Aggressive behaviors happen. They’re easy to judge, but difficult to understand and redirect when you’re in the midst of them. They’re often associated with either communicative deficits or puberty or both when in association with autism, at least that’s what I’m told by the professionals.
The way I look at it with my three boys—one with “easily” applicable communicative purpose, one with (maybe) a baffling purpose, and one who directs it inward instead of outward—I think aggressive behaviors (or the lack thereof) are a lot more complicated than the literature and professionals like to make them seem. It’s definitely more complicated than the generic (i.e., not autism-specific) professionals like to claim—CPS being a prime example.
I don’t have the answers. I have yet to meet anyone who does—after all, if I had, then aggression still wouldn’t be an issue for us. What I do know is that aggression (on the part of a child with special needs) isn’t the result of bad parenting, uncompassionate caregivers, or a lack of discipline. There’s nothing simple about it. There’s nothing shameful about it either and I refuse to let anyone make me feel as if there is. I assure you, we’ve tried all the “normal” stuff. We’ve tried a lot of abnormal stuff, too. We’ve discussed the issue with highly qualified staff familiar with our children and highly qualified professionals unfamiliar with our children. We’re still trying, we haven’t given up, but the “answer” hasn’t made itself apparent, yet.
I don’t know what the answer is, but I can tell you some of things the answer is not. The answer is NOT that the child is “bad.” The answer is NOT that we’re not trying hard enough. The answer is NOT one-size-fits all. The answer is NOT to cure autism. After all, aggression exists throughout our society and manifests in children all across the spectrum of needs.
Where there is aggression: Children need support. Adults need support. Their families need support. We all need compassion, understanding, and encouragement.
A little empathy goes a long way.