23 Mar


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​​B​ehavioral problems can be the autistic person’s response to or expression of distress. Those problems can include compulsive and ritualistic behaviors, noncompliance, disruptiveness, ​irritability, ​or aggression. Caring for a person, adult or child, with autism who exhibits ​difficult behaviors can be challenging. Understanding the whys underlying those behaviors, and making some simple adaptations can help decrease the​ir​

Some factors that could be the cause of such problems:

​1. ​Autistic persons like schedules, timings, and organization. Routine helps them feel safe and comfortable. Changes in routine can cause a lot of distress.

​2. Persons with autism also experience hunger, thirst, stomach aches, headaches, tiredness, etc. Some may not be able to distinguish all these symptoms from one another, may not understand why they are uncomfortable.

​3. Inability to communicate needs, desires, ​pains ​or discomforts.

​4. Autistic persons have difficulty with social skills. They can feel distress when faced with social demands that are too much for them.

​5. ​Hypersensitivity to or the opposite, a need for more sensory stimulation.

Reducing the occurrence of problem behaviors:

​1. Structure and routine help to make people with autism feel safe and comfortable. Introduce structure through schedules. Whenever there is going to be a change in schedule, make sure the person is prepared for it well in advance.

​2. ​Positive social interactions and family support.

​3. ​Illness​. Consider and assess overall health.

​4. Engage the person in meaningful activities relevant to their sensory need. For example, sports, music, art.

​5. Identify the factors in the environment that cause distress. Eliminate them when possible, or adapt the environment to the sensory need. For example, some may need a dark room​, soothing colors,​
or a quiet environment.

​6. Help the person to communicate better and express their need. Teach the person words that describe what they want. Use picture cards, communication boards, or hand gestures.

Reference: adapted from Sharon Dominica,, 10/27/2010

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