RESOURCES FOR ADDRESSING AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR IN CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

SINGLE MOMMY MAIN TOPIC – MARCH 2016

 

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According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and the International Classification of Diseases, special needs is defined as a term describing individuals requiring assistance due to disabilities that may be medical, mental, or psychological. Some of us moms have children with special needs whether it be due to Autism, ADHD, ASD, bipolar disorder, and more! One main issue that we may be struggling to address with our children is their aggressive behavior. Aggressive behavior can be a result of our children not knowing how to communicate well due to developmental delays, emotional distress, and/or their environment.

CHECKLIST FOR IDENTIFYING SOURCES OF AGGRESSION

Here is a short checklist to consider when addressing aggressive behavior:

  • Is there a reliable mode of communication for your child?
  • Is your child’s communication always acknowledged and honored?
  • Is your child being forced, pushed, tricked, or coerced into activities or modes of social interaction that they are not ready for?
  • Is there a change in routine?
  • Does your child experience a good amount of downtime and privacy?
  • Has your child had a full medical checkup recently and blood work?
  • Is your child being mistreated or abused in any way?

For an even more extensive checklist check out checklist for identifying sources of aggression. It is recommended that you see your pediatrician for advice on aggressive behavior and to also make sure all health and medical needs are being met.

OLDER DELAYED CHILDREN’S AGGRESSION IS SIMILAR TO TODDLERS

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In some cases, developmentally delayed older children display aggression similar to toddler aggression because they are delayed. Check out this article on “Aggressive Behavior in Toddlers it may bring to light a few areas moms can work on with their aggressive children such as:

1. What typical situations lead to aggressive behavior in your child? Why do you think it happens?

2. What is your reaction when your child behaves aggressively? Why do you feel you react this way? Do you feel that there is a better way to respond to your child’s aggressive behavior?

Moms typically focus on question number 1, but take a look at question number 2. It’s very important for us to respond to our children in the most efficient way possible. This is harder said than done! It is extremely stressful to raise a child with special needs, imagine how difficult it can be for single mothers. Our initial response may not be the most patient one but we can keep trying. Every child is different and responds differently based on their unique personalities so experiment with different reactions and responses to your child.

IMPORTANCE OF EMOTIONAL ENVIRONMENT

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In order for a seed to grow it must be in the right environment. Think of our children as special seeds that need the most optimal conditions in their environments to learn and prosper. When it comes to special needs children check for not only a physically safe environment from bullies but also an emotionally safe environment from bully behavior. Your child’s emotional environment is also affected by their teacher and school staff’s mood/response, the way friends and typical children treat your child in everyday life, and also as mentioned above, your mood and response to your child. One of the most important things you can do for you child is find a school for your child that will meet his or her academic and environmental needs. Here is an article on The Effect of Classroom Environment in Student Learning.

SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS AS RESOURCES

It helps to discuss parenting methods with other parents, take in all kinds of advice and see what may work for you and your child. People are a valuable resource. Social media can be a golden tool when used properly. Take a look at the following table for various social media platforms and what you can do to find what you need:

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Through these various social media platforms, you’ll find adults with special needs, parents of children with special needs, and professionals. Remember to search for your child’s specific special needs diagnosis. Here is an example of a subreddit question from a parent reaching out for help about his or her child’s aggressive behavior.

Deborah Perez is the original author of this post. She is the organizer of the meetup group NYC Single Mothers with Special Needs Children as well as the creator of this blog SingleMomSpecialNeeds
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