyone who is in a state of acute upset (myself included). Just had a really informative conversation with someone who calls this their crisis plan and told me it has been a game changer. Since implemented the child has fewer outbursts, but she did caution that this did not occur overnight, but took some time before they began to see a drop off. She also emphasized that this plan must begin before things have escalated to that point of no return. I will try to write about this for tomorrow.
Tool Kit of Resources from the Autistic Community is an initiative designed to bring resources developed by various people and organizations into one accessible place. This site is new but many of the resources have been around for years. These alternatives have direct Autistic input. Current pages include emergency information, nontraditional communication, We Are Like Your Child resources link, AASPIRE research project. Future pages are being developed and will be added. http://tool-kit-autistic-alternative.blogspot.com/
Thanks for the link, Paula.
This has all been so helpful. Looking forward to tomorrow’s post!
Pingback: The Conversation on Meltdowns and Violence We Need to Have | aspermama