#Autism and destructive behavior

#Autism and destructive behavior

Something that really frustrates me is some of the destructive behavior we see from our kids on the #Autism spectrum.  Not all my kids are destructive, it’s mostly Gavin and to a much lesser extent,  Emmett. Just because a child is on the spectrum doesn’t mean they are going to be destructive.

Gavin has destroyed countless things over the years. Most of the physical damage was done to his own property but sometimes the damage occurred to other things as well.

We used to replace the destroyed items when we were just starting out on this journey.  We learned pretty quick that it was something we could keep up.  Not only was it to expensive but it sent the wrong message to Gavin.

The latest issue we have had was with his mattress cover.  As you can see,  it’s lost its effectiveness.  This began during his meltdowns and the end result can be seen below.

The only way we can even begin to have the slightest hope of teaching Gavin the value of money and to respect both his and other people’s property is to make him replace the items he breaks. Accidents are one thing but purposeful destruction is something all entirely different.

If you experience destructive behavior,  how do you cope and how do you teach your child that’s not acceptable behavior?

You’ll note in the picture below that Gavin is without a bed frame or box spring.  The reason for that is because he physically destroyed both,  one more than one occasion.  We can’t afford to replace things only to have them destroyed during a meltdown.


**Thanks for reading**

       -Lost and Tired

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These are all great ideas. The destruction seems to be related to the meltdowns.


I have a question for you. I just checked out your blog and I was wondering why you don't write more. You are very gifted and I loved what you had already. I would love to read more. Also if your interested, I think you would make a great moderator on the Autism Help Forum. Please let me know if your interested and shoot me an email.


Good ideas Chloe!

I know that it looks and feels terrible right now. But, when I worked at a treatment facility we actually had a child pull their mattress apart. And with time the child got better at not doing that.

I think you are right about not replacing everything that gets broken. I do the same with my own children. If its a necessity its does get replaced. A bed frame is not a necessity. So that doesn't NEED to be replaced. Clothing is a necessity….so it gets replaced A LOT in our house. I always try to buy second hand because my children will destroy brand new as quickly as used.

I also started giving them points for good behaviors/going above my expectations. They can use their points to buy something out of our treasure box. I don't know that the younger two have figured out that their good behaviors equals new toys. But, they are starting to "earn" the toys/trinkets they get. So hopefully in time they will learn some value of work and money and why we are careful with our things… and then again maybe they won't. But, I can dream, right?
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Another though I had, while yes destructive behavior is not okay, or acceptable, maybe for some reason he feels a need to do it? Is it at all do you think a self-regulation thing?(tearing the sheets makes him feel better etc), not that this is an excuse at all, was just thinking that if this is the case maybe he needs an alternate behavior he can do when he is upset that is similar, such as only ripping fabric that is in a certain basket. Or do you think it is more of a thing he does during a meltdown?
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Chloe R.

Just an idea I had, is there a safe place or area that Gavin can go when he has a meltdown or feels a meltdown coming on? Or a place he can be safely taken to? Maybe a place with a mat, or bean bag chairs, and few objects. That way there is less for him to destroy. Or maybe giving him some paper or scrap fabric that he is allowed to shred or rip when he feels the need to do these behaviors? Or if he is throwing, have a ball, in his safe meltdown spot, that he can throw safely without hurting anyone or anything, like a very soft ball.
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