How to manage if your family member hits you

Hi I don’t know whether to post this as I feel ashamed as my disabled son hits out physically and verbally on a regular basis.
Last Thursday out of the blue I got hit in the face and have a black eye.
I feel shocked. Due to covid and his complex needs I can’t find carers and currently care for him and my husband a recent leg amputee

Hi Suzanne,

I suggest you change your username, to protect your families identity.

It’s not uncommon for children and adults with a learning disability and/or autism to lash out when they aren’t coping. Finding skilled carer workers for the paltry fee social care are prepared to pay is very difficult too.

Do you know what the trigger/final straw was?

You might find this website helpful

BILD were also offering a free advice line for family carers looking after someone with a learning disability during Covid, I’m not sure if this still available but might be worth investigating

I have been injured by children at the special schools I have worked in and S used to lash out in his mid/late teens when in pain or feeling very anxious. My strategy was to give him space until he had calmed down. I turned our front room (dining room) into a relaxing room for him. This had a crash mat, bean bags, cushions, fleecy throw, big gym ball and a plastic flexi-bucket filled with ball pool balls (that was very satisfying to kick over.) He finds the dark calming so the curtains were swapped for a black out blind and a dimmer fitted on the light switch.

I was calmer and more in control knowing we had a strategy and this in turn helped S. He learnt over time to take himself to the relaxing room if necessary, at first I had to tell him to go there. He rarely/ if ever uses it now, but I keep it in tact just in case.

I also developed a bank of de-escalation strategies that I try and implement if he is getting stressed.


Try to stop feeling ashamed for your son behaviours. He clearly has difficulties and that’s not your fault. As has been stated it’s finding ways for him to get rid of his frustrations. Which excludes him putting his physical force on to others. Are you connected to any carers groups in your area. Mencap are also very good at this type of issue.

I don’t know your son age. I know of some parents who have called the police to deal with such situations. And they have been very good in deescalating and have explained. What could happen if the behaviour continues etc.

I am sorry to hear of your husbands physical state. Has your son behaviour change increase in light of his Fathers medical condition. Does he understand what has happened and why.

All good strategies posted I have tried just about everything you all mentioned. He is severely disabled. Knows what he is doing and it was totally unexpected the punch in the face.
The last live in carer he started trying to hit so it’s escalated beyond just dad and me.
If this had been the paid carer he did this to then most probably she would have resigned. And most probably reported to police. I know all disabled people develop ways of getting their needs met but hitting the person trying to get everything in place is not the way to deal with it. The behaviour was there long before my husbands operation we were being ostriches burying head in the sand pretending it’s not happening. Maybe wrong thing to do

How old is your son? You and your husband?
Is he funded by Social Services or NHS Continuing Healthcare?
Has anyone discussed long term plans with you for when you are too old to look after him yourself?
Does he attend school/day centres?

Maybe you have now come to the point. That your son remaining at home is no longer the right setting. And I know that’s hard to read. But someone may well get physically injured. And that will be then too late. If your son gets increasingly difficult to manage. It will also become difficult to place him elsewhere. And alternative option’s will be minimal. Have you discussed at least getting some respite - which I guess wasn’t a great option before.

In Hampshire, there is now a special “Challenging Behaviour” Team.
You can’t care for son and husband on your own, it’s simply too much.

I’m in the same position regarding the violence and verbal abuse ,I am kinship carer for my niece with complex needs,I have nursed too many black eyes to count. Just before Xmas I received a phone call from adult social services and it was a light at the end of the tunnel.I don’t know what age your son is but maybe look at respite (which I appreciate take time to sort).
My go to at the moment is direct her to the hall until the meltdown subsides.
The way I describe the behaviour is ,she is 18 going through the terrible 2s with the strength of goliath.
Sorry if I’m not much help but I totally get it x