We’ve created a comprehensive guide on identifying and treating problem behaviors, including:
- What are problem behaviors in children?
- How do you identify problem behaviors in children?
- Common behavioral problems in children with autism
- Types of therapy for behavioral problems in kids
What are Problem Behaviors in Children?
Behavioral problems in children are repetitive disruptive actions that a child exhibits toward themselves or others. A one-time tantrum or aggressive action is not qualified as a behavioral problem, but it can be a symptom of more significant behavior problems in children. An example of underlying conditions could be children with ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder).
Some common disruptive behavior disorders in children include:
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
- Conduct disorder (CD)
When we start to notice repeated negative behaviors in our children, it might be time to document them, consult behavioral specialists, and create a plan moving forward. The hope is that these can be isolated issues, but especially when working with children who have autism, being proactive and treating behavioral problems in early childhood can go a long way toward improvement.
How Do You Identify Problem Behaviors in Children?
Though there is a clear difference between one behavioral incident and behavioral problems, understanding the early signs and classifying your child’s behavioral issues correctly can aid in treating them properly.
Some signs of behavioral or conduct issues in children include:
- Resentful or spiteful outbursts
- Being argumentative or non-compliant with parents, teachers, guardians, or clinicians.
- Losing their temper towards others, themselves, or objects.
- Being deliberately annoying and disruptive toward others
- Blaming others for their mistakes
- Public tantrums or self-harm
These are just some ways you can identify troubling behavior in your child. If you believe your child is beginning to show signs of behavioral problems, you should document any incidents and consult a behavioral or mental health professional as soon as possible.
Common Behavioral Problems in Children with Autism
The more frequently a child exhibits negative behaviors or behavioral impediments, the more precisely they can be diagnosed and treated. Children with autism often show behavioral issues such as:
Biting, scratching, or hitting oneself is a common tic among children with autism. This can happen due to anxiety, frustration, or an unfamiliar environment (among other triggers).
Autism elopement is a dangerous problem that parents and caretakers are often unprepared for. Many children with autism will roam due to curiosity or anger, despite not being equipped to deal with the world independently.
Lashing out or hitting others at school or in their peer group, and defiance against authority figures is a common problem behavior for school-age children with autism.
Pica is the act of eating inedible objects. Children with autism often do this as a form of self-harm or rebellion. Additionally, this can manifest due to sensory feedback or misunderstanding of what items look and feel like food.
Tantrums or Screaming
Audible refusal or positioning themselves in a disruptive way is a common form of misbehaving for children with autism. This often happens if a child requires attention or wants to change their environment.
These are just some of the many common behavioral issues seen in children with autism. Even for these specific behaviors, the symptoms are generalized. You should consult a therapist or other clinicians to determine the best course of action to correct or diminish these behaviors.
Types of Therapy for Behavioral Problems in Kids
When it comes to treating behavioral issues in children with autism. However, your ABA therapist or clinician may recommend additional specialty therapy such as:
- Speech Therapy
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Music Therapy
- Relationship Development Intervention (RDI)
- Sensory Integration
An ABA therapist can work these treatments into a unique framework for your child. Your child might work on behavioral issues in ABA therapy using Pivotal Response Training (PRT), Discrete Trial Teaching (DTT), or several other evidence-based techniques that make ABA therapy effective for treating behavioral delays.