5 Reasons Why Autistic People Have Behavioral Problems

5 Reasons Why Autistic People Have Behavioral Problems

People on the autism spectrum have a unique perspective on the world.

It's possible that many autistic behaviors don't make intuitive sense to you since they don't appear to serve any obvious function.

Yet, by shifting your focus to these behaviors in a new way, you may notice hints you missed and figure out how to aid them in a better manner.

Although therapy for autism can help improve their behavior, autistic people still need all the support possible from family and friends.

Some people with special needs have trouble expressing their emotions and needs, which can lead to challenging behavior.

If they are being overloaded with sensory input, an autistic person may react by acting out.

As this sensory overload will cause them to react, this is another reason why autistic people have behavioral problems.

Like everyone else, an autistic person may become irritable if they are hungry, fatigued, or thirsty.

Unusual behavior could readily be explained by lack of sleep or tiredness.

Read on to learn about reasons why autistic people have behavioral problems.

Autism Therapists in Colorado

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Melissa Johnston, LPC

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Sarah Munk, LPC

Sarah Munk, LPC

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Jennifer Luttman, LPC, ACS

Jennifer Luttman, LPC, ACS

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Difficulty Communicating Their Needs 

It is not surprising that autism impacts a person's capacity to communicate, given the severity of their social deficiencies.

After all, verbal and nonverbal communication is social.

It will be difficult for you to learn to speak and to do so naturally if you have a tendency to avoid looking at faces, listening to human voices, etc.

Additionally, it will be challenging for you to learn how to use nonverbal cues like body language, facial expressions, and others that are standard in your language.

As a result, autistic people could exhibit behavior problems that will make it hard for them to participate successfully in family and school activities.

Individuals with ASD need to utilize language to express needs and reply to inquiries.

This explains why their frustration at not being able to communicate with others might result in behavioral outbursts.

These actions can take a variety of forms, including physical aggression, self-harming, or obnoxious vocalizations.

When there are process breakdowns and their needs aren't being addressed, these challenging behaviors are thought to be a way for the kids to communicate.

Sensory Overload

A person experiences sensory overload when one or more of their senses are overstimulated to the point where they become overwhelmed.

People with autism spectrum disorders may have extremely sensitive sensory systems and be sensitive to their surroundings

A person with autism is nearly always going to react to sound, light, smells, and touch, either too much or too little.

It's possible that the scent of a relative's perfume or body lotion is what causes a person to flee from them.

People who despise hugs may express discomfort with hugs.

Also, something as simple as the buzz from fluorescent lights or a ringing doorbell can be a sensory difficulty for an autistic person.

Additionally, sensory issues could cause "misbehavior" in a packed or noisy restaurant or when crammed close to others when standing in a line.


Children with autism may experience sleep issues.

The likelihood of behavioral issues increases if an autistic youngster experiences sleep problems.

A lack of sufficient, high-quality sleep or exhaustion from an activity or circumstance is one of the reasons why autistic people have behavioral problems.

If they awaken at night and find it difficult to go back to sleep, this is more likely to occur.

Sleep deprivation has been associated with an increase in both internalizing and externalizing issues.

These include tantrums, oppositional behavior, physical aggression, irritability, self-harm, depression, anxiety, mood swings, inattention, and hyperactivity.

Autistic children with behavioral problems are more inclined to harm others.

However, older children and teenagers are more prone to harm themselves, particularly if they have difficulty communicating.

Also, it has been demonstrated that talking, social skills, and daily living abilities are all improved in kids and teenagers who get enough sleep.

Laying a bed, getting dressed, and preparing food are examples of life skills.

Pain or Illness

Expressing discomfort or suffering can be challenging for autistic people due to their communication difficulties.

It may be hard for an autistic person to explain how they feel even though they are in severe pain or are ill.

Due to their inability to express their suffering, they may withdraw or act strangely.

For example, if they start biting other people or themselves, it may be a sign of distress due to jaw, tooth, or mouth pain.

To rule out any medical conditions, they can see a doctor.

You can offer medicines or other treatments for physical suffering.

Another thing that can be done is removing distracting sensory input, such as by blocking out noise with earplugs and blocking out light using eyeglasses.

Being unable to express pain or illness is one of the reasons why autistic people have behavioral problems.

New Environments or Routines 

People with autism tend to have a strong preference for and adherence to routines.

An autistic person's behavior can be severely impacted by any kind of abrupt shift to their schedule or disruption to their routine.

Due to the manner in which people with autism receive information, any negative responses may be the result of a delayed reaction to something that occurred earlier.

So it's possible something happened a while ago, and then they are reacting to it much later.

For example, screaming, temper tantrums, pushing, and even physical violence could be negative reactions.

When this happens, sometimes it might be difficult to console them at times.

This is because changes to a person's habit might cause them to feel stressed, afraid, and anxious, which can lead to extreme reactions like these.


There is a reason behind every action.

Through therapy for autism, you can put methods in place to help the autistic person overcome behavior that might be affecting them and those around them.

Five reasons why autistic people have behavioral problems include difficulty communicating their needs, sensory overload, exhaustion or lack of sleep, pain or illness, and changes to routine or new environments.


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July 17th, 2024

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