9 yr old autistic son doesn't seem to get the fact that he is hurting his brother

Question: My 9 year old son has been diagnosed with autism. Today he slammed his five year old brothers head against the headboard of his bed twice.

When we found out all I told him was to go to bed, he was supposed to be there anyways. His brother had a HUGE mark on his forehead which ended up swelling and bruising.

When I went to my 9 yr old room to talk about it he was hysterical....but not b/c he hurt his brother so bad, but because he didn't do anything wrong. No one yelled at him or anything.

He no matter how hard I tried didn't "get" the fact that what he did WAS wrong and could really cause serious damage to his brother. He also spoke of wanting to kill himself recently.

I don't know what to do!? I'm worried and lost. I have to keep my youngest child safe, so I moved him into a room with his 11 yr old brother for now.

Answer: Understanding how another person is feeling or affected by something is a common symptom of autism. Unfortunately, the best thing you can do for now is to separate them as you have already done and avoid leaving them alone together at any time.

I would also highly recommend trying to utilize your local school's resources if at all possible. Having a behavioral therapist work with you and him would be helpful or any other autism professional.

You may also talk to your pediatrician about recommending an expert that you can take him to for help as well. Talking about suicide is a very serious behavior that on a professional can help you with.

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