Self-injurious Behaviors among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

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ASD, better known as the autism spectrum disorder is often defined as a social communication deficit as well as restrictive and repetitive behavior, activities and interests. 1 in 68 8 year old children has asd according to the data from ADDM (Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring) Network. There are multiple core symptoms of ASD but one of the emergent ones is now self-injurious behavior (SIB).

These SIB are diverse, rhythmic and repetitive that take place without a clear intent of self-harm but end up in physical harm. SIB includes arm biting, eye poking, head banging, pulling of hair and skin scratching. Some positive results have come from behavioral and pharmacologic intervention. This type of behavior is particularly concerning since they have some serious health consequences and those who engage in this type of behavior are at a high risk for serious injuries that might end in hospitalization or possibly even death. The externalization of these behaviors is what leads to SIB in being one of the leading cause of emergency room visits in ASD children.

It isn’t just self inflicted harm but can also affect others such as family members and caregivers. The cost to providing services to children with SIB is much greater than those without. Associations between the severity of ASD and the presence as well as severity of SIB have been made.

According to the study it shows that the phenotype for SIB are characteristic for children in ASD and has a higher occurrence in children with developmental disabilities. Sib increases the overall costs of services and so it has great familial, individual and societal consequences. It is evident that SIB deserves more attention in terms of research. Results found in studies show that informed training of clinical and service providers will help children with SIB. There needs to be more research that needs to be conducted to find the linkages between ASD and SIB.


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