Autism Anger Management

Autism spectrum disorder is most often characterized by challenges surrounding social interaction and communication, as well as restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior or interest.

However, research shows that aggression rates may be higher among individuals with autism compared to those living with other developmental disabilities.

If your child with autism has been experiencing aggressive, anger-driven meltdowns, the best thing you can do is become educated. You can then create an action plan that helps your child and family thrive.

How to Help a Child with Autism Who Expresses Anger

Several studies have found a link between autism and anger. A study published in Research in 

Autism Spectrum Disorders reported that one in four children with autism display aggressive behaviors. Another study found that pathways to aggression often involve social anxiety and anger rumination. Although the participants in this study did not have autism, both pathways are classic features of autism.

If your child is often angry and lashes out, it’s normal to be concerned. You may fear that your child will hurt themselves or someone else.

To help your child, there are steps you can take.

Early intervention is important for both you and your child. The more you understand, the more supportive you can be.

Some common autism anger management techniques include:

  • Remaining calm, especially since children with autism often have angry outbursts when they are feeling overwhelmed and cannot express themselves. By remaining calm and controlling your emotions, you can prevent the situation from escalating. 
  • Limiting what you say, as your child with autism will feel highly stressed. Since children with autism often struggle to understand language, it’s helpful to say as little as possible during these times, using short phrases. For example, “sit down” instead of “Gary, come over to the living room and sit down.
  • Recognize triggers so that you can prevent outbursts, especially when triggers are sensory. Look for obvious signs and behaviors. For example, if your child clenches their fists before they get upset, you could suggest whatever calming activity works for them before a full meltdown happens.

Anger Management Activities for Autism

Autism anger control requires structure. No one knows your child better than you, which is why you need to create structure in their life. This will help them feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible. For example, some parents find that their child needs alone time to recharge, whereas others benefit from visual supports or relaxing activities. 

Practicing anger management activities is an important coping mechanism. That is why you must work on these activities when your child is calm and receptive. Some children love to walk in nature, which can lead to daily yoga or deep breathing sessions. Research shows that yoga helps improve negative behavior, including aggression. Since yoga often plays to the strengths of children with autism while reducing stress, it encourages children to be calm, focused, and more willing to learn.

Arts and crafts are another relaxing activity that allows children to express themselves. If your child cannot verbally express how they feel, ask them to draw their feelings. Here are some art therapy activities to try.

Regardless of the activity, the key is remaining empathetic, patient, and supportive.

The Pingree Center of Autism Can Help

The Pingree Center provides state-of-the-art support for children and adolescents with autism. Providing children with comprehensive treatment, education, and the resources they need to thrive, the Pingree center of autism helps children with autism become the best versions of themselves. Although we are recognized as the premier autism center in Utah, our doors are open to children nationwide. This has allowed us to build a strong community.

Please contact our knowledgeable and passionate staff to learn more today!