‘Hitting’ it off…

I am not new to parenting so it is hard for me to say that with parenting a child with autism, I feel a bit like a fish out of water sometimes.

So, to those who have been there before, I have a question.

So lately, Jonah has developed an unfortunate communication signal, which gets his message across well, but is not generally appropriate behaviour.


Any time Jonah is told “no!” is redirected, or generally feels “cold pricklies” instead of “warm fuzzies,” he hits. He hits on the arm, on the head, or full-on in the face.

My solution at home, is to model “I’m sorry. We touch gently” and have him gently touch whoever he just hit.

If he continues to hit he gets a ‘time out’ in his room by himself (which he does not like) until he can touch softly again. Sometimes it takes a LONG time. But it has been effective… at HOME.

In public, I most times I don’t have the time or place to do this.

So today, we’re in a new big public crowded area of mostly kids and parents and my little guy takes off into the crowd.

So I pick him up and basically restrain him on my shoulder to keep from losing him while he is full on slapping me in the face. (Onlookers and other parents giving me that “look”).

Most times, I can usually redirect him to “touch gently” but when he’s anxious, he will unload on my head and face, and redirection is instant meltdown. And So i just let him beat the crap out of me.

With my older NT, hitting was a big “no-no” and he was given a harsh reprimand and time out for starters. The action was corrected very quickly.

This will not work with Jojo. He doesn’t equate the imposed consequences with the actions he did to deserve them. Essentially, he first needs to understand that hitting me in the face is wrong, and doing so is not acceptable before any punishment will have any real meaning.

How can I communicate to Jonah that hitting is “wrong” and how do I successfully enforce that?

And I wish I could somehow let the rest rest of the world know that right now, my parenting choices are to let him quietly hit me in the face, or have him melt down so loudly, you can hear it a dozen miles away?

Ugh I feel like such an awful parent sometimes!

Any help out there?

Jason Reynolds
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Jason Reynolds

Jason is a freelance photographer and graphic designer. He is also a parent of Jonny (9) and Jonah (4) who was diagnosed with Autism in December 2016.
Jason Reynolds
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