Our Autism Story – Day 15 – “The Ugly Side of Autism”
Most of the time Brahm is a very sweet, charming, and inquisitive little boy. As wonderful and quirky as Brahm can be, there is an aggressive side that many people haven’t witnessed (or to its fullest extent). His aggressive behavior can range from slinging unprovoked insults to physically harming others and himself to destroying everything around him – kind of a mix of the Tasmanian Devil and the Hulk. Generally his ABA therapy team and his immediate family have taken the brunt of his aggression, probably because we see him the most and we try to modify his behavior.
The same event does not always produce the same result every time. There are times when Brahm is verbally or physically aggressive because an object he is stimming on is removed or is not working the way he wants. Other times, he is completely fine in the same situation.
Some things are guaranteed to result in aggressive behavior: taking an item away from Brahm (this includes handing an item to the cashier when checking out of a store), something not going exactly right when Brahm is building or playing with something (this happens often!), seeing one of Brahm’s favorite stores and not going into it (he loves getting candles and lights from the Dollar Store), and asking Brahm to come inside (Brahm really likes being outside).
Brahm can currently cause significant physical harm at only five years old and 50 pounds, and he is only going to get bigger and stronger. What is going to happen when he’s a teenager and bigger than us?
We have tried a lot of different ways to deal with Brahm’s aggression (with varying success). Our current approach is to try to get Brahm to a “safe spot” where there isn’t anything around him. We make sure anyone Brahm is “targeting” is safe. We try to block Brahm from going after his target and if possible redirect him. We basically leave him by himself until he calms down. This clearly isn’t going to work for long as he continues to grow and get bigger. We are continuing to work on understanding the root cause and how we can better address that.
Our apologies in advance! This has been and continues to be a work in progress and we’re trying our best!