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High-functioning Autism And Anger

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Practice Point: Encourage Patients To Take Scheduled Breaks Throughout The Day

Anger-Control Techniques for Kids on the Autism Spectrum

Rumination about prior events is common in individuals with ASDs. Many times, without training, removing themselves from situations and taking breaks are not helpful as they continue to think about the prior event and become more upset instead of calming down. Having them take scheduled breaks with planned activities is very helpful. Planned breaks allow for the pairing of relaxation with break times and, therefore, can assist in teaching the body to relax during these breaks. Planning breaks also gives them a plan to follow when they are upset and frustrated.9

Too Many Things Going On Simultaneously

Children and adults can be overwhelmed when forced to perform too many tasks all at once.

Frustration is the first response, then anger, and eventually lashing out at themselves or anyone else in the vicinity. The overwhelming sensation isnât easy for them to deal with.

Having to do more than one task could be aggravating, particularly when combined with other tasks that are unfamiliar to them.

Parents need to remember that children with ASD enjoy repetition, things that they know and are familiar with.

When a new task is added, coping with them might be too much for them to handle, at least without therapy.

Dealing With Aggressive Outbursts From Autistic Children And Teenagers

You probably cant prevent every outburst from your autistic child. So its important for you to have some strategies to deal with the aggressive behaviour when it happens.

Stay calm This is the first and most important thing. Most aggressive outbursts happen because your child has feelings building up and cant communicate them. By managing your own feelings and staying calm and quiet, you wont add your emotions to the mix.

Limit what you say During an outburst your child will be feeling very stressed. Its hard to process what someone else is saying when youre feeling stressed, and this is especially true for autistic children, who can have trouble understanding language.

So it can help if you dont say too much. Aim for short phrases or even just a couple of words for example, Sit down rather than Lachlan, come over here and sit down.

Move your child to a safer place For everyones safety, make sure your child isnt 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. You might also need to get other people to move out of the way for safety.

Consider visual cues Visual cues can help in these situations. For example, you might have a picture of a quiet place in your home that your child can go to.

Also Check: Can A Person With Autism Lead A Normal Life

Ways To Manage Anger In Children With High Functioning Autism

One study looked at children with ASD who did not have any intellectual disability in relation to the Collaborative and Proactive Solutions . CPS, formerly Collaborative Problem Solving, is used to help children with oppositional defiance disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder with their challenging behaviors.

Parents and children work together to change how they view and solve certain problems by changing the mindset from what a child wont do to what they cant do. When a parent sees that certain environmental demands dont coincide with their childs delayed skills, they learn to identify which skills are delayed and decide which problems are most important on which to focus. Then parents learn how to discuss this with their child, and both parent and child learn how to understand the other persons issues while coming up with a solution. This allows both parties to discuss what the child would do if they did have the resources to be able to follow through on the task.

A controlled trial showed that this treatment is very helpful for children with ODD, ages 7 to 14, if they participated in a given number of follow-up sessions. The trial did not focus on children with autism spectrum disorder, even though the skills that are focused on in CPS are, according to the American Psychiatric Association , the same ones that children with ASD are deficient in and could cause anger or challenging behavior.

Complementary And Alternative Medicine Treatments

My Aspergers Child: High

To relieve the symptoms of ASD, some parents and healthcare professionals use treatments that are outside of what is typically recommended by pediatricians. These treatments are known as complementary and alternative medicine treatments. CAM treatments refer to products or services that are used in addition to or instead of traditional medicine. They might include special diets, dietary supplementsexternal icon, chelation , biologicals , or mind-body medicine .

Many of these treatments have not been studied for effectiveness moreover, a review of studies on chelation found some evidence of harm and no evidence to indicate it is effective in treating children with ASD . Current research shows that as many as one-third of parents of children with ASD may have tried CAM treatments, and up to 10% may be using a potentially dangerous treatment . Before starting such a treatment, talk to your childs doctor.

To learn more about CAM therapies for ASD, go to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicines Autismexternal icon webpage. The FDA has information about potentially dangerous treatments hereexternal icon.

Also Check: Why Vaccines Dont Cause Autism

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Autism And Anxiety In Adults: Next Steps

1Rosenn, Daniel. Is It Aspergers or ADHD?. Aspergers/ Autism Network. .

2Sarris, Marina. Anxietys Toll on People with Autism. Interactive Autism Network .

3Sarris, Marina. Anxietys Toll on People with Autism. Interactive Autism Network .

4Burchi, Elisabetta, Hollander, Eric. Anxiety in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

5Sarris, Marina. What Anxiety Treatments Work for People With Autism. Interactive Autism Network

6Burchi, Elisabetta, Hollander, Eric. Anxiety in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

7Anxiety in Autistic Adults. National Autistic Society.

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Awkward Interactions With Peers

Even children with high-functioning autism display problems when interacting with peers. Adults working closely with kids may notice this through their play behaviors.

These children have major deficits in communicating with those outside their limited social circle. This makes it difficult for them to form new relationships.

For toddlers, it might be that they have a problem with sharing toys. For teens, it might be difficulty completing group work assignments. This presents a challenge for peers who dont quite understand the person with autism. And when the autistic person cant explain these feelings, it intensifies the awkwardness.

Read Also: How To Decrease Scripting In Autism

Understanding High Functioning Autism And Anger Autism Parenting Magazine

Many individuals with autism spectrum disorder face challenges that can lead to frustration and anger, but is there a link between high functioning autism and anger or aggression? If so, how can parents help teach their child to regulate those angry emotions and manage them in daily life?

What is high functioning autism?

High functioning autism has a lot of the same characteristics as aspergers, although HFA isnt a diagnosis or a medical terminology. People who are on the spectrum and are able to handle daily skills such as eating and dressing, while also being able to read, write, and speak are generally considered to be higher functioning. Once the American Psychiatric Association combined all of the disorders relating to autism under one umbrella heading called autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, the term aspergers was no longer used.

Read more at:

High Functioning Autism Symptoms

A Higher Functioning Form Of Autism | Cuan Weijer | TEDxDunLaoghaire
  • Fixation on Particular Subjects or Ideas
  • Linguistic Oddities
  • Development of Repetitive or Restrictive Habits
  • Dislike of Change
  • Focus on Self
  • Unusual Movement Patterns

Diagnosis rates for autism continue to rise, especially as parents and professionals become more familiar with the symptoms of high-functioning autism. Many patients are getting the assistance they need to live full, productive lives because their unusual behaviors are no longer seen as simple social awkwardness or eccentricity. As more caring medical and mental health professionals learn to recognize the most common symptoms of autism, the number of interventions available to people with autism will rise.

See Also: What are the 10 Most Common Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder ?

Also Check: What Are The Types Of Autism

Dealing With Someone Elses Tantrum

When someone you care about has tantrums or meltdowns, you might wonder how to best offer support or de-escalate the situation.

First, try to keep calm. This might be difficult if they seem to want to provoke you. If they say unkind things, you might begin to feel hurt and angry yourself.

Maybe they show their rage with the silent treatment adult tantrums dont always involve kicking and screaming.

Though being ignored might infuriate you, resist the temptation to blow up at them. Instead, take a few deep breaths, even a short break, before you try to respond.

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Using Aba Therapy To Manage Anger

ABA is a provable treatment for anyone of any age that has autism. The treatment can lower aggression in patients, including small children.

The treatment and frequency of visits can change according to whatâs needed for the child, or the parentâs preferred schedule.

Other therapies are sometimes used alongside ABA. But on its own, it doesnât fall within any other types of spectrum-related treatments.

Using positive reinforcement to better mold a childâs development and ability to learn, ABA therapy teaches them how to adapt to the world around them and handle situations that obstruct or interrupt repetitive things they enjoy.

It can reduce or stop aggression in kids, help them learn how to communicate, and make them more sociable around their peers.

Read Also: Is Autism A Mental Disability

Causes Of Anger In High

Sensory overload

Autistic children get easily overwhelmed by sensory inputs and those with high-functioning autism are no exception. Anger outbursts and aggressive behaviors are sometimes simply immediate reactions to the feeling of physical discomfort that is caused by sensory overload.

Changes in routine

High-functioning autistic children may become distressed when they face new situations. The feelings of confusion and helplessness, accompanied by increased stress and anxiety levels due to change in routine, may result in a meltdown.

Being overwhelmed by multiple tasks

Children with high-functioning autism can get overwhelmed when you ask them to perform several tasks at the same time, especially when these tasks need prioritizing or when a new task interrupts their routine. These situations may lead to frustration and subsequent anger outbursts.

Other peoples behavior

Behaviors of other people are another contributing factor when it comes to anger in children on the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum. For example, they may be offended by insensitive comments or being ignored, all of which may trigger aggressive behavior.

Intolerance of imperfections in others

Angry behavior among autistic children may be caused by what they perceive as imperfections in other people, for example, a fast speaking pace or a high-pitched voice.

Stress and anxiety

Anger ruminations

Impulse control issues

Medical issues

Peer Support For Autistic Individuals

5 Reasons Symptoms of High

Peer support and advocacy are key for autistic individuals. Those looking to connect with organizations run by and for autistic people can refer to the Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network and the Asperger/Autism Network.

These organizations include information about getting diagnosed, treatment options, advocacy, and social support for autistic people and their loved ones.

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What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder is a neurodevelopmental disability that causes social, behavioral and communication challenges. Autism affects approximately one in every fifty-nine children in the United States. Symptoms vary widely from patient to patient.

Importance of Autism Awareness and Support

If you are looking for support services for children with Autism in Little Rock, knowing where in the Spectrum your child falls is important to finding appropriate care. Children with HFA tend to have very few intellectual challenges, and their IQ is usually above 70. Your child may score normally or above average on an IQ test and perform well in school, but she could still be autistic. Because children with HFA can have an above-average IQ and no intellectual challenges, High Functioning Autism awareness tends to be low. With little to no support for these children, they often become emotionally distressed.

Causes of Autism

The causes of autism have not been discovered, but doctors suggest the condition originates from structural underdevelopment of specific regions of the brain. There is no cure for ASD, but with therapeutic treatment for autism, your child can live a normal and fulfilling life. Knowing what to look for goes a long way in helping a child with autism receive the support they need.

Is Autistic Anger The Same As Tantrums

Autistic anger is not a tantrum, although it may look very similar. Temper tantrums in neurotypical children are often manipulative and motivated by a desire to obtain something. However, autistic meltdowns and angry outbursts are impulsive without any reasoning behind them. They are a sign that the child is no longer able to cope with the challenging situation, whether its sensory overload or an unexpected situation.

Below, we list some of the most common reasons why high-functioning autistic children may experience anger.

Read Also: Behavioral Interventions For Adhd

Practice Point: Teach Patients To Identify And Manage Frustration

Irritability and low frustration tolerance are common interfering symptoms in individuals with ASDs. Individuals with ASDs also have deficits in theory of mind. That is, they often have difficulty interpreting a situation from another person’s point of view.2 Thus, they see only their way of doing things as the correct way and often get angry when others have opposing views and ideas. Individuals with ASDs often become stressed by things that may not upset a neurotypical individual or their level of emotional response may seem exaggerated. Further, their inability to interpret their own emotions makes it difficult for them to leave a situation or find a solution prior to blowing up. Deficits in problem solving and social skills further complicate this issue, so even if they can identify that they are becoming upset, they have difficulty deciding how to handle it appropriately.3

There are multiple techniques that can be taught to help individuals with ASDs deal with stress and frustration. This article discusses several techniques that we used with this patient.

Special Considerations For High Functioning Students With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Restrictive and Repetitive Behaviors in High Functioning Autism | Enilda Clinic

These days, more than half the students diagnosed with ASD function within the normal range of cognition and have acquired basic spoken language skills . These students with high functioning autism may show high achievement in some areas, but they will almost always have deficits in pragmatic aspects of language, in social skills, and peer interactions . Many high functioning students with ASD, as well, have difficulty with executive functioning and with understanding and producing narratives in which much of the plot is driven by characters internal states, plans, and goals. As SLPs, it falls within our scope of practice to work on addressing these communication difficulties.

Many of the interventions we have discussed for adolescents with LLD are appropriate for those with ASD, as well. As weve seen, students with HFA often have special difficulty with narratives . Robinson and Westby suggest work on inferencing in narrative as an approach likely to address a range of needs in this population. They suggest using inference and internal state charts as visual supports for helping students use evidence in the story to identify characters feelings and to draw conclusions about intentions underlying actions in stories. Examples can be seen in Figure 14.21.

Paige M. Ryan, Thompson E. Davis, in, 2017

Also Check: What Does High Functioning Autism Look Like

Our Best Strategies For Dealing With Autism And Anger

Have you ever wondered about autism spectrum disorder and its relationship to anger? What can cause anger outbursts in children with autism? How can we help children with autism deescalate from anger? We will answer these questions and more, but first, lets consider autism symptoms.

The symptoms related to autism spectrum disorder vary greatly among individuals. In addition, these symptoms fall along a spectrum, with some children demonstrating more severe symptoms compared to others. Generally speaking, individuals with autism will experiences some degree of the following symptoms:

  • Language difficulties-including language delays and repetition of specific words or phrases
  • Learning difficulties
  • Trouble with attention and problem-solving
  • Emotional difficulties, including depression, anger, and anxiety

Anger is often an emotion that is associated with autism spectrum disorder. Most children with autism do not express their anger in the same way as typically-developing peers. This anger can be directed towards others, or towards themselves . Anger may manifest into aggression and could include hitting, kicking, biting, or throwing objects.

There are several reasons children with autism may experience intense anger or aggression, including:

August 28, 2020 by Dr. Tasha Oswald

The Way People Behave Around Them

Kids with autism show sensitivity to many things, so comments about them that are made by their peers might be taken as offensive.

Even while some of what they say could be innocuous humor, it might come across the wrong way.

Lashing out may occur, either to the person directing the comment or to the people closest to them.

People ignoring them when theyâre trying to say or do something can also lead to this, no matter if itâs accidentally or intentionally done.

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Modifications That Support Learning For A Wide Range Of Students

It would be extremely inappropriate for a teacher to share a students private diagnosis with their classmates. However, there are ways to encourage social interaction that support all students and do not require identifying an individual student or their specific needs. These include:

  • Simplifying language and class plans
  • Keeping a visual schedule
  • Flagging transitions
  • Individualizing lesson plans when needed

These modifications help students with HFA or AS and also enhance learning for sensory integration disorder children or others who may need concrete support mechanisms. Creating small circles of support or partnerships can help all students avoid bullying and practice empathy. The social connections that come from small groups tend to break down bullying behavior and support peer connection.

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