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NigNag
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30 Jun 2012, 12:28 pm

Sigh...
My son went to a lock in at our local library. Part of the fun was the kids bringing Nerf Guns and having a "war".
The evening apparently went good, until about an hour before it was over.
My son snuck up on another kid and shot him in the head with his nerf gun.
The kid blew up, said my son attacked him and pistol whipped him in the face.
My son then hit the kid with his gun in the arm.
The two pushed each other.
My son left the situation and asked to call his grandmother so he could leave.

The other kid said my son attacked him, hit him in the arm, pushed him, etc.
That he didn't do any of the things my son claimed he did. It was ALL my sons fault and he was the victim.

Since I wasn't there, how do I determine .. I guess what the truth is?



cathylynn
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30 Jun 2012, 3:33 pm

is your son generally truthful? does he have a habit of hittng people without being provoked?

in the absence of other witnesses, i'd err on the side of believing my son.



momsparky
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30 Jun 2012, 4:37 pm

Where was the supervision at this event? What did they say at the library?

I've found that it's very difficult to "unpack" situations like this: while my son is typically very truthful in these situations, he often misconstrues what has happened, especially if someone was violent towards him (not meaning he misconstrued the violence, but usually he totally misunderstands the antecedents. He has been in situations where both he and the other child thought they were protecting themselves.) I've found that it is critical to ask the right questions - meaning wait until everyone is calm, including yourself, and ask very, very specific questions - to get information. Ask him to act it out for you if he's able.

Was your son injured by being hit by the nerf gun? Was the other child injured?

If nothing else, lock-ins are supposed to be supervised situations where the chaperons ensure that the event is peaceful and nobody is hurt. I would want some information from them as to how a fight broke out at an event designed to give kids an alternative to situations with more potential for aggression. I would send them a matter-of-fact email saying that your son was either injured or frightened at the event (depending on what physical evidence you have) and you'd like more information about what happened.



NigNag
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30 Jun 2012, 7:07 pm

momsparky wrote:
Where was the supervision at this event? What did they say at the library?

I've found that it's very difficult to "unpack" situations like this: while my son is typically very truthful in these situations, he often misconstrues what has happened, especially if someone was violent towards him (not meaning he misconstrued the violence, but usually he totally misunderstands the antecedents. He has been in situations where both he and the other child thought they were protecting themselves.) you'd like more information about what happened.


Thanks :) The library was clueless to anything actually happening. My son walked away before it got loud or violent enough for intervention.

My son too has this problem.... he totally misconstrues what has happened. I remember when he was in Kindergarten, they had trouble with him getting angry when kids would accidentally bump into him in the hallway..



momsparky
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30 Jun 2012, 7:25 pm

NigNag wrote:
My son too has this problem.... he totally misconstrues what has happened. I remember when he was in Kindergarten, they had trouble with him getting angry when kids would accidentally bump into him in the hallway..


Yes, we have this exact issue now, even though he's going into middle school now - in fact, the last time we had a problem, he grabbed a kid by the neck for "budging" him in line - and the kid punched him (for which I'm actually quite grateful; the kid was a really good kid and reacted completely by surprise, and DS needed to find out in a relatively safe way that being hit can be a consequence for grabbing somebody) It took forever to figure out that what had happened was NOT that DS was trying to strangle the boy; he was just trying to move him where he thought he was supposed to be.

Was the library aware that your son is on the spectrum? Did they have rules about hitting kids above the neck (which is typical?)

We have all kinds of trouble with Nerf guns, because they combine some of my son's sensory sensitivities with his intolerance of perceived winning and losing, and with "losing" his ammo. He loves them, but we have to stay right on top of him when he has friends over because, frankly, he can freak out.

I could see the scenario possibly playing out this way: your son is very close to the other boy and shoots him in the head. The other boy yelps, raises his hand (with the gun in it) to protect himself, and the gun hits your son on the way past. Your son reacts, the other boy reacts, they fight.

Conversely, I can see a situation where a boy, not expecting to be shot in the head, reacts by yelling and hitting your son with the gun in anger.

You may be able to piece together which scenario if your son can describe each detail of what happened step-by-step. I usually do a "what happened first," and then prompt, "and then.." and write everything down and let DS read it over to see if it's right. He hates this process, but will eventually submit to it. We've unpacked situations where he was just plain in the wrong, and several where he did nothing wrong and we were able to provide evidence of that to the school because his memory is so detailed.

One thing your son did right: asking to get out of there. Make sure you let him know that, whatever happened, that was the correct next step.



DW_a_mom
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01 Jul 2012, 1:30 am

Step 1 is definitely to try for an accurate reconstruction. Get it broken down into all the little pieces, total autopsy.

But I do have another comment: I have never seen nerf gun play where shooting in the head is allowed. Was that a miss, an accident? What were the rules of play and did your son know them?

You may have to come down to, "you both acted inappropriately" and "reactions tend to follow actions, so it is important to understand how our actions can be perceived." But, you won't know until you have all the info.


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Mom to an amazing AS son, who recently graduated from the university (plus an also amazing non-AS daughter). Most likely part of the "Broader Autism Phenotype" (some traits).


NigNag
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01 Jul 2012, 12:55 pm

DW_a_mom wrote:
But I do have another comment: I have never seen nerf gun play where shooting in the head is allowed. Was that a miss, an accident? What were the rules of play and did your son know them?
You may have to come down to, "you both acted inappropriately" and "reactions tend to follow actions, so it is important to understand how our actions can be perceived." But, you won't know until you have all the info.


Thanks :) So... I asked him what the rules were as he understood them. He said they were NOT allowed to shoot in the face but could everywhere else. Showing me the area the lady was including in the description. I thought.. what? So I called the library and sure enough the rules were they could NOT shoot in the face but could any where else. They said since they were soft bullets they did not have a problem with them being shot even in the back of the head, they just didn't want someone getting hit in the eyes.

He said that he THOUGHT the boy hit him in the face on purpose. But he did say it was possible that he accidentally hit him too. All he knew was that the kid smacked him hard in the face with the gun., and he reacted by smacking him in the arm. The kid said something like , " I did not pistol whip you, but if I did you deserved it for shooting me in the head. That hurt more than me pistol whipping you in the face."

I have been around both of these boys enough to figure .. my son probably snuck up on the kid, hit him in the head with a nerf bullet. This meant the kid was out. In this case, I really think the kid smacked my son in the face as a reaction to being hit in the head. They continued to argue.. This particular kid has some special needs of his own, which I am used to being around. He tends to TRY and lie to get out of situations when he does something wrong. I have seen him do things right in front of me, and when called out on his behavior will look me in the eye and either tell me some other kid did it or that he never it.

So by this kids own omission in his wording.. he says.. I did not pistol whip you... but I did because me getting hit in the head by a nerf bullet hurt more than ME PISTOL WHIPPING YOU.

I decided to conclude the incident with this: The rule is unless someone is threatening your life (i.e. if by not reacting you will certainly die) you do NOT hit people. This incident was breaking that rule because this other kid hitting you in the face may have hurt, but it was not going to lead to you dying. I know it hurts, and you want to smack them back but you can NOT do this. You did a fantastic job of leaving the situation before it got to out of hand. You can ALWAYS call me, your grandmother, grandfather, uncle, or go to the adult in charge to get out of situations like that. The point is keeping you safe and getting out of the bad situation.

We then went through some common scenarios he may come across where hitting back is NOT ok.



NigNag
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01 Jul 2012, 1:00 pm

cathylynn wrote:
is your son generally truthful? does he have a habit of hittng people without being provoked?

in the absence of other witnesses, i'd err on the side of believing my son.


Thanks:0 Yes, he usually is truthful but from HIS perspective of what happened. No, he does not have a habit of just hitting people. He usually has to be provoked by something first, although he sometimes does not interpret the provoking correctly (i.e. someone accidentally bumps him in the hallway, etc.).



thewhitrbbit
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01 Jul 2012, 10:06 pm

I agree with the comments about head shots. I've shot everything from nerf guns to .44 magnum pistols and no where allows head shots. They do happen, but if they catch you aiming at heads your gone.

Especially execution style head shots.