Down Syndrome & Aggressive Behavior

Identification

Aggressive behavior is anything done with the intent of causing harm to another person. Examples include hitting, biting or scratching.

Cause

Behaviors serve a function that can be categorized into one of three categories: avoidance, attention seeking or fulfillment of some type of sensory need.

Solution

By determining the function of the behavior, you can provide an appropriate replacement behavior. For example, if a child with Down syndrome hits someone whenever he feels overwhelmed, the boy can be provided with a way to ask for a break before becoming aggressive.

Prevention

Providing a way for people with Down syndrome to communicate and have control in their lives can reduce aggressive behavior by allowing them to get their needs met.

Considerations

It is important to ensure all health issues are considered when trying to understand unexplained aggression. Pain or discomfort might be difficult for a person with Down syndrome to express. People with Down syndrome sometimes have trouble communicating and getting their needs met. Combined with a possible lack of impulse control, this can sometimes result in frustration and aggression. Providing alternative behavior options can alleviate the problem and improve communication lines for everyone involved.