Frequently Asked Questions: Behavior Problems

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1. My son is three and undiagnosed. He had a brain injury sometime during my third trimester, but he seems to be pretty unique. His oral/motor skills are the most severely impacted. Our son makes very few sounds and communicates mostly by pointing and grunting. Lately he has become very aggressive with his two-year-old sister. He pulls her hair, grabs her around the neck and face and pinches her. He is very tall for his age and can reach our entire counter, which he is constantly grabbing things from. He is constantly getting into mischief and often destroying our property and/or putting himself in danger. 

Our neurologist has told us that he has never seen a brain like his! He is delayed in all areas, but is walking. I know a lot of his behavior is because he is frustrated. We are currently working with his therapist to come up with a communication plan. It is going to take some time, however, and we can't allow him to act the way he is. We have tried spanking for things that are dangerous. We also have tried timeouts, but the battle becomes more about staying in the chair and less about the behavior.

I am at my wits end! I am constantly battling with him and starting to feel as if I don't like him. He is very precious to me and I hate how I feel towards him lately. If you have any advice or can recommend any literature, I would greatly appreciate it.


2. My son has a Traumatic Brain injury. He received it as a result of being thrown from our vehicle, when we had a very horrible car accident when he was 4. He is now 12. His behavior has become increasingly worse. He at times is very loving but more often is very angry and verbally and at times physically abusive. Due to his behavior he has a lot of trouble with peers as well as family. I never get a break because no one can handle him when he gets out of control. My fiancée and I have been together for 4 1/2 years. During that time we have had many problems with our relationship partly because of my son's problems. He has tried to be patient and understanding and involved in my son's therapy. I guess I just hope some day our lives can become more normal! We all miss out on a lot of enjoyable family time due to the unpredictable outbursts. Any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated!


3. I am at wits end. My 16 year old son is exhibiting some behaviors that we are not sure how to handle. He was born with hydrocephalus and as a result has cerebral palsy (wheelchair dependent), is probably totally blind, seizure disorder, development delays, speech impairment and is medically fragile. For the past 3 years I have home-schooled him with the blessings and support services from our school system. Since he reached puberty we have been having some different problems with him. He cannot talk but communicates somewhat effectively with signs that we have taught him. The signs he uses include; want, toy, stop, nite-nite, smell, listen, and yes. I feel that most of his behavior problems stem from not being able to communicate everything he wants to get across. His receptive language is much higher than his expressive. He will hit himself and others when he cannot get his point across, and will also cry, he knows what he wants but we don't. He will also try to hit people who just come up to him to say hello (at church, family gatherings, etc.). I am not sure how to correct him so that he will know that I want him to stop the bad behavior, not the signing, etc. I know he also has some sensory problems, and some of this may have something to do with that. He likes everything to be on schedule, so he will know when things happen (because of his vision he does not know the time of day any other way), if someone comes to our house that I did not know was coming (I tell him when anybody is coming) and therefore could not prepare him, he just gets all "bent out of shape" and hollers, and fusses the whole time they are here. I sure would appreciate any suggestions on how to handle these things. We are in the process of trying to get some advice and help through our local mental health facility, but because of some "red tape" and a misunderstanding about where we would meet (either in our home or their office) we have not been able to get going with that. Thanks.


4. My daughter Katie is suffering from Post Encephalitic Syndrome. She is physically 5 years old, but her mental age is 2 1/2. She has moderate brain damage and ADD.

My problem arises at school. Katie is enrolled in an all day Special Ed Kindergarten. When Katie gets angry (she also has verbal apraxia), she lashes out at whoever is in the way. She hits, spits, screams and has temper tantrums. 

How can I help her to try and control her anger? She sometimes does this at home too, but I can usually get her to calm down and use her words. I am very frustrated. Please help!

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