Autistic Children-Aggressive Behavior in Autistic Children Anger and Tantrums: Is your autistic child having violent temper tantrums? Is he exhibiting aggressive behaviors at school? Help dissuade aggression in children with autism.Young children often experience frustration and anger and without the verbal skills to express it, they may resort to aggressive behaviors. In autistic kids particularly, anger, hitting and biting can occur if they do not know how to cope with intense frustration and angry feelings. Aggressive behavior in autistic children is just one of the many problems that will lead to unwanted social and emotional consequences.
As a parent, you may be wondering what causes aggression in children with autism, and how to handle these autistic behaviors and violent temper tantrums. There are many triggers that can cause an autistic child to engage in aggressive behaviors.
Aggressive Behavior in Autistic Kids – Causes and Triggers
Aggressive behavior and violent temper tantrums in children with autism have many causes and triggers. The autistic child might be stressed or excited about an upcoming event. He may feel like he is not in control of a particular situation. He may not know how to ask for help. He may also be frustrated when people do not understand his requests or what he needs.
It is very common that autistic children misinterpret others’ facial expressions or intended actions. When another child gets too close to the child with autism, for example, the autistic child may feel threatened and may lash out at his peer by hitting or biting him. Things in the child’s environment, such as loud noise, visual stimuli or irritating smells, may also agitate him and cause aggressive autism behaviors.
Reducing Aggressive Behaviors in Autistic Kids
Employing self-calming strategies will help the autistic child cope with and possibly lessen his aggression. This involves identifying the trigger of the aggressive behavior in the child with autism, preparing ahead to avoid these triggers, and finally, using tools such as social stories to help the child learn more appropriate and acceptable behaviors.
Parents may notice that their autistic child always has aggressive autism behaviors like getting angry, hitting and biting a sibling just before dinner. It may be that he is hungry or tired at this time of the day and needs alone time. In order to help the child in the future, parents can provide him with a healthy snack, or give him an opportunity to do a solitary calming activity such as a computer game.
Aggression in children with autism often occurs in public places. This may be because kids with autism are not comfortable in new and unfamiliar situations. To help an autistic child cope with these times, parents can prepare a social story to prepare him with what to expect.
Parents can help diminish aggressive behavior in autistic children by identifying the causes of the tantrums and providing the tools necessary to prepare their children for the unknown. Often, removing an offending sound, smell or visual stimulus that the child is sensitive to can also calm him. Aggression and other unwanted autistic behaviors can be significantly reduced with careful observation.
- Myles, Brenda Smith & Jack Southwick, Asperger Syndrome and Difficult Moments. KS: Autism Asperger Publishing Co.,
- Shelov, Steven, P. (editor), The American Academy of Pediatrics: The Complete and Authoritative Guide: Caring for Your Baby and Young Child. NY: Bantam Books,