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pinacolada pinacolada is offline
 
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Hitting and hair pulling
Old 05-02-2019, 01:24 PM
  #1

My autistic 5 year old son pulls my hair and hits me because he thinks itís funny and he wants a reaction. Hereís what Iíve tried (included time period of each strategy):
1. Ignore, block, and redirect (3+ months)
2. Give him something tactile to pull (few weeks) which didnít work
3. Show him how to do nice touches and praise him for it (2+ months)

Blocking him actually makes him want to do it more.

Iím not a fan of time outs or taking away things but Iím at my wits end. Itís painful!


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Old 05-02-2019, 02:13 PM
  #2

Maybe a combination of 2 and 3? Praise praise praise.. but also redirect with something engaging and different.

Iím so sorry. It is painful and upsetting for sure.
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Old 05-02-2019, 02:19 PM
  #3

I know you are a kind and loving parent who wants to do whatever is needed for your son. It sounds like your he needs to learn acceptable behaviors before he becomes a 6í teenager who could really do physical damage to you and others when he hits.He will be happier when he has more structure too. You can do this.

The consequences you mentioned for bad behavior have not made a difference so try new ones. Why not try time outs or taking things away that he likes? He may not like this but that means that it could be an appropriate consequence for hitting you. Kids shouldnít like consequences for bad behavior. When he does the right thing then slurp him up with loads of praise. They need to learn that good behavior feels a lot better than consequences for hitting and pulling hair. He may be autistic but he needs structure like all kids.

Here is an article that explains this further. Bless you and good luck!

https://www.verywellhealth.com/why-c...cipline-260156
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Same boat
Old 05-02-2019, 02:24 PM
  #4

My DS is also autistic and he’s 6.

This is the advice we’ve been given.

Consequences must be immediate or he won’t make the correlation.

You need to keep doing all three. He didn’t learn this behavior overnight. He’s not going to unlearn it overnight (in fact, it’ll take double or triple the time to change that schema). If he’s looking for a reaction, you cannot show any reaction when he does it. Monotone voice if you must say something.

You also need to be verbalizing how he is feeling. So we say, “little h0kie is MAD.” Same level of force as he’s projecting. So yeah, sometimes I’m yelling at him.

Additionally, you need to use teachable moments to model the desired reaction to things. When he is not upset.

For example, my DS often hits when he gets hurt (even if it was accidental). It’s like, I’m hurt so I want you to hurt. Anyway, one night during dinner I kicked the dishwasher accidentally. It hurt! So I modeled an appropriate reaction to that by saying loudly, “OUCH! THAT HURT!” and stomping my foot.

A social story is also something to incorporate. DS’s talks about his “angry hands” and his “calm hands.”

Additionally, we’ve taught him to say, “I need a break.” when he’s upset.

Taking things away doesn’t make sense to his logical brain, so I don’t do that.

AND biting/hitting back does. not. work. You’re trying to get him to stop doing a behavior...by doing that behavior? (I figure some people might suggest this...ASD kids are different. It will backfire.)

(This is what we do and what we have been taught to do by our OTs and SLP.)

Last edited by h0kie; 05-02-2019 at 05:09 PM..
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My grandson
Old 05-02-2019, 02:33 PM
  #5

has been diagnosed as autistic. He has a place on the stairs. It's not called "time out," but it serves a similar purpose. When he's acting out, he's reminded to go sit on the stairs until he's ready to play nice. He gets off the stairs in his own time, but generally sits there for a few minutes.

In fact, when my grandson was going to a preschool, he began to have trouble hitting and biting. (As did other children, but his seemed to be connected to his language delay, and apparently was happening on a daily basis) He did not exhibit those behaviors at home, so my daughter didn't know how to help him correct that situation. His autism teachers suggested a cool down spot, but the preschool refused, saying that they did not agree with "time out" as a discipline.

It got so bad at that school that he eventually had to be withdrawn. A month or so later he was age-eligible (3 years old) for a public school program for early intervention. My daughter is so relieved to see that he left the biting and the kicking behind at the preschool and it has not returned.)


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Token board
Old 05-02-2019, 03:01 PM
  #6

I agree with PP, especially Hokie.

Does he have special items that he would work for or are reinforcing for him?

Put the item in a safe spot with a picture of it on the box. He only gets for a few minutes after he has earned tokens. Keep the item in sight/in your control to avoid power struggles when it is time to put it back.

How long does he go between hitting and pulling incidents? Hours? Minutes?

If you can record or time the intervals, that would be great - start him about one minute or so before the average interval. For example, if he goes about 10 minutes between incidents, make his goal "if I go 9 minutes with cool hands/safe hands, I get my Paw Patrol cartoon (or reinforcer of choice)."

Define cool hands/safe hands with a social story.

Increase the interval if he is successful 80 percent of the time for three consecutive days. I would only go up a minute or two at a time.

You can either make a token board with pictures of a favorite item or TV show or Educate Autism also has some easy to assemble, generic token boards.

http://www.educateautism.com/free-ma...en-boards.html
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