Child care

Top 10 Tips for Understanding and Managing Behavior in Children with Autism

Children with autism tend to misbehave not because they want to irritate you, but due to certain external factors which they themselves are unable to understand. Children with autism view the world from a different perspective. Some situations can become overwhelming and scary to them. One of the main components of autism is the inability to process external stimuli. Parents need to keep this fact in mind while dealing with children with autism. Here are some tips which will help you deal with your child in a better way.

Know Your Child: It is very essential that you know your child. You may feel that your child is giving you a difficult time but remember the child does not do it on purpose. The child does it because he/she is facing a certain problem and is unable to deal with it. This frustration causes the child to get aggressive or violent. Observe and study your child. Is your child extra-sensitive to sound and light? Does she need lots of sensory input? Is he likely to misunderstand a close approach? The more you know, the easier it is to troubleshoot a situation and avoid your child becoming overwhelmed.

Modify Your Expectations: Be realistic in your expectations of your child. Completing certain tasks may be easy for the average child but for a child with autism it may be too complex of a task. You need to be very patient with your child. Set goals which are short term in nature. Gradually your child will learn to deal with long term tasks.

Modify the Environment: Safety is a very important factor that you need to keep in mind. Children with autism have a neurological problem which prevents them from processing certain external stimuli and distinguishing tasks in a normal way. For example, they will not know that by cutting their hand with a knife they are harming themselves. Therefore, avoid keeping any kind of objects around them which they may use to harm themselves. Creating a safe environment for them is a must.

Consider the Possible Sources of the Behavior: Many children on the autism spectrum either crave or over-respond to sensory input. While some children require the comfort of a particular blanket or stuffed animal, some children with autism are incapable of processing physical and audio stimuli. For example, the telephone ringing may send them into a panic because it is too loud and unexpected or they may try to avoid wearing clothes because the sensation of the cloth touching their skin is too much and becomes painful. By carefully observing your child, you may be able to figure out what’s setting him off and try to avoid those situations.

Remove Overwhelming Sensory Input: Remove any kind of sensory input which the child finds overwhelming. This way you will avoid your child’s behavior being triggered by unwanted stimuli.

Provide Sensory Input: If your child is crashing into couches, climbing the walls, rocking back and forth, or spinning in circles, chances are she’s craving sensory input. Some people recommend bear hugs; others suggest squeezing youngsters between sofa cushions, rolling them up like “hot dogs” in blankets, or providing them with weighted vests or quilts. Find what is most comforting for your child.

Look for Positive Outlets for Unusual Behaviors: Every behavior of your child can be converted into a positive one. While climbing the entertainment center may be “bad” behavior, climbing a rock wall at the gym can be a great way to build muscles and friendships at the same time. While spinning at the grocery store may be odd, it’s ok to twirl on a tire swing. What’s a problem in one place may be a virtue in another!

Enjoy Your Child’s Successes: Every time your child makes an improvement appreciate him/her. Make them feel special and wanted. Acknowledge their achievement no matter how small it may seem.

Worry Less About Others’ Opinions: It’s not easy, we do understand but it’s important to remember that your child is behaving in a certain manner because he/she has autism – it is not their fault or your fault either. Remember they do not mean to embarrass you intentionally and their behavior is not a reflection on you as a parent.

Find Ways to Have Fun Together: It’s not always easy to associate autism and fun. But if you think about it, rolling your child up like a hot dog, bouncing on a trampoline or even sitting and cuddling together can be a lot of fun. Instead of worrying about the therapeutic value of each action, try just enjoying the silliness, the tickling, the cuddling…and most importantly your child!

5 responses to Top 10 Tips for Understanding and Managing Behavior in Children with Autism

  1. Hi,I have to work with an autistic child at school and supervise him all the time and spen 1on 1 time with him, but im not sure how to help him. When he gets upset he crys and screams and doesn’t listen.How do I help him to calm down?? He is only in summer school and I dont want him to get bullied when he starts year 7 in september.Help!!

  2. try singing him a song. it works for little kids and even people with down syndrome. i’m just starting to learn about autsim but it might work.

  3. Well done , this blog is really good and articles amazing ! THANKS

  4. Hi my son has Austism and when he get mad he bangs his head. I am currently trying to potty train and ts hard. he is in a school setting 4 days of the week for 8hours. what can i do

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