Living with a child with autism can be a completely different experience every day. Autism spectrum disorder is classified as a developmental disability caused by changes in the brain. As such, different children can experience different symptoms depending on where they land on the autism spectrum. For parents, this might mean that your home life is entirely different from that of another family with an autistic child. 

Generally, children with autism will have difficulty with social communication and interaction. In fact, they can often come across as quite reserved and quiet. At home, you may find that they spend a lot of time by themselves trying to do specific tasks or playing with toys in a particular way. However, it’s also possible for a child with autism to go through aggressive spells. 

Naturally, you worry when this happens. Nobody likes to see their child be aggressive towards themselves or other people. What’s more, you can’t deal with the situation in the same way that you’d deal with an aggressive child who isn’t on the autism spectrum. After all, it’s not your child’s fault – they aren’t purposely being aggressive for no reason. So, what can you do to deal with these aggressive outbursts when they arise?

Remain calm

The most important thing is to stay as calm as possible the whole time. Yes, this is easier said than done, but remind yourself of why the outburst is happening. More often than not, it’s because your child is overcome with emotions and has many feelings inside that they want to get out. Sadly, due to their autism, they struggle to convey these emotions and feelings. As a result, they are bottled up and released in the form of aggressive outbursts. 

In this situation, the worst thing you can do is get angry with them or start shouting at them to stop. They may misread the situation and become even more agitated and upset. Instead, remain calm, tell yourself internally why they’re getting upset, and rationalize the situation in your head. Always speak with a calm voice and stick to short sentences to avoid confusion. 

Ensure everyone is safe

Safety is always the top priority during an aggressive outburst. Your child will basically be out of control, which means they’re a risk to themselves and others. Whilst staying calm, move your child to a safe place where they can let off some steam without putting anyone in danger. 

If you’re at home, try to move them into an open space – the garden is a great example as there are no shelves or furniture that they could hit and hurt themselves on. If you’re in public, inform people to give your child some space and ensure there’s nothing near them that they might bang into or hit. 

Find solutions to calm your child down

Ultimately, you want to try and find ways to keep your child calm if they seem like they’re about to experience an aggressive outburst. Likewise, you need something to help them quieten down and relax if they do start getting angsty and aggressive. 

The good news is that there are some ideas you could try. The bad news is that every child is different, so you really have to experiment and consider what solution is the best for your kid. 

One idea is to try and medicate your child. It’s not ideal, but it can help them feel much calmer – particularly if you give them something natural that aids in relaxation. There has actually been some evidence to suggest that CBD or THC can help with ASD, calming down aggressive outbursts. You can get certain edible products that might be useful in this situation, such as Delta 8 Gummies. But, ensure you only do this if your doctor gives you the green light. In most cases, it won’t be a good idea for younger children. For teenagers and young adults, it might be a good solution. 

Secondly, consider using visual cues or other things that almost bring your child back to the present moment and ground them. Showing them a picture of something might distract them and get them to calm down – especially if it’s of a place they know and enjoy. Likewise, handing them their special toy or plushie could get them to slowly calm down and return to a more relaxed state. 

At the end of the day, your autistic child could experience aggressive outbursts at any given time – and at any age. It’s painful to watch, but it is a perfectly normal response for someone with ASD. The trick is learning how to stay calm and manage the situation as best as possible.