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….