How To Reduce Aggressive Behavior in Autistic Children

Autism is an inborn neurological disorder that affects the cognitive and social development of the unfortunate souls afflicted with it.  Technically, the root cause of autism has not yet been pinpointed however; it is highly associated with genetics and factors surrounding conception and pregnancy.  Today, many children are afflicted with this mental disability ranging from mild to severe.  And, unfortunately, there really is no cure.  Educational therapy and medication are the only things that can help anyone with autism.  

Aggressive behavior is one of the byproducts of this disability.  Children suffering from autism are known to exhibit violent and angry behavior cause by many factors they deem bothersome.  In some cases, the cause for the behavior is somewhat obscured leading parents to take more drastic measures without first understanding the root cause.  That said if you have a child with autism and are looking for ways to reduce these undesirable behaviors, then here are some tips on how you can do just that.  Bear in mind, though, that some of these methods may require you to consult a special education expert, psychologist, or doctor.

  • Get some help.  Technically, this should always be your first option since no matter how much you read about autism, you are not a specialist or expert.  There are many specialists you can consider hiring such as a special education teacher, a psychologist, or a behavioral specialist.  The latter should be your focus as they are trained on the various aspects of behavior, especially those rooted by a disability such as autism.  This type of specialist will normally need several days to observe the child in his usual environment with the purpose of discovering the factors leading to his exhibition of aggressive behavior.  As soon as he can determine the reason for the behavior, he can now design and implement a plan to intervene and rectify the behavior.  Remember, learning the true cause will allow you to find a suitable solution.
  • Rule out the senses.  Most of the time, children with autism that show aggressive behavior are troubled by the sensitivity of their senses.  Yes, this is normal, as these children will normally find it difficult to deal with certain environmental effects that bother their 5 senses.  For instance, loud sounds, a bad smell, someone touching them, or something they see can trigger the unwanted behavior, be it shouting, banging their head on a wall, punching, or any other action considered to be aggressive in nature.  Hence, if these are the identified causes of the behavior, you may want to keep his experiences of these triggers to a minimum.  If possible, create an environment that won’t have these factors.
  • Teach them to communicate.  Sometimes, children with autism get angry and aggressive simply because they want or need something from you but they really can’t verbally communicate their desires to you.  Remember, anyone afflicted with autism is verbally challenged.  Hence, if you can’t respond to their needs, they will become frustrated leading them to tantrums and violence.  So, at an early age, it is key that you train them to communicate their needs to you in a way that you can easily understand, be it via verbal or physical communication.

Finally, if all these options can’t seem to eliminate the undesirable behaviors, then you can go with the final option, medication.  Consult a psychologist about the problem and he should prescribe you medication that will manage the child’s behavior preventing outbursts.  Now, this option should only be considered when you have exhausted the others as most of these meds can really take down the self-esteem of the child.


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