Jace was 18 months old when his pediatrician first diagnosed him with autism spectrum disorder. His parents had immediately enrolled him in applied behavioral analysis therapy, the gold standard for autism therapy, and Jace had done very well. He was now in the second grade with a robust individual education plan in place. For the past few months before we met, Jace had been struggling with increasingly aggressive behaviors towards his younger brother, mother and father and even towards his aid in school. His aggressions were usually hitting, biting or kicking and more than once his father had feared he would kick the car window out while they were driving in the car. Sometimes Jace seemed upset when he became aggressive but other times, he was smiling and laughing and the aggressions seemed very unexpected. His parents were understandably distressed about this new behavior and were particularly worried he would seriously hurt a classmate or his brother.
Aggressive behaviors are common in children with autism spectrum disorders, especially as hormones begin to change. Often times these behaviors are difficult to control with behavior modification strategies alone and this is when medication to help with impulse control and emotional regulation can be very beneficial. In Jace’s case, we started him on a small dose of a medication to decrease his impulsivity and within weeks, his aggressions had significantly reduced in both frequency and intensity. His behavioral therapist told his parents that Jace was “back on track in therapy” and his school aid reported a significant improvement in his attention at school.
Autism Spectrum Facts
Autism now affects 1 in 54 children
Autism affects boys 4 times as frequently as girls
Over the last twenty years, research has repeatedly asked whether there is any link between childhood vaccinations and autism. The results of this research are clear: Vaccines do not cause autism.
Children with autism are more likely than typically developing peers to be bullied.
Almost 28% of 8-year-olds with ASD have self-injurious behaviors. Head banging, arm biting and skin scratching are the most common.
What WellPsyche Patients Are Saying
“Our son did very well with his therapy and aid at school for many years. It wasn’t until he started his 5th grade year of school that we started having significant problems with his behaviors. Getting him on the right medication, helped him continue making progress in school and in therapy. We were worried the behaviors would hold him back a year in school but he was able to catch up and is doing much better now.”
Amie, Liam's Mom
“Lola had always been very mild mannered but, around age 9, she started banging her head in the wall when she was upset. Then she started pinching herself to the point that she was leaving bruises on her arms and legs. We had wanted to avoid medicating her but we realized that this behavior needed to stop. Our pediatrician referred us to Wellpsyche and I’m so glad that she did. Lola is on a small dose of medication daily now that helps her tremendously. The self harm behaviors have stopped and she seems happier.”
Sharon, Lola's Mom
Did You Know?
MANY famous and highly successful people have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder? Some of those people include, Heather Kuzmich, who was a contestant on season 9 of America’s Next Top Model; Satoshi Tajiri who created Pokemon; Hans Christian Andersen who was a famous children’s author; Lewis Carroll who wrote “Alice in Wonderland;” Steve Jobs who was the former CEO of Apple, just to name a few.
As a parent, you want the best for your children. You may be concerned or have questions about certain behaviors they exhibit and how to ensure they get help. We have provided some guidance and resources to get you started.