Parents of children with autism might be wondering what the experts say regarding the reasons why their children act in a particular, exceptional way. What is behind the typical head banging or the hand flapping? Why do they appear to be socially withdrawn? What are the explanations behind their other manifestations?
It was found through research that the brains of children with autism are not “wired” the same way as those with the regular kids’ brain. The world is perceived by an individual based on the way his brain interprets the different sensory stimuli. Everything that a person sees, hears, smells, tastes or feels are recognized and interpreted by the brain. However, for children with autism, the brain interprets the world in a different way. For example, sounds that are not too loud for the regular person may be perceived as irritatingly loud for someone with autism. This phenomenon is known as sensory integration disorder.
Sensory integration disorder may explain a lot why children with autism act in very unusual ways. These are some of the most common stereotypical behavior observed in children with autism:
1. Children with autism have routine preferences. They might have a preference for a specific type of food or clothing. This is because only this particular type is acceptable by their sensation. Children with autism may be very particular with textures of food and clothing that is introduced to them. They can easily detect even the slightest difference to their preferred texture.
2. Children with autism usually manifests hand flapping, head banging or the need to jump in place. It is explained that the child does this because he is “wanting to feel the sensation of movement and position”.
3. Children with autism often throws tantrums. It may be because what is moderate or modulated by a regular person may be very irritating to these children. There can be a lot of ordinary visual or auditory stimulations in the environment that can already be very annoying to children with autism.
Aside from sensory integration disorder, autism is also characterized by impairments in speech, which can be an additional frustration to the child. The child may have difficulty in expressing what he wants to other people. Some children with autism may have delayed speech development or worse, others may even remain non-verbal. Another thing, these children also have impairments in social skills. Thus, they can also be very socially withdrawn.
Children with autism can actually act in very unusual ways. But knowing that there are reasons behind their atypical behavior, makes a parent or teacher more understanding and patient, even when already frustrated.