Autism and Influence

In general Autistic kids can be VERY easily influenced even by each other.  This can present a problem if one child is more aggressive then the other. In my case Gavin self-injures. He used to be VERY aggressive towards people but not for the past 6 months or so. As I said, he does self-injure and that is presenting a BIG problem that came to a head this morning.

Elliott WORSHIPS Gavin and has a tendency to “model” his behavior as well. That is where we have a problem. Elliott is witness to Gavin’s self-injurious behavior on a regular basis despite our attempts to shield him from it. Gavin gets very aggressive with himself whenever he gets frustrated.  He has scratched open his forehead and left bruises all over his body. This behavior is having a very negative impact on Elliott and Emmett. Elliott and Emmett have both begun self-injurious behavior as a result. Most likely this is just modeling of Gavin’s behaviors but either way it can’t be allowed to continue.

This morning Elliott became frustrated and began punching himself in the face…HARD. I was pretty sure he was going to leave bruises but thankfully he didn’t. A little bit later on he got frustrated again and smashed his fists into his legs over and over again. We have to intervene more aggressively at this point. This is not behavior that comes naturally to Elliott it’s learned. Emmett does things very similar to himself as well. Emmett will see Gavin doing this and run over to him and “mimic” him.

Lizze and I have discussed it and until we met with Dr. Patti on Tuesday Gavin will not be allowed to play with his brothers. Yesterday alone Gavin had 4 instances of self-injury. It would be irresponsible of us to allow him continued access to his brothers so long as this behavior is present. I know this will be rough, especially for Elliott but I can’t allow him to follow this path. Gavin is simply a bad influence on a VERY influential child. This isn’t the first time we have taken this measure and I’m sure it wont be the last.
In fact this behavior had gotten so bad before that it contributed to him being hospitalized.

It’s never enjoyable to have to protect one child from another but as special needs parents it unfortunately isn’t all that uncommon. Hopefully we can address this issue in an aggressive enough manner as to limit the lasting impact felt by both Elliott and Emmett.

Do you deal with anything like this? Does one child develop or pick up the bad habits or behaviors on another? I’d love to hear from you….

Rob Gorski

Full time, work from home single Dad to my 3 amazing boys. Oh...and creator fo this blog. :-)
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I have 3 special needs kiddo (birthed one, adopted two~somehow choosing this life was very healing after being given this journey first)…tons of issues have come and some have gone~I do have a high failure rate (but not compared to the rate at which the stuff comes flying at me~)

I was at my wits ends and begged the MD to just cast my oldest's kids arms so he couldn't get at himself…they couldn't imagine how I was not able to stop this child. We have done the arm braces, the hand mitts, the helmet. Had the behavioralist tell me to buy S&M latex outfit I could lock him in (as if) to try and contain him.

I used his inside swing time and the TV for brides when he "did the rules" and will admit to throwing his TV out the door when I lost my mind when he "blew it" (clearly I blew it.)

What ends up working best now is "letting him off the hook" quickly and not hours of no TV or swing time for "blowing it" (not doing the rules.)

I don't talk about the unwanted behavior with many words anymore..he knows..he just can't do it and the neighbors have heard enough of me for a life time on the subject. It's either you are doing the rules or not.

For the two younger ones (one Aspie/anxiety the other stage 4 kidney kid) they stress when I stress so keeping it simple and no yelling is my goal just for the tone of the house…I don't get to be the ranting teenager anymore~I had to get over it and deal like the quiet warrior.

There is a big difference between patience and understanding. Patience seems like just enduring the hard stuff and understanding is more..well I can hang with a hard problem for years if I can understand it.

When the others do start copying, I call them on it right away. They don't get to even if they see it. Everyone needs to do the rules (even me) and they don't get to correct people…that is my job.

We don't talk at length about the bad behavior…action is the key. "You can stop yourself or I will help you…can you stop?…let's take a big breath together….still doing it…the screens go off until that stops"

If my kiddo exercises my life is heaven with his behavior and swinging is the only thing he will do. He has one outside and one in his room and he will swing for hours (have gone thru the melt parts several times.)

This weekend has been crazy hard with him cause he got two shots at his well adult visit and wasn't swinging..his arms must hurt or something. Novelty factor might be down and I can switch to another seat to hook up…but that can back fire too if I mess with his ideas.

the most horrible event was when the two younger ones got into the garage and the garden tools…a thumb was barely dangling when I got the the "crime scene." I'm full disclosure diane and the PedMd let me know this could be a CPS call and that I was not to let the middle child alone with either child or any child without total supervision (she was trapping the cat, somehow got my oldest up the hill in the back yard and trapped him.)

I got the regional center to get a one on one for her at home as I feed two Gtube kids and they know when I am busy…and I make her run laps in the back yard when she blows the rules (she loves it really and it again changes the brain chemistry for day.) At 13 now cross county running is her only thing (solo sport.)

Ya just got to keep going…breaks are not an option for me either as I do this gig solo style (which is easier than your gig I will admit.) I will not orphan 3 kids so I have to eat, sleep and feed my brain too (twittertime.) Video star is a fun one the kids will do with me when we dance like wild ones to the latest music (Rio soundtrack is Hot.) The kids seeing you smile and laugh a lot is so healing for them.

The neighbors think us crazy~and they are right!