Autism Outbursts & Violence


Freddy isn’t violent & he doesn’t self harm. Many children with autism do. & it must be heartbreaking. I’m hoping Freddy will continue to be a big friendly giant, but he does have outbursts occasionally. His outbursts can be destructive behavior. He’ll destroy anything he can get his hands on. He’ll throw & knock anything over that’s in his way.

This is normally because he’s overwhelmed in certain situations, or isn’t getting enough sensory input.

He’ll try to bite down onto something, it’s only been us a few times luckily & that was when he was younger. It’s normally hard surfaces that he’ll prefer to bite.
He’s bitten door handles. kitchen worktops, solid wood tables, a fireplace! Anything solid! He does this when he is frustrated or angry. He doesn’t know how to express himself, he can’t tell us he’s unhappy about something, so he’ll bite something instead. It normally happens when we make demands of him, or instruct him to do something, & he isn’t ready to do it. If something unexpected happens too, such as the battery going on the iPad whilst he’s watching it, or if someone has taken something away from him, he’s going to be annoyed, & find something to bite.


He goes rigid & when does it’s really hard to move him! It’s like he’s made of stone & he’s really strong! He’ll also arch his back, & digs his chin into your shoulder. He’s trying to avoid doing something he doesn’t want to do. He will go rigid & grimace when he doesn’t want to do something, such as getting dressed, or going out of the bath, but he doesn’t normally cry. When he’s doing any of the above but also crying/screaming & can’t be calmed down, he’s in pain, we know he’s in pain or hurting because it’s a different kind go cry & he hardly ever cries. He can’t be comforted easily when he’s like it.

He acts like this because he doesn’t know how to tell us what’s wrong.

This is horrible to watch, & there’s not a lot you can do to help. Normally we can grab him in a bear hug, rock him gently from side to side, & whisper to him until he eventually calms down, & sometimes he doesn’t want to be touched, it’s like it physically hurts him, & will make his outbursts & behavior worse. We just have to sit back & watch. We make sure he’s in a safe place where he can’t hurt himself. We sit & wait, & be there until he’s calmed down, & is ready to come to us.

Normally it will be because he’s constipated & his stomach is hurting him. This is the main cause. When parents ask me why their child is behaving this was, I always ask is the child has problems with their bowels. It’s worth keeping this in mind & if your child struggles to go to the toilet, this could be a reason for their behavior. Freddie’s outbursts don’t happen half as much now that he’s on medication to help him go to the the toilet. Bowel issues can be painful, affect your eating and sleeping routine, & obviously affect your mood because you’re exhausted, hungry but bloated, getting stomach cramps & feeling rubbish! He normally acts like this when he’s coming down with someone too, if he’s feeling ill & can’t tell me where he’s hurting. He doesn’t know how to rest either. He’s always on the move, so if he’s feeling unwell & doesn’t know how to settle himself, his behavior will be worse. He’ll need to continuous prompting to relax, & deep pressure massage helps, if he’ll let us do it! Tickling his arm & back helps t relax him too. Getting any medication in him is mission impossible, so that doesn’t help either! He’s normally having no pain relief & has no words to tell me where he’s in pain. You feel helpless.

If something has upset him earlier in the day, it can take a while for him to process what’s happened, he can be distraught about it hours later & be inconsolable. He’s sad, scared, & is processing what’s happened to make him feel that way. It’s like he’s tries to act out what’s happened, he can get really emotional. That’s why it’s so important for me to know if there was any incidents at school, & have a communication book, if something happened with another child & Freddy didn’t react at the time, that’s because he’s waiting until he gets home, & then his emotions will explode!! It’s like a delayed reaction, but if I know about it, I can expect his behavior to change at some point when he processes it. If I’m not aware of it, the behavior comes out of no where & I’m trying not to tick off all the things that could be wrong with him! change in routine can also cause outbursts & a change in behavior.

Freddy likes the world to be predictable, because then he feel safe.

We try to keep everything the same everyday. We can’t really prepare him or changes as we don’t know what he understands, but showing him pictures can give him an idea on what’s going to happen. He nearly is 6 & this isn’t something we could do before now, so the earlier years were more difficult to get him to adapt, & even now we aren’t sure if he’s understanding wen we’re trying to prepare him for change.

When were going outside & we know there’s things that can cause his behavior to change, such as crowds of people, different noises & lighting, we always have his major buggy. He can sit in that if he becomes overwhelmed, he feels secure when he’s sat in there, & having the push chair can stop outbursts or uncontrollable behavior. The behavior is a cry for help! But sometimes we can’t help, no matter how hard e try or want too. It’s even harder because Freddy’s development is several delayed & he’s non verbal. It can be heartbreaking. Over time we’ve noticed little signs, like I’ve mentioned above, so sometimes it’s easier to predict outbursts & changes in behavior. It doesn’t make it any easier to deal with though. We just have to try to be there for him, in any way he needs us, & be his safe place when he needs it most.

— Danielle