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Caged child story highlights challenges of raising violent kids on the autistic spectrum

by AirTalk®

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Therapist Laurie Waguespack holds Grant Fulton's hands and looks him square in the eyes to gain his full attention in Lacey, Wash., Thursday, Aug. 14, 2008. Her goal is to help the Grant, who has autism, improve his social and communication skills. Drew Perine/AP

In Anaheim, an 11 year-old boy with autism was allegedly kept in a cage by his family in order to control his violent outbursts.

Parents with kids on the autism spectrum are confronted with a variety of social, emotional, and physical issues their children cope with regularly. Each child is unique, and depending on where they land on the spectrum, as well as their age, physical, emotional, and intellectual capabilities. They might react violently to feelings of frustration, sadness and rage.

Parents who want to do good by their child and society can feel desperate for help and ignorant of how to get it. Culture, too, might play a role in how a family perceives their child’s condition, and how to cope with it.

What tools do parents have to control their child’s violent reactions to their feelings? What can parents do to desensitize their children to triggers leading to actions born of rage or frustration? If you are on the spectrum, what have you found to be helpful to keep you and those around you informed about your autism?


David Bernstein, M.S.W. and Executive Director at Hope House, a private non-profit organization based in El Monte, providing specialized homes and services for people affected by intellectual disabilities such as autism and other mental health challenges.

Matt Asner, Executive Director at Autism Speaks Los Angeles. He has a son and brother with autism.

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