When people use the word aggression it can mean a lot of things. A salesman in his advertisement to your driving anything can be aggression. Any intense pursuit of achieving your goal can also be aggression. Speaking in context – a behavior that is aimed at harming oneself or another person can be seen as aggression – it can be physical or even verbal. The trait is always or usually seen in people with autism and tends to be seen as their usual way of communication. Read to learn more about Autism and how the condition looks in adults and in children.
However, aggression when left unharnessed in autistic people can even lead them to put their own lives and of their caregivers and siblings in danger. Hence, parents and caregivers need to be extra vigilant around triggering elements and need to be well equipped to handle a tantrum.
To begin with, we need to define what they do when they get aggressive. When and where does the aggression occur and when is it that it never occurs. And how often does it occur? Our team at Brainnovation aims to understand each child, their traits, and what suits them the best. We use this information to provide them with the most safe and comfortable environment built to help them cope up and thrive to their utmost capacity.
Understanding generally, why autistic people get aggressive.
The first step in managing and changing aggressive or self-injurious behavior is understanding why it happens.
- The most important fact to remember is that they never intend to hurt anyone. Autistic people can be the sweetest people, who are not always able to gain self-control and the easiest way they find to communicate is by displaying anger.
What they feel like communicating may be things like –
- They are having trouble understanding what’s happening around them – for example, what other people are saying or communicating non-verbally
- They are feeling very anxious and stressed
- Are having sensory sensitivities, like an oversensitivity to noise or a need for stimulation
- Wanting to escape from stressful situations or activities.
- Other than a way of communication, biological reasons also explain their sudden outbursts of aggression. Glucose levels in the brain are huge influencers of mood. There is a noticeable relation between low glucose levels and self-control. With low levels, people have more difficulty controlling their attention, regulating their emotions, and overriding their aggressive impulses. Some evidence suggests that low glucose levels might even increase the risk of violent criminal behavior. This understanding can help us predict aggression in autistic people.
- Sleep deprivation is also one of the reasons that trigger sudden outbursts. Sleep disturbances, namely insomnia, are common in children with autism. When a child sleeps poorly night after night, they are more likely to experience intensified autism symptoms including severe social impairment, which can create even more frustration and lead to aggressive behavior.
- Cognitive inflexibility is also one of the catalysts for aggression. Getting stuck on one or related thoughts and the tendency to dwell on negative or angry feelings is common among children with autism. They can cause aggressive behavior when a child talks or thinks about the same negative thing repeatedly.
- Social anxiety – Children with autism may exhibit aggressive behaviors if they feel anxious about something they can’t or don’t know how to communicate. Social interactions, especially with strangers who are not aware of things that disturb them, can potentially trigger aggression and tantrums.
After understanding the reasons why people with autism become aggressive, we can prepare strategies to deal with the behavior when it occurs if not totally prevent it.
- Stay calm
Most outbursts are because of mixed up emotions that are not conveyed properly, by staying calm, we can ensure that our emotions are not taking the best of us and can help us focus on the immediate person in need.
- Weigh each word, say what is absolutely needed.
It is generally easy to misunderstand what you hear when you are in stress. Autistic people already having difficulty processing language must be on the verge of stress levels during an outburst, the chances are high of being misunderstood and further triggering. Aim for shorter phrases.
- Move your child to a safer place.
For everyone’s safety, make sure your child isn’t close to anything that could be harmful – for example, shelves that could fall over or glass objects. A quiet enclosed space outside might be an option. In extreme cases, you might also need to get other people to move out of the way for safety.
- When possible, ask the person who calms them the most to intervene and negotiate.
Sometimes autistic people have that one comforting figure who can tackle their emotions and calm them down, you might want to delegate the matter to them.
Our expert and dedicated trainers are well equipped with such strategies, and are proven to be that one comforting point every autistic child and adult needs. They tailor each program according to their type of Autism and train them, mentor them and befriend them accordingly. Brainnovation is not only a place for education and intellectual training, but a haven for each mind that needs to be patiently understood and appreciated.
- Stay calm