HELP FOR PARENTS OF CHILDREN WITH ASPERGER'S & HIGH-FUNCTIONING AUTISM

Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders

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Helping Siblings Cope with Aspergers and HFA

"My autistic son (high functioning) is 11 and my youngest son is 4. My 11-year-old verbally attacks my 4-year-old and my 4-year-old just stands there looking dazed and confused. How can I get my 11-year-old to stop doing this and how can I protect my 4-year-old from it? It is really starting to take a toll on my relationship with my husband. (The 11-year-old is his stepson and the 4-year-old is ours together.) Not to mention the toll it is taking on my 4-year-old. He loves his brother so much and wants nothing more than to spend time with him. His feelings get so hurt when his brother yells, screams, calls names, and tells him he hates him. I have tried sending 11-year-old to his room, talking to him, taking things away, watching the situation and trying to stop it before it happens, but it happens so quickly, it’s hard to see it coming. What can I do?"

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10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have two kids on the Autism spectrum, both have co-concurring conditions. ADHD, Autism, cognitive deficits... my youngest has the majority of diagnosis, further going into ODD, and PTSD, etc. The situation we face is actually reversed where my youngest is always beating up on her bigger sister, and verbally abusing those around her, etc. She has always been fussy, and tempermental since she was born. I can't say she's ever been any different, but we discover new behaviors all the time with different meds we try. Some of them are helpful, some are not. Her behavior for a long time was controlled with Risperdal, but we are now at a point where the Risperdal no longer works on it's own. She does take Focalin, and tenex in conjection with the Risperdal right now, in the hopes that we can take her off the Risperdal completely and perhaps get her on a different medicine all together. All I have to say is that changes in routine from school, differences in our day, not warning her about something- anything being different can set her off. She keeps things together at school but explodes at home, typically at her older sister. Just recently she did it out in public and tried to go after her sister in our therapist's waiting room. While her therapist said there are a lot of meltdowns out there, it did not make me feel any better. To date most of our issues have been contained to the house. Now life is very unpredictable because we have no idea where or when the next behavior is going to occur. I do sympathize with the above because this is a dynamic we deal with all the time. Mostly though the hurt feelings come from when my older daughter rejects my younger daughter (who has the majority of issues) because of her behavior, and all her little sister wants is to interact with her. Life is never dull.

Anonymous said...

I have this problem every day of my 11 yr olds life,he has aspy and his little brother is 10. he has always got the brunt of his big brother's tantrums, daily, it breaks my heart..I have actually consider residential treatment for my aspy child just to give his little brother a break. I don't know what else to do, I am single at this time and it has got physically abusive towards me if I interfere with one of their aurguments, I just try to keep them apart as much as I can, but that is not always practical...ODD is also a problem...Lord, help me and all you parents out there!

Anonymous said...

My daughter is 11 and she is the same way with her sister who is 9. Have you taken away your aspie childs free time? I have taken all free time away and give it as a reward, this stops the behavior right in its track. This is a huge step for parents but the younger child does not deserve it and it will help them grow, trust me!

Anonymous said...

As mentioned, removing the tantruming child is a challenge; another option is to remove yourselves (you, and 3 year old). When your older daughter is behaving inappropriately rush to your 3 year old, go over the top lavishing her with tender comfort "I'm sorry your sister is treating you so mean, lets leave" - and then leave the room while continuing to console her loudly enough for your other daughter can hear. If there are 2 adults available when this happens, both adults lavish 3 year old and after a couple min. one returns to briefly explain the disappointing behavior and to begin the time out as described earlier - and leaves.

The other half is to find opportunities to REWARD the older sister for using "kind and loving" words and behaviors toward her younger sister. These can be orchestrated with activities the 10 year old enjoys that the 3 year old can do. Start very brief. A compliment. A request to pass a dinner table item. The reward must be meaningful to your 10 year old and should also include specific wording for the desired behavior. "You asked your sister for the noodles using your kind words, thank you. Here's a ticket you can use for extra wii time (or whatever token/reward system you have in place) later".

Replacing the unwanted behaviors with the desired ones is necessary or your 10 year old may skip to another undesirable choice of her own. Good Luck.

Anonymous said...

I would be interested to meet parents who have the reverse dynamic- the younger child is out of control and just as abusive and manipulative and mean towards the older child that it is severely damaging the sibling relationship. It's the same dynamic, just reversed in age. Both of my kids have ASD but the youngest has the ODD, and it gets so frustrating.

Anonymous said...

My 11 year old has two older brothers...he has thrown forks at them..and broke their stuff..yells at the girlfirends....it is frustrating....my older two are at college and they hate coming home because of him
about an hour ago · Like

Bryan Hoff said...

My daughter is 17 and my Aspie son is 15. They absolutely hate each other as my oldest daughter has had privacy violated & the screaming outbursts embarrass her. I urge EVERYONE to get a grip on this early as behavior modification must occur consistently. My wife & I have since divorced & to this day my son suffers from his mother & I not being able to work together for his future. Please use the professional resources available & help your other children know that your Aspie child is just wired differently & why they need more help to show love to their siblings. Best of luck to you all as a Christian faith will help you more than anything & in many ways. Hang in there!

Anonymous said...

I have similar problems as crystal, i am single mum an i have a 14yrold son who has aspergers an learning disabilty an conduct disorder, i have 3 yunger girls one who is 4yrold an gets upset an scared by his abuseive behaviour, i also hav a 13yrold with learnin disabilty an a 11 daughter who has nothing wrong, im at point now where i have thought about care away from the home to give us all some respite, he has been abusive mentaly an physicaly to us all, + i have lost friends an some family members dont like having in thur homes as he steals etc.. it is now a very lonely way x

Anonymous said...

I have it both directions. My oldest daughter is 10, My Aspie son is 7, my other son is 5 and I have a 2 yr old daughter. My aspie and his older sister have a major love/hate relationship. There are times he adores her and they get along great. Then there are time when he hits her and destroys everything she owns. Same thing goes with the little ones but they get along even less. For the most part the 5 yr old looks up to his brother and even acts like him at times. However for the most part both of the little ones seem to get on his nerves and is mean to them when they won't go away.

Leanne Strong said...

I also have Asperger's, and am the oldest child in a family with only 2 children. I used to feel like my brother was being mean to me first, and would be mean back as retaliation, to show him how it feels. Maybe your son who has AS feels like his brother is being mean to him, and is trying to show him how it feels. I also thought, "that's not fair! I got more (and harsher) discipline when I was his age, than he does!" Maybe your son is thinking the same thing.

Also, you mentioned your son with Asperger's is 11. The tween to teen years are tough for most kids, but they can be especially tough for children on the Autism Spectrum, because that's about the time when kids start to notice how they are different from their peers. Also, children with Autism are often very concrete thinkers, who don't easily see the grey areas. They may become very upset when they see someone do something differently from how they were taught to do it, or how they feel it should be done. They will most certainly start to notice this more around the tween or teen years.

Maybe it will help your son with AS if you and your partner (if you have one) could each spend one-on-one time with your son with AS, without his little brother there. I always enjoyed spending one-on-one time with a parent, without my brother (like going out to eat with my mom, or playing a board game with my dad), because it gave me a break from him.

Do you need the advice of a professional who specializes in parenting children and teens with Autism Spectrum Disorders? Sign-up for Online Parent Coaching today.

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