PLEASE HELP. I really need advice……

PLEASE HELP. I really need advice……

I really need some advise. Emmett is hurting Elliott and I don’t know how to stop it. Emmett is basically 10 months old developmentally so addressing this is tricky. Elliott was attacked again today by Emmett. Emmett did some damage and Elliott is now in a lot of pain and his anxiety is through the roof.

I am so tired of this happening and not knowing what to do about it. We can’t seem to find any answers… What do you guys do (other the spanking or hitting) to discourage this behavior? Please help. I’m desperate and need this to stop.


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I went through the same thing. My kids are 14 months apart and the oldest has Autism. She would lash out at her brother badly. She had a biting issue, I gave her baby carrots in case it was a sensory issue and that stopped the bitting. We also drilled into her that it was innapropriate to hurt others and used time out. We used a sign for innapropriate or bad behavior and also have a card she can grab is something is overwhelming to her so that she could let us know that she needed to be moved from the situation. Hope this helps.


I took a behavioral science course a year ago and the above is a link to one of my chapters regarding conditioning in a variety of forms. One of the styles may work for you or give you some insight on what direction you can take to make changes without medication. I feel for you and find your posts truly touching. Wish you and your family the best.


Did Emmett scratch Elliott that badly through his shirt? My first suggestion would be to mitigate the damage by clipping his finger nails. Emmett will probably hate it, but that would certainly decrease the amount of damage he can do. If he hurts some one, then you may need to hold his hands firmly, but not painfully and say in a no nonsense voice "That hurts! No hurting!" At another time, when Emmett is calm talk about "gentle hands" and have him practice touching gently. Also remember that while Emmett is developmentally at a 10 month level, aggression and inability to communicate are very much two year old behaviors.
The suggestion about lavishing attention on the victim while giving the aggressor the silent treatment is a very good one.
While thinking about communication modalities, remember that if one family member uses ASL, then all members must learn it. In my opinion, kids with autism ofter fare better with PECS of some other form of more graphic based communication. While ASL does require the ability to speak and is visual, it is also very temporary and for kids who have trouble processing language, the sign is there and then it is gone. Pictures stay. I don't know how long you've been working on ASL or how committed you are to it, but these are points to consider as well as the fact that folks who understand sign are few, but even the kid working at McDonald's can take a order from a kid with pictures…..

Lost and Tired

Elliott had his shirt off. We trim Emmett's finger nails every few days. But obviously they need done again already. Don't know if you read my last post about bridging the gap but we are using pictures as well as ASL. Emmett is picking up more words and making connections now. Hopefully we can continue to make forward progress. We really do want to focus on the ASL but teaching 3 different Autistic kids (in different places) is really difficult when we are learning ourselves. We have got some basics down and so does Emmett so that has helped. Honestly, I know I keep saying this but we are just exhausted…


sorry to hear that. good luck with the scholarship!


man i really feel for you and your family. i understand the communication part somewhat as my boy is speech delayed but having to deal with what your family has too is unimaginable. being the age he is at puts you at a disadvantage as well because even if he wasn't on the spectrum it would be difficult to deal with. i wish i had a good answer to your situation but i don't. sorry if you have touched on this in the past but i am fairly new to your blog here, but have you contacted your school district you live in? i know here in wisconsin the school district is responsible to help parents formulate a plan and implement it before the child in need reaches kindergarten. like for us it was to get my boy into headstart and into their speech program. good luck and as always try to keep your head up!

Lost and Tired

Oh yeah. He is heavily in "early intervention". As far as the school system goes we have to avoid the our local school system as they physically abused our oldest, Gavin and ignored his IEP. We were actually advised to sue the school system. It was easier to just pull him and find a better school. I know we would have won but at what cost. We will have to go private. Hopefully the Autism scholarship will help with the costs. Thanks again πŸ™‚

Aunt Sharon

Hi, I got to give my two cents,

Between two children who don't have any x-tra problems ( and this happens between siblings frustration ) I take the child who got hurt and lavish upon him attention (read a book etc. ) meanwhile the child who got hurt gets no recognition wat so ever. I say things to the hurt child like : are you o.k., I'm so sorry you got hurt, that must of made you feel really bad, well you can spend time with me, I'll hold you for awhile etc. No commenting to the one who hurt, dead silence the entire time. After a few times, … when a child gets mad he doesn't want his brother to get coddled and will find a different way to direct his anger.

Lost and Tired

That's exactly what we are supposed to do . The problem is Emmett doesn't get it and Lizze and I are both exhausted. It seems like a hopeless battle. So we are focusing our energy on the communication aspect so we can help to eliminate his frustration. It's kind of an end run but it's all we have.


Lost and Tired

Thanks everyone of the ideas. Emmett won't be 3 until the end of June so meds are out (and I know the idea wasn't being pushed). The problem stems from his inability to communicate… I really think that is key. He gets frustrated because he can't expresses what he wants or needs. We are working on ALS and he is now starting to pick up words. He is developmentally only about 10 months so hopefully we will start seeing some improvement in the short term.

We do our best to stay on top of things but it's just not possible all the time with Lizze's health and my back. He's not always like this and it does appear to almost be happening less then before. However, that does really mean much when something like this happens to Elliott, Gavin or even Lizze.

Thanks again everyone…


Segregation/separation is going to be key until you can determine what is driving the behavior (sensory seeking, negative attention seeking, inappropriate social engagement, etc.). There is always going proactive/reactive with some form of reinforcement system based on what is accessible, and highly desired (though often behavior in itself is more rewarding). If it's a form of sensory seeking (and at least to minimize damage done) you could try gloves. We've had to use everything from cotton to full snow gear type and getting them on can be a challenge, but can be helpful. Initially sometimes this causes an increase in the behavior, just as a forewarning in our experience. Just as difficult, could be trying to teach Elliot to be less reactive (if that is a piece in this) or to immediately remove himself to find you once something like this begins. Giving him some more control and tools to help ease his anxiety, and not add to your already exceptionally challenging life.


Quite frankly, I would say meds, but I know he is young so that probably isn't an option. It is the reason we put K on meds…she was hurting her brother way too much and our dr said once she started hurting him like that, it was time for something else (besides just therapy). The behavior was literally making life terrible, to the point that I was about to just move out with her. Other than that, you or your wife is going to HAVE to referee and make sure they are always apart. It sucks, and is a ton of work, but I have had to do it, too. It's really the only way to keep everyone safe.


πŸ™ Wish I had a suggestion. Lately for Junior we have been moving him to his room and telling him that when he can behave and be nice he can come out. (we leave the door open) usually the time away from everyone else is enough to get him to realize he needs to slow down and think but I realize this may not work for you…

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