Yesterday, I got a call from Nathan's principal that Nathan had punched another student. Every time this happens, I get a sick feeling in my stomach, wondering if this is going to be the game changer.
These incidents happen rarely, which means we can't really get any behavioural purchase on them. By the time they've happened and been dealt with, it could be months before the next one happens. That's a good thing, but it means there's no opportunity to build up momentum and repetition for Nathan to learn.
Nathan initially said the other child was bullying him, but when pressed for details, admitted that all they did was ask him to stop making a noise with his fingers. I asked if they asked him in a mean way, and he said no.
I know that emotional regulation is difficult for children with autism, so it may be a long time before Nathan can deal with these kind of explosive impulses in a constructive way. But I think it's horrible that my child has hurt another child and I worry about what it does for Nathan's chances for social learning and simply, for him to have friends.
He's said in the past that sometimes he doesn't play with the other kids because he doesn't trust his temper. Which is an option, but not a good one.
Yesterday worries me in particular because he was still angry when he got home, rather than bouncing back. That kind of sustained anger is new and I wonder if it points to a new phase or to something underlying. Either way, I'll just have to do the best I can and hope that we can make it all right.