I know that I sound like I’m beating a dead horse but this is an ongoing issue and we are trying to work through it.
Gavin was so close to a clean slate tonight. In the morning he would have earned his TV back and he could once again have regular breakfast etc. However, he was caught sneaking TV. When Lizze simply questioned him as to what he was doing, he lost it.
I was upstairs at the time, getting ready to go walking. Lizze somehow, managed to get him upstairs and into his bedroom before I was able to intervene.
She left him in his room freaking out and went to be with the boys downstairs.
As she left the room and went downstairs, Gavin began screaming “you’re dead to me”, over and over again. I got into his room and surprised him. I immediately wanted to know what he had been shouting. He denied that he was saying that to Lizze and instead claimed he was saying that to himself.
I shut that down pretty quick, as it was not only creepy but honestly, a bit scary. Of course, the meltdown today was worse than yesterday’s. Gavin assaulted himself again. He headbutted the floor, hit/scratched/kicked himself and he even escalated to biting himself.
When he bit his legs, the thought occurred to me about whether or not you need a tetanus shot if you bite yourself and break the skin? Does anyone know the answer to that?
We have reached a point where I have decided to take a much more aggressive approach with Gavin. Right or wrong, something has to give.
Basically, I told Gavin, that I know he’s doing this on purpose and that it’s going to stop. I told him that the consequences will be much more severe. The next time he behaves this way, he will lose something that he values from his room. He’ll be able to earn it back by making better choices.
My goal is to make the consequences hurt. They need to hurt in order to hopefully deter this violent behavior. He cannot be allowed to have control over the family in this way.
If this doesn’t work than we are going to have to look at hospitalization.
The problem is that placing your child into some sort of inpatient care is extremely difficult. It’s difficult both emotionally and logistically.
Logistically, there has to new and place that is qualified and has open beds. Emotionally, it’s extremely difficult and I feel like I have failed Gavin, even though we are doing it to help him.
Hospitalization takes a great deal of planning and we need to probably start the planning process.
I don’t know what else to do…
There is one thing that I want to point out here, I think you might be dealing with a situation that is related to puberty. When I was that age I had a very difficult time controlling my emotions, and that is just the way my personality generally is anyway. I said some crazy stuff to my mom and self injurious behaviors among pubescent teens isn't as rare as you would think. Many engage in cutting. This is a crucial time where children start to really test the limits and push for independence and freedom. They question authority, they manipulate. Its probably really hard to even think about factoring that in after getting used to always attributing everything to autism. I think what you have here is someone going through that already horribly difficult phase, and then having that compounded with elements that make it even more extreme, for example, his inability to handle frustration and his emotional immaturity. It also doesn't help that his health is really poor. What I'm trying to point out is- kids really do say crazy shit at this time in their life and for a normal teenager, you probably wouldn't put too much thought into it and maybe you wouldn't even punish them for every little time they did something along those lines. Obviously your case is extreme, but maybe a little wiggle room wouldn't hurt either, like deciding to yourself he probably didn't mean what he said, he was just being a pissed off teenager. I hope I'm making sense. I know its a tough situation and you know your son best, but maybe a little outside perspective will help.
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Okay, sorry I’m not all touchy-feely let’s embrace dangerous behavior, but just what do you THINK he meant by ‘you’re dead to me’?! Coming from the child you admit scares you by watching you sleep? And where would he have heard that as a casual phrase? The growling ‘Liiiiiiiiizzzzzzeeeeeee! Liiiiiiiiiiizzzzzzzzzeeeeeeeeeeeee!’ like he’s possessed during fits I’m certain is very relaxing for her. I don’t mean to sound like a bitch, but those of us who read your blog really do care about your family and hope for the best.
Just an observation: you said you felt as if Gavin became less manageable every summer and then more manageable during the school year. That sounds as if it is the quantity of Gavin's behavior that is the problem, not necessarily the quality. If you got him somewhere to go during the day during the summer, wouldn't that be better than institutionalizing him?
My experience is that you hace to do everything possible to prevent the meltdown but once it occurs, you need to have a "safe" room to let the meltdown take its course. All though the autistic/asperger child may seems to be comtrolling you and the situation, in fact the meltdown is proof that they are overloaded and return to primal behaviors to relieve their mind of the overload. So you might get better results from letting it run its course (usually about 3 hours here) and then take up the explaining later.
Also, punishment to a degree where you take everything away from him might only strain your relationship – not help him. These kids can learn and be conditioned in some ways but basically they forget everything every time they are in a new situation of the same contents. So while it may appear that he misbehaves, he may simply forget what he is taught and go with instinct every time. When he then fails to do right, as you said he knows somehow that it was wrong, only he doesn't have the tools to implement this knowledge into his behavior and then melts down from both his own frustation, your anger and consequences and on top of that a desperate need to convince himself that everything is ok and his world is right._Anyway, that is the best advise I can give from my experience._Also, I must highly recommend hospitalization. Autistic kids benifit more than anything from a day build up on routines, stability and adults with energy to deal with them. Being in a household where mom is very sick, dad is lost and tired and understandably worn down is not helping Gavin and is not helping you or your younger sons.
You and your wife and living like black ops soildiers – constantly on alert, constantly in danger and endlessly deprived of sleep, rest and peace. While a black ops soildier only does tours of work and has time off in between missions, you are on an endless mission. It is not only hard, it is impossible. At some point the body shuts you down. It is better to structure your daily life, so your wife and you can be great parents for a long time even if all of your kids do not live at home.
As always I wish you the best 🙂
I have heard of PCM : Professional Crisis Management. They have an association PCMA, based in Florida. I know they train ABA Therapists (among other health care personnel).
We are praying for you!
If you ever consider physical restraint you might want to look into training on how to properly do it. Our county schools held MANDT training. And it teaches you how to work through the behavior cycle. And what to do once they reach that point of no return in escalation how to handle it. They also teach proper physically restraint IF you have to as a last resort. I am not sure if you have anything hear you that would have this type of training but might be something to look into. It is not cheep to do on your own. Our schools do it as part of teacher certification and re-certification and invited parents to attend at no cost. If you school system has one, contact the parent resource center.
I don't know how big he is but we've had to give Logan a bear hug to try and calm him with the deep pressure … it helps sometimes. We're at loose ends with Logan's behaviors too, so I'm watching this in interest and commiseration.
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So a possible solution for the short term…and last resort. Have you thought about physically holding him to stop his behaviors? W have had to basically wrap ourselves around our son before with out body when he is escalating to keep him from hurting himself. He used so much energy fighting us, that he ended up not having enough to hurt himself. We just basically bear hugged him and held on for the "wild ride". No it is NOT fun and I know that I hated doing it, but it kept him from hurting himself or his siblings. And don't get me wrong, he could definitely still move and we NEVER held him hard enough to stop any breathing or anything like that.