When it comes to behavior in autistic children, nothing is permanent. Understanding triggers and events that lead up to a certain behavior or action can drastically improve their quality of life and yours.  For an autistic child, the world is a very different place than the world you and I experience.  It can be hard to understand their needs and wants, and why certain things that seem minor to us may be unbearable for them.  Autistic children can exhibit self-harming behaviors and aggression, social and communication problems, repetitive behaviors, interest fixation, and other psychiatric conditions people with or without autism spectrum disorder can experience such as ADD or ADHD.  Being attuned to your child’s needs, and making sure his or her caretaker is similarly tuned in can help reduce your child’s problematic or disruptive behaviors.

External factors provide a wealth of potential problems for an autistic child, some you can control and some you cannot.  Identifying the external factors you can control can help prevent behavior issues from your child in school, public spaces, or at home.   While most children in school can experience distractions at some point, children on the autism spectrum can experience sensory overload which can lead to disruptive behavior or disruptions in work.  Autistic children can be easily overwhelmed, sometimes by simple peer chatter, or the incessant thrum of the air conditioning unit.  Understanding that your child might feel better in a quieter class, or that he or she might fare better farther away from the AC unit is a simple way to ensure that your child is getting what he or she needs without placing undue pressure upon him or her.

Internal factors are especially difficult, as they rely on your child’s ability to communicate and your ability to understand them at a deeper level.  Aches, pains, emotional distress, all can cause your autistic child to act out.  If you learn to communicate with your child in a nontraditional way by paying attention to their behavior clues, you can learn what is bothering your child.  If your child is cranky at a certain time of day consistently, try a snack at that time to see if he or she is hungry.