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Behavioral Problems in Children with Autism

Many children with autism struggle with behavioral problems. These challenges can be difficult for the child, their parents or caregivers, and their family. Behavioral problems often come in the form of aggression, hyperactivity, hurting themselves or others (e.g., head-banging, hitting, or biting), inappropriate social behavior (e.g., undressing in public) or some combination of these and other challenging behaviors.

Triggers for Challenging Behavior

Children with autism often have specific triggers, which may result in difficult or unwanted behavior. For example, disruptions to a routine or ritual can be extremely upsetting. Sensory sensitivities, or aversions to specific stimuli can trigger challenging behaviors, as can sensory overload such as bright lights or loud noises. Other times, a child with autism may engage in challenging behaviors when they feel unable to express themselves or meet expectations imposed upon them due to undeveloped skills. Not to be overlooked, tiredness is a common trigger.

Addressing Challenging Behavior

Speech or communication skills, social skills, or other developmental progress, as well as adequate sleep, can go a long way in reducing these behavioral issues. Treatments like ABA therapy can be very effective in identifying the underlying causes for behavioral problems as well as developing and executing strategies to overcome them.

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