Battling Aggression


I wonder if other parents with kids on the spectrum battle with aggression in them?  My son has broken windows, doors, walls, has brought a knife to school (4th grade), has been in trouble with the police, has threatened our lives on a regular basis, and screams a lot.

Of course, my first concern with these behaviors is that it’s only a matter of time before he hurts himself or someone else.  My second concern, which also shocked me, is that I can get no help for him!  He’s too young, there are no beds, he’s too aggressive, his Autism is not severe enough…these are only some of the excuses I’ve heard.

The aggression also makes it difficult to place him in childcare, which is needed so I can work!  Our last experience resulted in a boy being punched in the face for saying my son was not a real police officer (one of his many alter-egos).

As he gets older and stronger I worry more and more about his safety, as well as the safety of my daughter and myself.

Bobbi Palmquist
I am a single mother of 2, one of which is a 10 year old boy on the Autism Spectrum.
Bobbi Palmquist

Bobbi Palmquist

I am a single mother of 2, one of which is a 10 year old boy on the Autism Spectrum.

6 thoughts on “Battling Aggression

  • May 1, 2017 at 9:44 pm

    We found other ways for our son to get his aggression out by kicking/punching/hitting inanimate objects like pillows or a mattress. We would have him stomp on bubble wrap. Anything that could help him get it out of his system without hurting anyone. We also encouraged him to write out his feelings as he got older. That helped too. My son is now 20 and he still gets angry but has tools in place to help him deal.

    • Bobbi Palmquist
      May 2, 2017 at 4:40 pm

      That is a great point! Thank you Tina! I have had him go into certain areas of the home that are more soundproof than others to get his screams out, and I have thought about putting a punching bag in my basement for him. You can literally see his anger come over his body and his struggle with knowing what to do with it. It sounds like you have experienced the same thing! It’s nice to hear about a 20 year old being able to cope, I often worry about him as an adult if he continues to not be able to manage these feelings.

  • Bobbi Palmquist
    May 1, 2017 at 10:51 am

    Hi there, and thank you for your comment. I was completely alarmed when he brought the knife to school. He actually told another student that day that he had a gun and wasn’t afraid to use it, and for some reason the school never checked his backpack. He carried it around all day with a knife that wasn’t found until I checked his backpack after talking to his principal. While I don’t think he would have taken the knife out or that he had any sort of plan, he acts so impulsively it is not something I could guarantee he wouldn’t do.

    My son has been to multiple psychiatrists, and also takes many medications. He takes an aggression medication that has caused serious weight gain, resulting in him being prescribed a medication for drug induced weight gain. In addition to these drugs, he also takes a medication for his ADHD, and we most recently began an anti-seizure medication in hopes to reduce his complete loss of control when he gets upset. I am starting to wonder about all of these drugs that he is getting and if they are really even helping him, or just making things worse.

    We live in Kalamazoo County in Michigan. After moving from Montcalm County, 2 hours north, a very small town, I assumed that moving to a larger town would offer him more resources as well as give my daughter the opportunity to play in the Orchestra at her school. To my surprise, there are SO MANY KIDS and so little resources that there isn’t even a case worker with an opening to take my son in order to coordinate resources for him. His “score” was not high enough comparatively, however, the majority of his issues are not predictable so its difficult to truly measure him by these tests.

    As far as school goes, he does have an IEP. He is in a contained ASD room and has a great staff. He goes on regular community visits and has speech, OT, and PT through the school. I am working very hard to get him in the extended school year program so he can keep the structure throughout the year, but so far have been unsuccessful because he does not regress in his skills, only his ability to control his emotions.

    It has unfortunately gotten to the point where the only thing that will help him is if I call the police when he starts to escalate to that point the next time. I have unfortunately already seen him zip tied by the police, strapped down to beds and injected with medications. I just wish the system would be more proactive so he doesn’t have to get to that point, instead of reacting after the damage has been done.

    • Joel Manzer
      May 2, 2017 at 7:30 am

      Addressing behavioral issues is always a challenge. As our kids get older we don’t know if these issues are a symptom of their mental or medical diagnosis, or if it’s just the fact that our kids are just being…kids.

      I know some kids act out as a result of their parents divorcing, as a means to garner attention. Beyond what I’ve already commented on the social side (members side) of the site here, I hope you’re able to find some level of resolution to help him (and your) challenge. Please keep us posted, I’m sure there may be a potential solution to all of this as we all move forward.

      • Bobbi Palmquist
        May 2, 2017 at 4:43 pm

        You are certainly right, Joel! I assume that some of his behaviors can be attributed to him growing up and testing his boundaries. Some of the things he does just seem to be so out of character for a child of his age, but it is so difficult to find his “normal!”

        I will definitely try to continue posting about our progress as it is also helpful to me to not feel like I am on an island with the issues that we are dealing with!

  • Elise Ronan
    May 1, 2017 at 7:25 am

    The acting out is typical of autism, but the bringing the knife to school is not an autism characteristic. They are generally reactive to situations/sensory issues, hence those meltdowns, not people that plan.

    Can you get him to a child psychiatrist? They can get him into a hospital. Is he on medication? It seems like there may be something more going on here than autism. What does your insurance say? Are you in the US? Well your health insurance should cover him no matter what his age.

    What about the school? If he brought a knife to school, they can order a psychological workup on him and put him in a program out of district too. You can demand they test him. Does he already have an education plan? Is he designated at school?

    Your worse case scenario of course is to go to the police and see what they can do for you. If you cannot get him help, they can get the court involved who will then order all kinds of testing. Of course, then it does get taken out of your hands, and they will assign a social worker, but it might be the help you need.

    You also don’t mention where you live. Some laws are different when it comes to getting help and support depending on location.

    I am sorry you are having to deal with this. I wish you luck.

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