So we had a challenging evening at our house. The last two nights have been challenging. Michael’s anger and aggression have been increasing gradually over the course of the week, and Dad and I have had to put on our detective hats and figure out why. Is he unhappy at school? Is it his higher than normal blood sugars? I have seen with Type 1 Diabetes that high blood sugars increase the probability of aggression.or is it the medication he is on for aggression? Ironically, it like other medications, can sometimes make aggression worse. Yet, I have never seen the outbursts be shorter and with less intensity than before. So what gives? We are still trying to piece together the slow progression of anger and see how to proceed. Then again, Michael has always gotten weird in the spring. It’s like his body goes through its own version of spring fever and needs a lot more physical activities as his sensory system goes out of whack. Mine does too, mind you, though in a different way. March and April trigger sad feelings when it is cold and rainy. I am a bit at a loss now, but am digging for answers. In the past, I have used many different avenues to get my answers, and they have usually proved successful. I will once again be using those and want to share these tips with all of you:
- Observe your child closely: This one is obvious, but close observation to see when and where aggression takes place (and with whom) will explain a lot.
- Talk to your child: If the child is verbal this is much easier for obvious reasons, but even if the child is using another type of communication method try and get them when they have calmed down to tell you what they were feeling and why. I have learned more this way about how to help Michael than in any other way. Things we may not even think of could be triggering them. Let them tell you!
- Look for environmental triggers: Is it too cold, too hot, too bright for your child? Did they have a fight with a friend? Where do they feel safe letting off steam? For some kids it’s anywhere, for others it’s at home or school.
- Talk to other parents who have walked the road you are walking: So many kids on the spectrum and their parents have to handle aggression and anger. Speak to parents who have been down this road to see what you can learn. Their lessons are invaluable.
- Talk to other individuals with autism or read their blogs/articles: This is one area that no one told me to consult in the past, but now I am realizing is a very important ingredient in understanding my child. Talking to, reading books and articles by other autistic adults is the ultimate eye opener for a parent of a young autistic child. They have walked your child’s path way before there was the help that is out there now, and can provide great insight into how your child’s mind works. I have come a long way in understanding Michael’s mind, but there is no way I could get him as much as I do were it not for Temple Grandin, Stephen Shore, and other amazing autistic adults who have shared their experience with the world and opened non autistic people’s eyes to how the mind of autism works. When I get stuck, I go to their blogs, their books, and hope to have the opportunity to speak to them one day.
Exceptional Parents, what strategies have you used to understand where your children are coming from? It’s ok if you get stuck, frustrated, and upset. We all do, myself included. I have to remember to use my strategies for anger and anxiety just as Michael does and when I mess up, I fess up to him and myself. The important thing to remember is to always be on the lookout for what could be triggering your child- health issues, change in family situation or school, and be gentle with them and yourself. Depending on where you find blocks, ask around in your parenting community for good speech, occupational, play, music/art, or behavior therapists. They can also help you unlock your child’s problem as well. In the end though, always go with your parenting gut on all things about your child. It will never steer you wrong. And remember, never ever give up on your child. They will become as great as encourage them to be. Until next time.
I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com