This past Saturday, Alex was driven up to visit us, and most of the visit was great, but there were a few incredible outbursts when we took him for a drive to Arby’s. He was doing so well we figured it would be fun to drive there and get him a little sandwich, and then take him to a playground. But seemingly out of the blue, he turned very violent. He was hitting, biting, headbutting, kicking, and refused to stay in his seatbelt. We started driving back home and he started to calm down some. Seeing this, we decided to risk the trip to the playground, and things went pretty well there for a little bit. He ate his sandwich and was mostly content for a while, but after a bit he started to seem a little anxious about something. We got him back in the car, but this time his rage was explosive. I got hit and headbutted a lot trying to keep him in his seatbelt, and he beat himself up quite badly.
I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but at some point I told him I was going to get his medicine (hash). He calmed down a little on the ride home, but was still pretty worked up when we arrived — but it seems like when we started talking to him about his medicine, he understood. When I gave it to him, he was resistant at first. But all it took was a little coaxing and he took the hash without fuss. We didn’t force him, we didn’t trick him into eating it, and we didn’t even mix it in something else. He took the hash ball out of my hand and simply ate it, and after that there were no more episodes of rage on Saturday.
My wife recorded a lot of the situation, and hopefully I’ll get around to putting some of that video up. It’s the worst behavior we’ve recorded in quite a long time, and the turnaround in mood suggests (to me) that he has a definite understanding that the “special medicine” means he’s going to feel better soon. I think this is really important for people to understand – the stuff smells awful and probably tastes worse. Yet he eats it just fine. You don’t get an autistic kid to do that if he doesn’t get something good out of it.
But the real question I ask myself is why didn’t I give Alex the hash sooner? Seeing how great it was for him Wednesday, I have no good answer. I guess I’m still not completely away from the taboo or something, because clearly giving hash as a preventative step is a lot better than letting him beat himself black and blue.