While some people with autism merely yell or stamp, many really do become overwhelmed by their own emotions. 3 Bolting, hitting, self-abuse, crying, and screaming are all possibilities. These can be particularly frightening—and even dangerous—when the autistic individual is physically large.
Noisy environments, too many people around, or annoying people can be unbearable for children. Therefore, children scream to warn and denounce. For many autistic children, shouting is also understood as protest when the child is not satisfied.
When a child with autism is overwhelmed, they know no other way to express it other than with a meltdown.It might involve screaming, crying, etc. or kicking, biting, hitting, etc. That is why these behaviours are often confused with temper tantrums as the behaviour and reactions are the same.
Many of the behaviors that are typical of children on the autism spectrum might be deemed problems in other kids. For example: Kids with autism may screech or yell when overwhelmed or frustrated. Some autistic children bolt from the room, hit others, or even injure themselves when upset.
Why am I getting into so many arguments and conflicts with my autistic child? Many autistic children love to argue and need to have the last word. Autistic children often find it distressing to not be 'right'; this is due in part to the need to look 'perfect' to protect their self-esteem.
It was perhaps to be expected, then, when researchers found autistic people to often be controlling and bossy (Baron-Cohen, 2008), with an intense and narrow focus on the goals or interests that preoccupy them (see Bryson, 2005; Smith et al., 2009), and ofttimes extremely persistent (Gillberg, 2002).
High-functioning autism and the rage cycle
The rage cycle consists of three stages: The rumbling stage or the anger build-up stage includes repetitive behaviors such as rocking and pacing, covering ears with hands, suddenly becoming very tense, and threatening others.
Autistic children and teenagers need support to recognise overwhelmed feelings and know what to do. Help autistic children and teenagers avoid meltdowns by stepping in when they start to get agitated. During a meltdown, stay calm, give children space, avoid saying too much, and wait.
Strategies to consider include distraction, diversion, helping the person use calming strategies such as fiddle toys or listening to music, removing any potential triggers, and staying calm yourself.
Aggression in autism can involve severe tantrums, anger, hostility, sudden-onset violent outbursts including self-harm and rage 'episodes'. Up to 20% of individuals with autism exhibit such violent behaviours.
We autistic people can't always control our voices so we can speak too loudly or softly and use incorrect pitch tone and speed. Talking normally can require a lot of conscious effort.
The high-functioning person with autism is not a manipulative, scheming person who is trying to make life difficult. They are seldom, if ever, capable of being manipulative. Usually misbehavior is the result of efforts to survive experiences which may be confusing, disorienting, or frightening.
Autistic people may: find it hard to communicate and interact with other people. find it hard to understand how other people think or feel. find things like bright lights or loud noises overwhelming, stressful or uncomfortable.
When a child with autism is overwhelmed, he/she knows no other way to express it other than with a meltdown. This might involve emotional verbal outbursts such as screaming and crying or physical reactions like kicking, biting or hitting.
They may stand too close or talk too loudly to others, who may see their behavior as odd or inappropriate. Physical symptoms. They may have delayed motor skills and be clumsy when they try to ride a bike or play with others.
Forms Of Anger & Aggression
Here are some of the most common forms of anger and aggression expressed by autistic children: Hitting and kicking – Tantrums may involve hitting at parents or others nearby, even when they're not aware of it. Hitting can be from either the hands or feet.
Examples of vocal stims include the following:
Making or mimicking sounds. Groaning or grunting. Squealing or shrieking. Shouting, yelling, or screaming.
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.
Children with autism are often unaware of their behaviors and struggle with reading the body language of others. Yelling at a child with autism can cause chronic levels of stress in the child and is not helpful in working towards a solution or strategy for change.
Kids with sensory issues sometimes exhibit extreme behaviors: screaming if their faces get wet, throwing violent tantrums when you try to get them dressed, because the physical sensations involved are overwhelming to them. They may have surprisingly wild mood swings as a reaction to a change in the environment.
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.
In the general population, young children often become less aggressive as they get older and learn better ways to express themselves. But for some with autism, aggression persists through the teen years into adulthood.
Individuals with autism spectrum disorders have deficits in communication, social interactions, and emotional regulation and exhibit repetitive behaviors. These individuals can become very reactive to their environment and at times may engage in emotional outbursts.
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.