Compulsive rituals, phobias and anxiety, that are usually related to fear, are more common to occur in children with autism. The interesting result of the studies have revealed that children with autism have rated high in the area, of having compulsive rituals, phobias and anxiety.
They appear to experience more phobias and fears, that has been challenged, by their surroundings and a combination of circumstances, but they also seem to have fewer fears of harm or self-injury to themselves. For example, banging their head on hard concrete, or a wooden floor, hitting themselves, biting themselves, and sometimes finding sharp objects that can puncture or wound themselves. This kind of behavior does not seem to alarm them.
As a parent or caregiver, there are concerns for some of the problematic behaviors displayed by individuals with the disorder of autism. Some of the children, related to their anxiety by having anger outbursts, and temper tantrums. Some other children, display compulsive rituals, that include holding and twirling a string back and forth in front of their face, washing spoons in water over and over again, watching the water drip and drip with the faucet on, and watching a DVD over and over again, without realizing that they may have watched it twenty times within a short period of time.
In addition, the child may learn a new word and repeat it over and over again, without knowing what it means or using it for the wrong purpose. The other concern is, self-injury that many autistic children do to themselves and seem to feel no pain or express it. This can be a result of compulsive rituals, phobias and anxiety.
What causes these compulsive rituals, phobias and anxiety? Most of the time they are caused from fears, stress, not enough communication and the fact that not all children with autism comprehend. The first task is, to try and determine what is upsetting to the child with autism. Sometimes the cause can be placed in balance with their environment and their family.
If the parents or caregivers are able to determine what triggers or sets-off these behaviors, it might be wise to try and avoid those circumstances and redirect them to a more positive area. Some of the triggers, could be, loud noises, bright lights, too many new faces all at once, an introduction to new surrounding and foods, time changes from traveling, new clothes that are a different texture, music that is too fast, too loud, and words that are unclear, change of schedule, routine, and weather are some of the points that should be considered, to bring on some of compulsive rituals, phobias, and anxiety.
Once you, as a parent or caregiver are aware of what the compulsive rituals, phobias, and anxiety are, learn about them, network with other people who are having these experiences, or are currently involved with these behaviors. Search for new ways to redirect you child to go forward with a healthy way of direction, so their behavior becomes balanced in our environment. It will not be perfect, but it will be better.
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