Autism, Puberty and Aggression

I realize this is a very touchy subject but I think it’s one we should be able to talk about.

For the past few years,  we have been dealing with sexually aggressive behavior,  from our oldest.  Things like groping,  fondling and what we dubbed as creepy kissing have all been an ongoing issue. Last summer,  the behavior just stopped and we were very,  very grateful.

We haven’t had any problems at all in over a year…that is..until recently.

We are beginning to experience these problems again.  I don’t really know what to do about this behavior at this point.  However,  I do know that I need to protect the younger boys,  as they appear to be the main target.

We had an incident yesterday and again today.  Elliott came to find me yesterday and told me that Gavin was trying to make Elliott kiss him on the lips. Elliott said that when he told Gavin no, he would pout and make Elliott feel bad,  so Elliott would comply because he didn’t want to make Gavin sad.  Elliott actually used the words “Daddy,  Gavin’s creeping me out”.

I’m grateful that Elliott was able to tell me what happened and that he came to me in the first place.

That said,  I feel sick to my stomach that he had to.

This morning,  Gavin tried to do something similar to Emmett.  Only this time it was right in front of me.

I wish I knew what was going through his head.  The behavior is inappropriate…period.  However,  is this simply a boundaries issue or something else? Gavin was sexually abused by his biological father and or paternal grandmother.  His biological father would watchpoint with him when he was 3-5 years old.

When his paternal grandfather died,  his paternal grandmother used him as a surrogate.  She admitted to sleeping naked with him while we were in court fighting to protect him from all of this.

I know this may have something to do with this as well….

I’m so lost right now but we see the doctors in a few days so that will help out.

For right now,  we have reinstated the rule that says,  Gavin can’t be alone with his brothers or any other child for that matter.  This is tough to enforce but I have to think of Elliott and Emmett.

Regardless of Gavin’s intentions or motives,  I can’t let this behavior continue.  I know some people out there will be saying that this is just innocent and I’m overreacting.  Well, that’s fine,  but when it’s your children in this kind of situation,  I bet you’d sing a different tune.

If you have followed our story for a while,  you probably have read about the things that used to happen.  They were deliberate acts of sexual aggression.  We had to take rather dramatic steps in order to quash the behavior then and it will likely be the same once again.

I hate this.  I hate the idea of having to protect one child from another. Gavin is not a monster,  however,  the behavior is a serious problem.  I don’t know if this is simply an impulse control issue or something more.

I know that puberty is tough for any parent and child but with special needs kids that have other issues as well with things like,  boundaries and impulse control,  it’s even tougher.

Does anyone have any experience here?  Talking to him simply doesn’t work,  nor do social stories.

I know this is difficult to talk about but I’m pretty sure I’m not the first parent to go through something like this. By talking about this perhaps we can help each other to address some of these more delicate issues.

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Rob Gorski
Father to 3 boys with #Autism, 1 with Fragile Health. Award winning blogger, techy and advocate. #AutismDad @GuardianLocate
Rob Gorski

Rob Gorski

Father to 3 boys with #Autism, 1 with Fragile Health. Award winning blogger, techy and advocate. #AutismDad @GuardianLocate

0 thoughts on “Autism, Puberty and Aggression

  • January 19, 2013 at 8:39 pm
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    “Elliott came to find me yesterday and told me that Gavin was trying to make Elliott kiss him on the lips. Elliott said that when he told Gavin no, he would pout and make Elliott feel bad, so Elliott would comply because he didn’t want to make Gavin sad. “

    That’s terrible!

    What’s also scary is that there are adults who would claim that this means Elliott was consenting and if you don’t like it then you’re persecuting Gavin and Elliott (see the comment thread at http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/SavageLove?oid=3347526&show=comments to see those scary claims and other adults strongly pointing out how those claims are bullshit).

    “Regardless of Gavin’s intentions or motives, I can’t let this behavior continue. “

    EXACTLY!  “But Gavin has a doctor’s note so it doesn’t count” and “but Gavin didn’t mean it” do nothing to reduce the harm for the people he’s hurting!

    You might also want to read http://autistscorner.blogspot.com/2009/10/but-what-about-aspie-men.html .  That blogger’s talking about how some other people excuse and encourage this behavior (which she herself heartily condemns!).  
    It’s an especially worthwhile read if Gavin already has internet access (which means he may have already met other people telling him it’s OK to act that way (for example, http://www.wrongplanet.net/postxf83001-0-60.html where someone asks someone else who was beaten and raped by an attacker who had autism: “But if he WAS unaware, why are you so angry?”)

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