Challenging behaviour

The challenging behaviour of children and teenagers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often causes parents and families the most stress. Sometimes the first step in managing challenging behaviour can be spotting the things that trigger it.

According to koodakpress، All children can behave in ways that parents find difficult or challenging to manage. But children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are more likely to do so.


Children and teenagers with ASD might:

  • refuse or ignore requests
  • behave in socially inappropriate ways, like taking their clothes off in public
  • be aggressive or have tantrums
  • engage in self-stimulatory behaviour, like rocking or hand-flicking
  • hurt themselves or other children – for example, by head-banging or biting.

Why children with autism spectrum disorder behave in challenging ways

Children and teenagers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) might behave in challenging ways because they:

  • have trouble understanding what’s happening around them – for example, what other people are saying or communicating non-verbally
  • don’t have effective ways of communicating their own wants and needs, which leads to frustration
  • are very anxious.


Your child’s difficult behaviour might also have specific triggers, like the following.

Routines and rituals
Children with ASD often like predictable environments, and they can get very upset if their familiar routines are broken. For example, your child might be upset if you change the route you usually take home from school.

Your child might not understand it’s time to move on from one activity to another. Or like typically developing children, she just might not want to.

Sensory sensitivities
If your child has sensory sensitivities, he might like feeling or touching particular surfaces or objects. He might get upset if he isn’t allowed to.

Sensory overload
Your child might get upset if too much is happening around her, or if she finds a particular noise overwhelming, or it’s too bright for her.

Unrealistic expectations
Like all children, your child with ASD can get frustrated if he’s expected to do something he doesn’t have the skills for, like getting dressed by himself.

Children with ASD can have sleep problems. If your child isn’t getting enough good-quality sleep, this can cause difficult daytime behaviour.

This could include things like the feeling of clothes against skin, a prickly label, wet pants, a bump or pain. Check with your GP if you suspect there could be a medical condition causing your child’s behaviour.

Other conditions
Your child might have other conditions as well as ASD, like epilepsy, mood disorder or ADHD. These can all cause difficult behaviour. A medical assessment will help you to identify and manage these conditions.


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