Collateral damage

  • Post author:
  • Post comments:7 Comments
  • Reading time:3 mins read

I want to discuss collateral damage as it relates to accidental injuries.  I think that this can be pretty common in families with ASD children. 

What do I mean by collateral damage?  What I mean is when someone is unintentionally injured as a result of another child’s behavioral challenges. 

For this post I’m going to refer to something that happened tonight. 

Gavin was upstairs playing with Elliott and Emmett.  A short while into playing together, I hear Elliott start screaming.  Next thing I know Gavin is starting to freak out at the top of the stairs. Apparently,  accidentally
headbutted Elliott in the nose.

I believe this was an accident,  however,  that accident could have been avoided.

Gavin doesn’t self-regulate very well.  He’s also not in complete control of his body at times as well.  What happens is Gavin gets excited and continues to get out of control and someone will get hurt as a result.  Gavin doesn’t mean to hurt anyone but it happens. 

I don’t know how to handle these things anymore.  My priority has to be the overall safety of my family but at the same time it’s not entirely Gavin’s fault either.

What I choose to do tonight is just have them stop playing together.  I’m to exhausted to stay between them and I need Gavin to slowly come back down to a reasonable level of activity. That will never happen if he keeps playing out of control…

So that is what I mean by collateral damage.  Tonight,  Elliott was collateral damage.  He was unintentionally injured as a result of Gavin’s behavior.

What do you find folks do when something like this happens?  Please tell me I’m not alone here.  I think there needs to be some sort of balance reached between addressing the accidental injury and accountability for accidentally injuring someone.


– Lost and Tired

Posted by WordPress for Android via Tegra 2 powered Motorola Photon 4G (provided to me at no charge by Sprint) without the use of proper editing tools and disadvantages of a bastardized version of auto-correct.

Please Vote for Lost and Tired (just click the link) and help me spread Autism Awareness. Everyone can Vote once a day 🙂 Registered & Protected

Rob Gorski

Full time, work from home single Dad to my 3 amazing boys. Oh...and creator fo this blog. :-)
0 0 votes
Article Rating

Join The Conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

most voted
newest oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

J has no siblings so the person who gets hurt most often when J has too much energy and can't help himself is dad. I think he has pretty much stopped the headbutting unless he's in meltdown mode, but when he gets too rough in play we slow him down and tell him no. not rough. and redirect him. It's not as easy to do that when its your kids playing and you aren't in the room to referee (and no parent can do that 24/7) but that is what has helped us.

Amy Knox

Ugh I've taken more head butts than I can count! You are not alone! Sadly, since our kids USUALLY don't mean to hurt others I don't know the answer to preventing it besides close supervision and speedy reflexes!

Mmm tricky. On the one hand one needs to keep childern safe but on the other hand they need to learn to defend themselves.Mine have the same problem and at times it is difficult to know when ti interveine.Tricky indeed!!


I think this is fairly common in any household. :-/ it's just excessive in your house due to the added opportunities in your boys individual situations. Its grey when it happens here too 😉 .. Jr doesn't realize how much stronger/bigger he is then his sister some days…. and she is "cannon fodder" when he gets a little too aggressive even though he doesn't mean to hurt her. I usually acknowledge that it was an accident but also use it as a learning tool that he needs to be more careful. I wish I had better advice. :-/

Tapdancing Lexicon

I agree about in any household – my older brothers and I are all extremely clumsy, although only my oldest brother is on the spectrum and he's high functioning like Elliott. I used to get accidentally smacked or knocked into walls all the time. I also used to accidentally injure my middle brother a fair bit – he wasn't very understanding about it being an accident and would punch the crap out of me though. We would be expected to apologise for the accidental injury, and retaliation was punished.

U r not alone my son just wrestled another boy to the ground @ school because of communication issues between the two set of behaviors in both simultaniously……. neither of them meant harm

I think these situations fall into a grey area. I feel like we have to address the problem cause we don't want anyone to get hurt. However, at the same time, many times these injuries are completely accidental and often times outside of their control.

With my son, he's losing muscle control and so sometimes he flails and hits someone in close proximity.

Thank you for sharing….