How To Help Autistic Children & Teenagers With Challenging Behavior

April 24, 2022
mom and applied behavior analyst evaluating a little girl

The educational system and society in general struggle to include teenagers properly and this is even more apparent with those that suffer from some kind of disabilities.

So, it’s not surprising that autistic children and teenagers can at times behave in ways that challenge those around them. However, that doesn’t make them less worthy of sympathy and support. If you’re interested in helping your loved one with autism, keep reading; we’ll go through everything you need to understand about their condition.

Understanding Autism & Challenging Behavior

Autism is a spectrum condition. That means that the symptoms and effects can vary from person to person. Some people with autism might be nonverbal, while others speak fluently.

Some people with autism might need very little assistance in their day-to-day lives, while others require full-time care. It’s important to remember that there is no “one size fits all” for autism.

It also means that the term “challenging behavior” can mean different things for different people with autism. In general, though, challenging behavior is any behavior that makes it difficult for the person with autism to communicate their wants and needs, or that puts them or those around them at risk of harm.

Here at Step Forward ABA, we prefer to use the term “interfering behavior” as opposed to “challenging behavior”, “problem behavior”, or “inappropriate behavior”. We use “interfering behavior” because we want to make sure we are focusing on behaviors that interfere with a child’s ability to enjoy life. It is now up to us to reduce that behavior and replace it with a functional alternative.

Common Behavioral Problems In Autistic Children & Teenagers

  • They tend to refuse or ignore requests.
  • They can behave aggressively due to frustration from a lack of language. 
  • They may hurt themselves or other children by accident.

Why Do They Behave This Way?

There are a few different reasons autistic children and teenagers might behave in ways that challenge those around them. Some of them could be because:

  • They have trouble understanding what’s happening around them – for example, what other people are saying or communicating non-verbally.
  • They have difficulty communicating their wants and needs, leading to frustration.
  • They’re highly anxious and stressed.
  • They feel overwhelmed by what’s going on around them.

How To Help Them

If you want to help your autistic loved one, it’s important to remember that they’re different from other kids or teenagers on the spectrum. What works for one person might not work for another. That said, there are a few general things you can do to help:

  • Ensure they have a comfortable and safe place to go if they need a break.
  • Encourage them to communicate their needs, for example, by using picture cards or sign language.
  • Help them understand what’s happening around them by providing social stories or visual timetables.
  • Look for professional ABA therapists to help you and your child or teenager. Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a therapy that can help autistic children and teenagers with challenging behavior to help them understand and manage their behaviors.

Work With ABA Therapists In Palm Beach

Now that you understand their behavior a little more, you need to take action. Step Forward ABA provides applied behavior analysis aka ABA therapy for children and teenagers. Give us a call today, or fill out our online form, and we’ll be happy to answer all your questions. We’re here to help, schedule a consultation today

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