Autism & Asperger's Syndrome Expert Forum
inappropriate behaviour
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Questions in the Autism & Asperger's Syndrome forum are answered by researchers at the New England Center for Children. Topics covered include Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Antisocial Personality Disorder, Asperger Syndrome, Autism, blindness, bullying, clinical depression, deafness, dyslexia, mental retardation, and social alienation.

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inappropriate behaviour

a child who has downs syndrome and has been told he is also autistic keeps pulling childrens pants down and his dad has been told  its part of his autism. is this true or an excuse for bad behaviour that he has seen somewhere. is this common behaviour then
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To me, the important question is not whether or not this behavior is "part of his autism" or not; the more important question should be, why is he doing this and is there anything that can be done about it!

Most inappropriate behavior--just like appropriate behavior--is learned, and occurs because it has been and continues to be reinforced, at least occasionally.  Some children emit problem behavior because it serves to get them attention from others.  For example, a young child with autism may want attention, but because of delayed language skills, does not have the ability to appropriately ask for attention.  But, if he engages in the problem behavior, it always leads to attention!  So, the problem behavior becomes the most efficient way for the child to get what he wants!  Other children have learned to emit problem behavior because it gets them out of nonpreferred situations.  For example, suppose this young boy dislikes noisy, crowded environments.  he may not have the appropriate language skills to tell an adult that he needs to leave, so he remains in this situation that he finds aversive.  But, perhaps he has learned that if he pulls someone's pants down, he will be removed!  Again, because the child may have poor communication skills, the problem behavior becomes the most efficient way to get what he wants!

There are other potential reasons why this behavior may be occurring, but my point is that these behaviors are often the easiest ways ways to get what the child wants.  Once we know why the behaviors are occurring, we can focus on teaching the child new skills that will give him appropriate ways to get these things, so he doesn't need to rely on the bad behaviors to get them.

I hope this is helpful.
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Jason C Bourret, Ph.D., BCBA-DBlank
The New England Center for Children
Southborough, MA
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