Temper tantrums in autism: New study says it's a behavior, not a frustration - Autism Awareness (2023)

Temper tantrums in autism: New study says it's a behavior, not a frustration - Autism Awareness (1)

We've all been there: watching our son completely burst into uncontrollable rage/tears in front of us. Sometimes it's in the privacy of our own homes, but when you have a child with autism, most of the time it's also in public. with autism is the cause of their more frequent tantrums due to the frustration of not being able to communicate their needs and wants. While it can be frustrating not being able to communicate easily, newinvestigationofPennsylvania State Universitysays that this is not the main cause of tantrums in people with ASD.

Tantrums are rarely due to communication problems

Cheryl D. Tierney, Professor of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, Penn State Children's Hospital says:

“There is a widespread misconception that children with autism have more tantrums because they have difficulty communicating their wants and needs to caregivers and other adults. The belief is that their inability to express themselves through speech and language is the driving force behind these behaviors and that if we can improve their speech and language, the behaviors will improve on their own. But we found that only a very small percentage of tantrums are due to an inability to communicate well with others or an inability to be understood by others."

So how can we help reduce tantrums in people with autism?

Tierney says we need to focus more on improving behavior than speech and language to reduce tantrums. Parents should be aware that behavior may not improve as speech develops. They will need additional support to see improvements in behavior.

Tantrums are normal behavior for all young children. Tantrums are all about developing skills and independence. They happen when something stops a child from doing something they want. The child may not yet have the skills to express strong emotions in other ways. For example, a tantrum may occur when a child becomes frustrated because he cannot button a shirt, or a child may become upset when told it is bedtime but wants to stay awake. In children with autism this is even more complex due to the added element of tantrums which can look like tantrums but require an entirely different set of skills and responses. Here are three helpful tips for dealing with tantrums in people with ASD.

  1. Determine if it's a tantrum or a meltdown.We've written before aboutthe difference between an autistic sensory meltdown and a tantrum, and how each needs a slightly different approach. While they may look similar on the outside, sensory meltdowns are not about frustration and do not have a purpose. They are a response to external stimulation. Tantrums can often occur if your child is tired, hungry or not feeling well, but they are always goal-oriented and always presented to an audience. A meltdown will happen whether someone is around or not. A tantrum is designed to elicit a goal-oriented response from the person receiving it. Learning to distinguish between a tantrum and a tantrum is the first step in helping your child learn to handle any situation.
  2. If it's a tantrum, remember that every child is different.What worked for one of your children might not work for another. Try a variety of methods to see what works for your child.
  3. Exclude the public.Often, a tantrum will stop if the hearing is withdrawn: if the parent withdraws or if the child withdraws from the public space. If you know your child tends to throw tantrums in large groups, start with smaller gatherings until other coping mechanisms and behaviors are learned. If he leaves, stay where your child can see him, but ignore him until he calms down.
  4. Children can also be distracted from their tantrums.. If the child seems to be getting frustrated with an activity, suggest something he already knows how to do and is good at. Start playing quietly with another toy and wait for your child to come join you. Music or a pet can also be a great distraction.
  5. Change the subject.For example, if you're itching to brush your teeth or go to bed, start talking about something fun you'll do the next day.
  6. Try the incentives.If they're breaking down over a necessary activity, you could try playing a short game or bringing a special toy with the idea of ​​getting them back to the task at hand once they've calmed down.
  7. Don't forget to praise your child after the tantrum is over.It can also be good to acknowledge their feelings: “I can see you were very frustrated with not being able to put your socks on, I understand why that would bother you. Good job calming you down. Can I help you try again?" Learning to deal with challenging emotions is a very important life skill. Children are definitely to be congratulated when they can calm down.

Remember that tantrums are normal. It is up to us as parents and caregivers to help our children learn new skills to deal with the strong feelings they will encounter when learning new skills. Verbal communication IS important, but learning to deal with life's ups and downs isn't a skill you necessarily need words for.

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  1. Temper tantrums in autism: New study says it's a behavior, not a frustration - Autism Awareness (2)Casey data:

    March 3, 2023 at 9:43 pm

    I don't find this discussion offensive at all. My son is 8 years old and lives with autism spectrum disorder. My son has his fair share and struggles to deal with challenging behaviors and struggles to control the anger he feels when he is very frustrated or overwhelmed. For example, when my son's tablet freezes or a game stop works, he throws it 10 feet up and screams at the top of his lungs and says "offline"! Every child is different and every parent has their own parenting style. My recommendation is to do what works best for you and your children. Let your child teach you what works best for him or her. This is the best advice I can give you. There really is no need to be offended by articles about autism, we all need to be more open minded, everyone is entitled to their own opinions and expressions and that too for their educational purposes. To be offended that someone wrote an article on this topic is in vain. I found this article informative and helpful as I'm sure many other parents probably found it the same way. I didn't find anything offensive in the article. I do what I can to try and help my son. It is extremely overwhelming to be the parent of a child on the spectrum and not have the support of family or friends. You may feel very alone and isolated in your own world. But I keep myself very busy. I work in the medical field. I keep my dreams in line and stay focused on my goals. I try to be the best person I can be. I try not to complain too much because I'm focused on the blessings I have. If you start to see how full your glasses are instead of focusing on how empty they are and change your perspective on life, you will start to notice the little things and what a beautiful thing life really is. I am still struggling with my son's tantrums to this day. I don't have a magic answer or a formula for fixing, changing, or improving. I'm just trying to take one day at a time, keep my sanity in the process LOL, and be the best mom I can to my son. That's all I can do. That's all I know. It's one thing to have autism and it's another thing to be the parent of a child with autism as well. Both are equally challenging and equally difficult in their own ways. We all have our struggles and challenges, we all have obstacles to overcome every day. I want to thank the author for taking the time to dedicate her life to trying to help children and families living with autism. Thanks for your article and thanks for trying to help. I appreciate that. I captured a screenshot of her recommendations, several of which I've already taken. I can personally attest that these suggestions are very good and I recommend them to other parents, if you haven't tried them yet, please do. One of the best recommendations I can give you when your child has a tantrum is to remain calm when he is angry and 🥴 frustrated. The reason this is so important, as I've learned many times the hard way, is that it's like adding wood to a fire. It just amplifies the intensity of frustration that is already building in your child. Your child watches and listens to you whether you think he is or not. When you yell or yell or hit or throw something or lose your composure in front of your child, your child loses faith and trust in you and loses balance and feels insecure and scared. I'm just speaking from my own personal experiences, by the way, I'm not trying to say someone else does this here, just my own personal experience, so don't think I'm trying to say someone else does this. I lost my composure and got so frustrated and screamed and screamed because I felt like I had to vent. We all have anger, we all have frustration, it's a normal emotion. It's how we deal with it that matters and counts. My son taught me to be patient. My son taught me how to use my calming techniques, and in return I teach and show him how to use them by example. I'm not perfect. There are many ways to improve as a parent, but I believe that everyone can, no one is perfect. But please, when someone takes the time of their life to help others, let's respect that and be kind. Try these recommendations if you're having trouble with this. Personally, I think the rewards work, as does the distraction method. 😊


    • Temper tantrums in autism: New study says it's a behavior, not a frustration - Autism Awareness (3)maureen bennie data:

      March 4, 2023 at 7:22 am

      Thanks for taking the time to share your perspective and experiences. Thank you for your message of respect for different knowledge, points of view and experiences.

      (Video) How to Handle an Autism Tantrum | Autism
  2. Temper tantrums in autism: New study says it's a behavior, not a frustration - Autism Awareness (4)mandy data:

    August 8, 2022 at 4:59 pm

    Why did no one respond to the adult autistic girl? She makes more than a good point. I don't think it should be ignored? I'm offended that no one has responded to him so I can't imagine how he must feel! I'm not criticizing and I'm very new to the autism world, I can be totally misunderstood. Please clarify!


    • Temper tantrums in autism: New study says it's a behavior, not a frustration - Autism Awareness (5)maureen bennie data:

      August 8, 2022 at 6:10 pm

      Mandy, there are a lot of comments happening on this site every day and people looking for help. Katelynn was expressing her point of view and giving advice about her experience as an autistic person. Her points are very valid. I try to respond to as many comments on the site as possible, but I often feel overwhelmed with correspondence. I am also the parent of two autistic adults who are in need of significant support. I've posted Katelynn's comments because they are insightful and I hope they help change readers' point of view. Anyone is welcome to respond to any comments posted on this site.

  3. Temper tantrums in autism: New study says it's a behavior, not a frustration - Autism Awareness (6)Katelynn Moore data:

    July 6, 2022 at 11:10 pm

    As an autistic adult, this is incredibly offensive. Our tantrums and meltdowns arise because we are forced to live in a world that doesn't meet our needs. I need to communicate correctly even though I don't intuitively understand how you want me to communicate. I must deal with loud noises, uncomfortable clothing, strange food, and bright lights that are both physically distressing and totally good for you. Your children are trying to get your attention because they are distressed, and instead of helping them alleviate that stress by changing their environment and not forcing them into uncomfortable situations, you encourage them to deal with their pain. I am grateful that I was not born with a co-occurring intellectual disability and that I communicate mostly verbally, so I am able to express my experience to neurotypicals. Stop listening to neurotypicals studying autistic children and start listening to autistic adults who were once autistic children. They are having tantrums because they are distraught and there is no other way out. Modify the environment and offer other outlets (such as a quiet room or a heavy blanket or the space and means to safely throw a tantrum). I have seizures as an adult. My family, friends, boyfriend, boss, and co-workers know what I need in a meltdown and they know the tools I need to avoid it. This is what your child needs.


  4. Temper tantrums in autism: New study says it's a behavior, not a frustration - Autism Awareness (7)Debby Dillman data:

    June 12, 2017 at 11:46 am

    I'm a teacher in the district's resource room for autism and related disorders, and I've believed for some time that tantrums are a behavior. The difficulties are that other professionals who come to observe and guide believe that tantrums are anxiety or part of autism. Consequently, recommendations for behavioral support often allow for tantrum behavior as the individual quickly learns that he gets what he wants no matter how he behaves. It's very frustrating!


    (Video) Understanding Autism - Meltdown Stage pt 1 (Video clip 1.7)
    • Temper tantrums in autism: New study says it's a behavior, not a frustration - Autism Awareness (8)maureen bennie data:

      June 12, 2017 at 3:12 pm

      Remember that tantrums are goal-oriented. These are different from meltdowns and people often think they are the same thing. Check out these music videos by Bo Hejlskov Elven. He has 5 of them so far on You Tube. Here's the first one.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUUEItx-Aw0

    • Temper tantrums in autism: New study says it's a behavior, not a frustration - Autism Awareness (9)Kimberly A García data:

      May 1, 2018 at 8:03 am

      It's a challenging subject. My non-verbal five-year-old granddaughter had a tantrum / tantrum for two minutes before I realized she'd accidentally turned the volume down on her tablet. Although it is a communication frustration, he will behave the same if he receives a no for something different. I agree to change the behavior. For example, every night when it was time to take the pill and go to bed, it would melt. One trick I learned in therapy was to tell him to press pause, as that's what he did at work. Now every night I say, press pause. She answers and I say "Grandma is going to put it on the charger, it's time to sleep"... and there's no problem. We need a DSM-V with just tips and tricks for our kids. If you're a 24/7/365 caregiver like me, it's not just a matter of need... it's a matter of resources.

    • Temper tantrums in autism: New study says it's a behavior, not a frustration - Autism Awareness (10)maureen bennie data:

      May 1, 2018 at 8:10 am

      That's a great tip you shared! What sometimes causes stress for our kids is that they think the item won't be there for them later or that they don't know when an activity will end or start, etc. The pause button made sense to her granddaughter: the iPad would go to sleep. without disappearing completely. There's a saying by Ross Greene that goes, "Children do well if they can." If they don't do well, they lack a tool or strategy to self-regulate and stay calm.

      We need that kind of advice. Transitions are often a trigger for crises. Having routines and rituals for putting things away or ending an activity (with a song, saying goodbye, see you tomorrow, that sort of thing) works wonders and makes sense for our individuals on the spectrum.

  5. Temper tantrums in autism: New study says it's a behavior, not a frustration - Autism Awareness (11)Cristina Fournier data:

    (Video) Tantrums after losing games

    June 7, 2017 at 8:17 am

    I found this quote of particular interest in the document:
    “Why does the hypothesis persist that a communication deficit causes tantrums in children with autism, despite evidence to the contrary? The reason may be in part due to the effectiveness of interventions such as functional communication training (FCT), which uses behavioral techniques to teach children to use words, not inappropriate behaviors, to communicate. As Durand and Merges (2001) state, functional communication training “implies teaching alternative communication
    to replace problematic behavior” and “is an empirically validated approach to positive behavioral support for challenging behavior” (p. 110). Several case-controlled studies have shown that FCT is associated with a decrease in tantrums."

    Teaching a child to communicate (verbally or non-verbally) is important, but it is equally important to teach him that communication is more effective than tantrums.


    • Temper tantrums in autism: New study says it's a behavior, not a frustration - Autism Awareness (12)maureen bennie data:

      June 7, 2017 at 8:47 am

      Thanks for posting this quote. When I speak, I always emphasize the importance of having a reliable means of communication that works for that person.

  6. Temper tantrums in autism: New study says it's a behavior, not a frustration - Autism Awareness (13)Cristina Fournier data:

    June 6, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    Thanks for your reply Maureen. By following the link, I was able to find the full study reference so I could read the full article, not just a third-party abstract.

    Susan D. Mayes, Robin Lockridge, Cheryl D. Tierney. Tantrums are not associated with speech or language deficits in preschool-age children with autism. Journal of Physical and Developmental Disabilities, 2017; DOI: 10.1007/s10882-017-9546-0


    • Temper tantrums in autism: New study says it's a behavior, not a frustration - Autism Awareness (14)maureen bennie data:

      June 6, 2017 at 1:14 pm

      Thank you, Christina. I appreciate you sharing the entire document. Have a nice day!

      (Video) 'It is just like a miracle.' Local therapy helps a non-verbal boy with autism speak

    • Temper tantrums in autism: New study says it's a behavior, not a frustration - Autism Awareness (15)lynn getzinger data:

      June 6, 2017 at 4:42 pm

      I work with an adult male and I find communication essential, as is praise. Where else could I look for more information? I've been with him for three years and at first the behaviors were brutal, now he's been 16 months without behaviors. I also find his articles helpful.

    • Temper tantrums in autism: New study says it's a behavior, not a frustration - Autism Awareness (16)maureen bennie data:

      June 6, 2017 at 4:55 pm

      A good communication system is essential. It seems to me that you have developed a strong relationship with this young man and that the trust you have in him is what also lessens his challenging behavior. You are following the principles of Low Arousal (www.lowarousal.com). Stay up the good work!

  7. Temper tantrums in autism: New study says it's a behavior, not a frustration - Autism Awareness (17)Cristina Fournier data:

    June 6, 2017 at 8:41 am

    Can you provide the complete reference for this investigation?


Leave an answer

(Video) Coping with autism and puberty

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Can autistic meltdowns be caused by frustration? ›

Communication difficulties. Autistic people can find it difficult to express their wants and needs, from a non-verbal child struggling to express their need for a drink to a teenager finding it hard to express their emotions. This can result in overwhelming feelings, such as anger and frustration, leading to a meltdown ...

Does autism cause temper tantrums? ›

Does tantrum happen in children with autism? Yes! Children with autism, similar to neurotypical children can also have temper tantrums. The challenge is to identify when a child is having a meltdown and when they are having a tantrum.

What is the difference between tantrums and meltdowns in autism? ›

The key difference between a tantrum vs a meltdown is that a tantrum is a choice, aimed at reaching a goal, and can be stopped, while a meltdown is an involuntary response to a stimulus. Autistic children can experience both tantrums and meltdowns, so it's essential to understand their causes and symptoms.

Do autistic kids get frustrated? ›

Some autistic people can experience difficulties making themselves understood, understanding what's being said to them, and understanding facial expressions and body language. This can cause considerable frustration and anxiety which may result in anger or distressed behaviour.

How do you stop autism rage? ›

Remaining calm, especially since children with autism often have angry outbursts when they are feeling overwhelmed and cannot express themselves. By remaining calm and controlling your emotions, you can prevent the situation from escalating. Limiting what you say, as your child with autism will feel highly stressed.

What makes autism worse? ›

Sensory overload, changes in routine, social isolation, co-occurring conditions, and lack of support can all exacerbate the symptoms of autism. However, with early intervention, therapy, and support, individuals with autism can manage these challenges and improve their quality of life.

Can high functioning autism cause anger issues? ›

Autistic children who are high-functioning typically engage in repetitive thinking, including anger ruminations, constantly thinking about negative situations and angry feelings. These thoughts can lead to anger and meltdowns.

What does an autistic tantrum look like? ›

Autistic meltdowns generally begin with warning signals called "rumblings." Rumblings are outward signs of distress that can either be obvious or subtle. Rumblings might start with a verbal plea to "go now" or visually obvious signs of distress such as hands over the ears.

What are autistic tantrums called? ›

An autism meltdown is a common occurrence for autistic folks with autism due to sensitivity to sensory input. While meltdowns are more common among younger autistic individuals, they're not the same as a childhood tantrum. Unlike tantrums, meltdowns aren't connected to a goal and may occur at any age.

What does autistic shutdown feel like? ›

Being completely silent. Not being able to communicate in any way. Withdrawing to a quiet, dark space to get away from the cause of their shutdown. Not being able to move from where they are because they're thinking too much about the cause of their shutdown.

What is a shutdown autism? ›

An analogy for a shutdown is like a computer trying to turn on but it can't because there isn't enough power to do so. In a shutdown an autistic person might not seem themselves because they're so overwhelmed that their focus has shifted to the basic functions.

What are the 6 stages of autism meltdowns? ›

The model includes six phases: Calm, Triggers, Agitation, Meltdowns, Re-Grouping, and Starting Over.

What does high-functioning autism feel like? ›

In children and teenagers with high-functioning autism, this can present as a limited social circle, difficulty completing group work, or problems sharing toys and materials. Many people with ASD have sensory difficulties. Certain tastes, noises, smells, or feelings can be intolerable.

What is the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum? ›

“High-functioning autism” isn't an official medical term or diagnosis. It's an informal one some people use when they talk about people with an autism spectrum disorder who can speak, read, write, and handle basic life skills like eating and getting dressed. They can live independently.

How do I stop my autistic child from attacking? ›

Attend the victim: If the child is attacking or teasing other students, keep eyes on the student being targeted. Ask him/her if he/she is OK, fuss over him/her, and pay lots of attention to the child. Ignore the attacking child and talk about the behavior expected from the victim in such cases.

What type of autism causes anger? ›

People with high functioning autism often are aware of their challenges and social deficiencies, sometimes causing repetitive thoughts about this, leading to anger and possible aggression. Knowing how to deal with the anger and help your child find the tools to manage this will bring a sense of harmony and relief.

What medication is used for autism anger? ›

The only medications approved by the FDA for children with autism are Abilify and Risperdal. Both are antipsychotic medications that can help with irritability and aggression. Medication can also be helpful for kids who also have another diagnosis.

At what age is autism worst? ›

A recent study by UC Davis MIND Institute researchers found that the severity of a child's autism symptoms can change significantly between the ages of 3 and 11.

At what age does autism get worse? ›

Autism doesn't get worse with age, but certain symptoms can become more pronounced and problematic as the child grows older and is more challenged.

What is the hardest part of being autistic? ›

Due to the behavioural, information processing and sensory aspects of their diagnosis, many people on the autism spectrum often prefer familiar environments with a predictable routine. Restricted and repetitive interests, sensory processing differences and heightened anxiety can make even small changes stressful.

What does irritability in autism look like? ›

In previous studies of children with ASD, the term 'irritability' was often used to describe severe behavioral difficulties, e.g., verbal and physical aggression, self‐injury or property destruction.

Do autistic people need to be in control? ›

When there is a compromise in the executive functioning of the brain, as is the case for people with autism and other conditions, it can result in impulse control issues. Because of the disruption that impulsive behaviors can cause, treating impulsivity in autism is often a major priority.

What does yelling at an autistic child do? ›

Yelling at children with autism can cause depression and negatively impact the emotional wellbeing of the child. Depression is associated with several negative outcomes, including functional impairments beyond those associated with autism itself and significant burden on the family system (Pezzimenti & et al., 2019).

What happens when an autistic person is overstimulated? ›

For individuals with ASD, overstimulation can feel like an overwhelming flood of sensory input. This can manifest in a variety of ways, including physical discomfort, anxiety, irritability, or even physical pain. Some common signs of autistic overstimulation include: Covering ears or eyes.

What is the difference between dysregulation and tantrums? ›

Dysregulation is a cause for concern. Tantrums are ordinary: children outgrow them, with support. Dysregulation is commonly used with reference to significant mental health concerns.

What is the rumble stage of autism meltdown? ›

The rumble phase is the start of the behaviour, also known as the trigger or antecedent. It is the most important phase because this is the point where the child is building up to the rage phase and there are usually opportunities to defuse the situation.

Can an autistic meltdown be silent? ›

Meltdowns do not always present as aggressive and violent actions. "Shutdowns" are when an autistic person becomes extremely quiet, silent and withdrawn. A shutdown is a form of meltdown where a person becomes extremely still rather than outwardly aggressive.

What is an autistic meltdown like in adults? ›

During a meltdown, we found that most autistics described feeling overwhelmed by information, senses, and social and emotional stress. They often felt extreme emotions, such as anger, sadness, and fear, and had trouble with thinking and memory during the meltdown.

What happens in the brain during an autistic meltdown? ›

Thus, when faced with emotional situations, people with autism do not use their prefrontal cortices to regulate emotions to the same extent as people without autism. This in turn may lead to the "associated symptoms," such as anxiety, tantrums, and irritability, which can be pervasive.

Do autistic people grieve? ›

All people, including children and adults on the autism spectrum, grieve in their own unique ways. Grief can be complex for any of us. It is important to acknowledge that any loss can cause grief. Loss of a favorite toy or routine as well as the loss of a house, school, or family member can be very significant.

How long do autistic meltdowns last? ›

Meltdowns can last from minutes to hours. Meltdowns are not your child's way of manipulating you: Meltdowns are emotional explosions. Your child is overloaded and is incapable of rational thinking.

Why do kids with autism run off? ›

Children with autism may elope for a variety of reasons: Some children elope to get to desired items or places. For example, a child might elope to get to a favorite toy in a store. Children with autism may find it hard to cope with certain everyday situations and may elope to get away from stresses.

Why do autistic people get so tired? ›

Autistic people, however, can be more susceptible to both, due to the pressures of everyday life, having to navigate social situations and sensory overload. Trying to cope with these pressures can lead to exhaustion (autistic fatigue) and over time this can lead to extreme exhaustion or autistic burnout.

What is catatonia in autism? ›

Catatonia is a rare disorder which affects a person's ability to move, speak or respond. If severe, it can lead to life-threatening issues with eating and breathing.

What not to do during an autistic meltdown? ›

During a meltdown: what to do

Give your child space, don't touch them, and keep other people away. Turn down lights and keep things quiet, or give your child noise-cancelling headphones. Let one person speak to your child, but don't say too much. Stay calm and wait.

Do people on the autism spectrum cry a lot? ›

Children on the autism spectrum often keep crying as long as it seems to work for them. When it doesn't, they eventually quit. If they are upset about something, we want them to learn to handle their feelings in more powerful ways.

What does a sensory overload meltdown look like? ›

Meltdowns can come in the form of physical flailing, withdrawing from spaces and events where their peers are present, yelling, crying, kicking and more. Sensory overload can occur just about anywhere, but especially in newer environments where your child is most sensitive to the sensory information they're receiving.

What do autistic adults struggle with? ›

difficulties with high-level language skills such as verbal reasoning, problem solving, making inferences and predictions. problems with understanding another person's point of view. difficulties initiating social interactions and maintaining an interaction.

What is the mildest form of autism? ›

If you still hear people use some of the older terms, you'll want to know what they mean: Asperger's syndrome. This is on the milder end of the autism spectrum. A person with Asperger's may be very intelligent and able to handle their daily life.

What is the new term for high functioning autism? ›

As of 2013, Asperger syndrome and high-functioning autism are no longer terms used by the American Psychological Association, and have instead both been merged into autism spectrum disorder (ASD). As of 2021, the World Health Organization also retired the terms and merged them into autism spectrum disorder.

What is the life expectancy of autistic spectrum? ›

Long-term research that involved following a group of individuals with autism for two decades indicates that the average life expectancy for some autistic people is about 39 years. Furthermore, this population generally succumbed to health complications about 20 years earlier than individuals who do not have autism.

What is the benefit for high functioning autism? ›

Higher intelligence: Many people with HFA are really smart and have a great memory along with a strong vocabulary and ability to think visually. This helps them to think outside the box and be creative problem solvers. Honest and accepting: They'll be honest and tell you the truth.

What level of autism is high functioning autism? ›

ASD is divided into three levels: Level 1. People at this level may have symptoms that don't interfere too much with their work, school, or relationships. This is what most people are referring to when they use the terms high-functioning autism or Asperger's syndrome.

What is a stubborn behavior of autism? ›

It's common for autistic children to behave in challenging ways or ways that are difficult to manage. For example, autistic children and teenagers might: refuse or ignore requests. behave in socially inappropriate ways, like taking their clothes off in public.

What not to say to someone with high functioning autism? ›

5 things to NEVER say to someone with Autism:
  • “Don't worry, everyone's a little Autistic.” No. ...
  • “You must be like Rainman or something.” Here we go again… not everyone on the spectrum is a genius. ...
  • “Do you take medication for that?” This breaks my heart every time I hear it. ...
  • “I have social issues too. ...
  • “You seem so normal!
Dec 13, 2017

How severe are behavior problems in people with autism? ›

Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism, are at increased risk for engaging in problem behavior such as self-injury, aggression, and property destruction. When these behaviors are intense and frequent, they can significantly impair a child's functioning.

What triggers autistic meltdowns? ›

What triggers autistic meltdowns?
  • Sensory overload or understimulation. This is when a child is sensitive to sound, touch, taste, smell, visuals or movements.
  • Changes in routine or dealing with an unexpected change. ...
  • Anxiety or anxious feelings.
  • Being unable to describe what they need or want.

What might trigger a meltdown in an autistic person? ›

Because they are triggered by sensory overload, a child on the spectrum having a meltdown can have a few defining characteristics. Autistic meltdown symptoms may: Start with pre-meltdown signs called “rumblings” which can be verbal or physical behaviors that signal an imminent meltdown. Be preceded with stimming.

Can autistic meltdowns be caused by stress? ›

But it's not entirely new: Some researchers point out that children with autism can have meltdowns or lose skills when overwhelmed by the demands of a difficult environment.

What happens when an autistic person gets angry? ›

Angry behaviors typical of autism include: Having a meltdown with crying and shouting. Trying to escape the situation, which may potentially put the child in danger. Exhibit aggressive behaviors towards others such as biting, smashing, hitting, kicking, or scratching.

How do you calm an autistic child during a tantrum? ›

Allowing your child a safe space to calm down will also mean changing the amount of sensory input they are exposed to. Keep yourself calm, help them become grounded by using appropriate eye contact, limit the verbal language you use, and offer deep touch pressure input to help your child calm down.

What are signs of trauma in autistic people? ›

Children with ASD are more likely to be bullied than children without disabilities, and repeated bullying can produce trauma. Other potentially traumatic experiences include neglect and witnessing violence. Symptoms of trauma can include losing sleep or having flashbacks or anxiety about the experience.

What does an autistic episode feel like? ›

Meltdowns are similar to the fight response. When an autistic person is having a meltdown they often have increased levels of anxiety and distress which are often interpreted as frustration, a 'tantrum' or an aggressive panic attack.

Do autistic meltdowns ever stop? ›

It doesn't last long but once triggered, there's no stopping it. Meltdowns are emotional avalanches that run their course whether you or the autistic person having it likes it or not.

What is the best mood stabilizer for autism? ›

Lithium is another option for children and adolescents with ASD who present with symptoms of a mood disorder, such as elevated moods/euphoria, mania, and paranoia, whether accompanied or not by irritability.

What is autism often misdiagnosed as? ›

ASD often presents early but can be difficult to diagnose in some cases. There are other brain disorders that mimic autism symptoms, like ADHD and anxiety disorders, including selective mutism. Autism can be misdiagnosed as another disorder with some shared symptoms.

Do autists hold grudges? ›

Many autists hold grudges for longer than is considered socially acceptable. This may be the result of: a strong long-term memory, RSD, PTSD and “time blindness”. We may: find it hard to forget others' actions, be more affected by them and not get the “time to let it go” feeling.


1. What are Tantrums meltdown & Burst out in Autism?How to manage it at home?Understand Autism
2. Why AUTISM Communication Issues Create ANGER Problems (MUST WATCH)
(The Aspie World)
3. Helping Parents and Therapists Cope with Autism Spectrum Disorder | Susan Sherkow | TEDxYouth@LFNY
(TEDx Talks)
4. How to Discipline a Child with Autism
(Cutting Edge Pediatric Therapy)
5. Autistic Meltdowns: What to do?
(Autism Explained)
6. Handling Aggressive Behavior in Children with Autism
(Mary Barbera - Turn Autism Around)


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