Challenging behaviour such as aggression or self-injury are some of the biggest concerns for caregivers and parents of individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities. Challenging behaviour can cause a huge strain on families and relationships. It can contribute to feelings of burnout and isolation. By taking a closer look at the challenging behaviour we can better understand it and come up with more effective ways to teach our children an alternative way to communicate.
One of the first things to consider is if your child is feeling sick, tired, hungry or thirsty. Your child may be exhibiting challenging behaviour in order to get their needs met. Other things to consider are whether or not this behaviour has started suddenly. Ask yourself, are there any underlying medical conditions?
Since behaviour is a form of communication, it is important to develop an idea as to why the behaviour is happening. Many of these challenging behaviours are maintained as a result of what happens before or after the behaviour. Ask yourself, does the behaviour happen in certain environments with specific people? What is my child attempting to gain from this? Once you have had a chance to take a closer look at what the behaviour is and where and when it is occurring you can better understand it. Determining the function of a behaviour helps us to better understand and plan for challenging behaviour.
Being able to address and reshape the challenging behaviour early will improve day to day quality of life for your child, yourself and your family.