Many autistic people are reported to have challenging or disruptive behaviours. But these are such vague terms that it is important to understand what they mean.
For some people, the term is wide-ranging and refers to anything an individual may do which is inappropriate. So it can include problems as diverse as refusing food, staying awake all night, wetting the bed, removing clothes in public or flicking fingers. Of course, what seems inappropriate to one person may seem perfectly reasonable to someone else.
For some people, the term refers only to those behaviours which are likely to cause significant harm to the individual or to his or her carers. So it is restricted to problems such as aggression, self injury, throwing tantrums or wandering off unsupervised. Again, what seems to be challenging or harmful to one person may seem perfectly reasonable to someone else.
Some people on the autism spectrum claim that they don’t have challenging behaviours, they just behave differently to everybody else. In their view, ‘neuro-typical’ people are just as likely to behave strangely, for example by using idioms that people with autism can’t understand.
Please see the Issues page for a list of specific issues
Please see the Advanced version of this page for more information about this issue, including relevant research studies and interventions which may help.
The Research Autism Lorna Wing series of conferences and seminars present
Autism and challenging behaviour – it doesn’t have to be like this
Date: Wednesday 27th June 2012, 8.45am – 4.30pm | Venue: Ambassadors Hotel, London, W1
Last Updated : 26/04/2013 Back to Top