Q: From the U.S.: My four year old has been diagnosed with PDD. Since about 15 months he has displayed some odd behaviors: such as, humping the floor, severe temper tantrums when his routines are not followed, and has been fixated on lights and fans. His fixations have progressed from electricity to storms and now are focusing on violence. He is not watching violent programs and we do not talk about violent situations in the home. Specifically, I am concerned with a story he told me the other night about how a boy was placed in “time out”, and when the boy escaped time out, he killed his parents and then himself. He is on respiradal for out of control “rages” when he doesn’t get his way. Is the violent talk a typical boy phase, or is this a new symptom that needs to be addressed?

A: No, this is not a typical boy stage. This is a symptom that absolutely needs to be addressed. Your son’s interest in things that are out of control and violent may be a way he is telling you how he feels inside. I hope you are reporting his behavior to whoever is prescribing his medication. The increase in violent ideas might be a side effect to the powerful medicine he is taking.

Meanwhile, if you haven’t done so already, I do suggest you find a parent support group for parents of kids on the autism spectrum. Early and consistent intervention offers the most hope for change. Your state has an excellent Birth to 3 program. You could call the local program to find out what they suggest parents do next when kids age out. Your son needs more help than medication. You deserve to have the support and practical help that parents in a similar situation can offer.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie