ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Avoiding behavior problems in autistic children

Updated on March 23, 2016


Many behavior problems can be avoided by implementing structure into the child's life. Children with autism thrive on a routine even more than most children. They often have a hard time remembering orders of events and feel lost and confused if they do not have a schedule to follow. Structure provides them with emotional stability and gives them confidence in knowing what will happen next. This helps them transition from activity to the next, helping avoid meltdowns.


Many behavior problems with autism are based in the inability to properly communicate. Some children are unable to speak, causing them to rely on sign language, picture systems, mime or the care giver's ability to figure out what it is they want. This can lead to extreme frustration, causing the child to act out. Other children on the higher end of the spectrum can speak just fine, but lack the ability of understanding how to use language to effectively communicate their needs. For example, they may be irritated that they were given a red jacket instead of a blue one, and not understand how to verbalize this frustration in a way the caregiver will understand. While stating "I don't want the red jacket" or "I want the red jacket" seems pretty simple for adults or typical children, those words may not come so easily to a child with autism. This frustration may cause the child to meltdown in one form or another. Helping the child learn how to communicate relieves the stress of not expressing herself, easing behavior problems such as tantrums, self-injury, destroying property or lashing out at someone else.

Sign language photo by Pixabay
Sign language photo by Pixabay


Many children have dietary problems that can contribute to their behavior problems. It's common for children with autism to have problems processing gluten or casein. Although science does not support these findings, many parents have found that removing gluten and casein from their children's diet improved many issues, with behavior problems being at the top of the list. Casein is found in milk, meat, fast food and baked treats and processed foods. Gluten is found in products such as grains, baked snacks, pasta, meat or cereal. Because these foods make up a considerable amount of the diet for most kids, it's easy to see why diet can drastically affect a child on the autism spectrum.

These changes may not help every child because each child is an individual that does not respond to stimuli exactly the same as his peers. Some children don't appear to be affected at all by gluten or casein, but may have sensitivities to preservatives or food coloring. Regardless of scientific studies, making simple diet changes may help the child even if it is just removing unhealthy, sugary foods.

Photo by Pixabay
Photo by Pixabay


Problems with processing sensory stimulation is a root factor with many behavior problems. The brain misreads information gathered from the senses and tells the child he is in physical danger if he touches a certain fabric or eats a certain texture of food. He may develop a phobia of wearing socks or being around loud noises. Some of things may actually hurt the child, or at least that's what the brain is telling him. Working through sensory issues is one way to avoid behavior problems. Teaching the child that the world won't hurt him through continuous exposure to the things he's the most afraid of helps desensitize him by helping the brain learn to properly process information. This is accomplished through sensory integration therapy, physical and occupational therapy. It is presented as a play session, gradually exposing the child to things that scare him a little at a time, building up his tolerance.

There are many types of social therapies that are often worked into the therapies mentioned above. Social therapy teaches a child how to read social cues and respond appropriately. It teaches the child dialogue to use to express needs or desires and how to share. She may learn whether someone is joking or not. She learns how to deal with her anger or frustration in ways that are socially acceptable without causing damage or injury to herself or others. The child learns how to be with other people without being fearful or self-conscious. Even if a child never enjoys being with other people, learning that they are not in danger and how to be around other people will help relieve the child's anxieties and decrease behavior problems.


Sometimes, despite the parent trying all of these techniques, the child still struggles with behavior problems that may escalate as the child gets older and enters puberty. When nothing else is working, many parents find themselves resorting to medications to help calm the child's behavior. Some children find relief from selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), anti-psychotic prescriptions or medications that help stabilize the child's moods. However, sometimes these medications may make the problems worse or create negative side effects. Therefore, this is a choice to carefully consider with the advice from a physician specialized in autism.


While not all behavior problems can be avoided, reducing the ones that be helped by working with the child makes life much easier for everyone involved. Due to problems processing social cues, sensory stimulation and language, life for a child with autism can be extremely frustrating. This often results in problem behaviors that may not always be intentional.

Popular Autism & Behavior videos


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)