Challenging Behavior of Children with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and ASD ( Autism Spectrum Disorder)

Sensory Processing is how the brain adapt and react to the stimulus received from the senses.

Behavior is the way the child act and responses in different manners. It is either be good or bad reaction to the outside forces and stimuli from their environment.

I am dealing two children in daily bases related to sensory processing and behaviors. It is my ultimate challenge. There are times that they are able to stay calm and follow instructions, and often times dealing with battlement for behavior.

As a mother and a therapist I opted to execute various trials of techniques that would be beneficial to them and our family.

The Problem Behavior of Children

  • Aggression to someone/self-injury
  • Destruction of property
  • Defiance/ disobedience or non-compliance
  • Tantrums/meltdowns
  • Manipulations of situation for own benefits
  • Disregarding needs of others
  • Disrespectful of Authority
  • Non-conformity with social norms or expectationsj

Evidence-Based Behavioral Interventions

Applied Behavioral Analysis, ABA

Naturalistic Developmental Behavioral Interventions, NDBI

Functional Behavioral Assessment , FBA

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Antecedent Based Intervention

Positive Reinforcement Techniques

Response Intervention and Redirection

Social Stories/Narrative and social skills training

Social-Emotional Learning

Collaborative and Proactive Solution Model Family


Debra Johnson, MS, OTR/L

Non-verbal Children carries volume of messages. They exhibit challenging behavior due to they have a deficit of oneself:

physical, language, emotional, social, self-regulation and coping skills.

Debora Johnson, MS, OTR/L

My son that has been diagnosed with autism and profoundly language impairment had a problem behavior before. I had dealt with challenging behavior secondary to he was unable to communicate his needs and wants to anybody. Moreover he was too sensitive to the loud sound of vacuums, hand dryer and lawn mower. By exposing him from time to time to the various sounds, it diminishes his sensitivity..Now he even helped to vacuum and used the hand dryer. Sensory sensitivity really diminishes by time, we have to be patience to it.

Aggression, self-injury, hyperactivity and distraction of property has been the issues. We’ve been able to connect our self to him by communicating through sign language, pointing to objects and talking into eye level, through these his problem behavior decreases.

Although children were unable to vocalized their needs due to language impairment, they can response and expresses through affection and gestures. My ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) son expresses his needs through affection and gestures ( executing kisses, hugs, vocalization of noise and pointing to objects). Once he is already into these reaction we know that he needs something from us. We’ve been able to build-up connection and link of communicating to each other.

We mostly exposed him more into a relaxing environment such as beach, swimming pool and places that plays soothing music. Through this  he was able to explore and navigate the environment calmly. Going into new places can be very challenging to him, so by giving enough time to adjust and familiarity of environment is a must needed to decrease his anxiety. As a mother I know his needs and types of activities that will calm him down. Finding the strength of your children by observation is greatly beneficial. You can utilized his strength as their way of fulfillment on what they can do. You will be surprise that your kids can execute to the extent that you never know how good  they have become. You can identify his weakness and develop to a positive one by using his strength as a reward to the completed tasks.

On the other hand, my ADHD son with language impairment has an issue on emotional adjustment, following direction, attention and retention of task or instruction given, visual scanning, expressive language and patience. The upper mention behaviors affects his performances at school and at home. To these regards, I created a “How my Engine is Running Journal”, where he can vent his emotions related to activities from school and at home.

I checked the journal daily and we go over with it according to each sections. We find it very rewarding to him and me as a mother. Being a mother, we can think many outside the box ideas and techniques that would be useful to our children. Researching through reading any printed materials and watching videos are very helpful, resourcefulness is a key.

But your Love, Affection and Patience are very powerful contributors to our children.

Keep on going parents! You are doing great! Our children are precious gems and priceless. We are blessed that we are the parents that have been equipped with resilience, sacrifices and patience. I understand your stressors, give time to relax and reach out your family or community support. There are bunches of help in the community it just a matter of finding them. Churches also has classes for special needs children on Sunday’s. Have fun on parenting! 


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