Aggression, violence, and other challenging behavior may really be signs of Sensory Issues. Denman, et al. (2016) say… Families of a child diagnosed with autism can find themselves trying to understand their child’s behavior while on the waiting list for ‘formal diagnosis.’ How this ‘parental making sense’ of behaviors affects parenting. Continuing saying that confusions can also occur with children who have insecure attachment patterns and sensory impairments.
Also that it is hard for parents to understand how a slight change in routine can cause a child to have a ‘meltdown’ in the middle of the street. At the same time, parents are concerned about the need to present a ‘positive identity’ to others; while allowing ‘face saving’ while around friends and family members.
< My Thoughts > Uninformed society says, “Bad kid… bad parenting… or both.” Or as someone so appropriately stated… “He’s not giving me a bad time…” “He’s having a bad time…”
What I am offering here are powerful stories which may capture at this moment, what it is like to have this experience.
What Color is Monday? How Autism Changed One Family for the Better by Carrie Cariello, eBooks 2015 Edition; with < My Thoughts > by Sara Luker
Focused Excerpts from the book (13% indicates location in the Kindle version of the book, instead of page numbers.)
13% We accepted the diagnosis and forged ahead, getting Jack into as many services as we could. I do think in the back of our minds we both harbored the notion that he would outgrow this, that his symptoms would diminish and he would blossom into a typical child.
14% Jack was very difficult that spring. In his preschool back in Buffalo he’d started biting and kicking both kids and teachers, and everyone seemed at a loss as how to control his behavior. At home he’d started to hit both Joe and I, and to get into mischief…
< My Thoughts > “…he’d started to hit both Joe and I…”
Frea, et al. (2001), tell us that “…exhibiting extremely challenging behaviors can be improved with some sort of intact communication system which allows the child to express choices and preferences, in all settings.”
REFERENCES used here are:
Frea, W., Arnold, C., Vittimberga, G., Koegel, R. (2001). A Demonstration of the Effects of Augmentative Communication on the Extreme Aggressive Behavior of a Child With Autism Within an Integrated Preschool Setting; Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions; Vol.3:4, p194.
I Wish I Were Engulfed in Flames: My Insane Life Raising Two Boys with Autism by Jeni Decker; 2011 Edition; with < My Thoughts > by Sara Luker >
Focused Excerpts from the book (22% indicates location in the Kindle version of the book, instead of page numbers.)
22% I’d stopped at the drugstore to pick up a new prescription for Jaxson, the third in a series of medications to try and help prevent his aggressive behavior, particularly at school.
23% When I am in the store and my child suddenly rolls into tantrum mode, kicking and screaming and such, it’s not very helpful if a passerby says things like, “He needs is a good spanking,” or “You wouldn’t see my kid acting like that.” I want to say, “Go ahead and hit him, see if it works.” Or, “Bye, honey. This nice man is gonna take you home. Have fun…”
Okay, so I don’t actually do this. But I really, really want to.
24% I maneuvered to press Jaxson against the car with my body, fishing for my keys.
It took ten minutes to unlock the door and push my screaming child inside. I closed the door and stood there for a moment, taking a look at the nice bruise on my arm that was already forming, his little teeth imprints clearly in the center.
Suddenly a nice lady handed me the bag I’d dropped and smiled as Jaxson wailed inside the banging on the window, his voice only slightly muffled by the closed windows.
“He’s autistic,” was the only thing I could think of saying. “Yeah, I kind of guessed there was something going on there besides the regular old tantrum.
Can you get home okay?” she asked. My eyes filled with tears. “Yes, thanks. You have no idea how nice it is to have someone not judging me right now.”
“I think I can guess,” she smiled and then left for her car.
That day, I met an angel outside the Rite Aid drugstore.
< My Thoughts > “…You have no idea how nice it is to have someone not judging me right now.”
Again, the parents in the Hoogsteen & Woodgate (2013) study felt that their community members were unaware and uneducated about the challenges they faced when bringing their child with them when they shopped or visited in the community. Such as when the negative characteristics of autism were displayed,– tantrums, yelling, disruptive behavior, meltdowns, screaming, physical violence towards themselves and others.”
“Most people look at you and they just think he’s a bad kid… because he looks normal.” “What they think they see is bad parenting, a bad uncontrollable child, or just a rude disruption to their shopping experience.
Participating parents shared how difficult it is to feel that they are on their own… that most people out there are so judgmental and frustrating. One parent says “You get home, and you’re just destroyed because it replays in your mind. How do I make them understand?”
REFERENCES used here are:
Hoogsteen, L. & Woodgate, R. (2013). The Lived Experience of Parenting a Child With Autism in a Rural Area: Making the Invisible, Visible; Pediatric Nursing; V39:5.