(2019). Treating self-injurious behaviors in autism spectrum disorder. Cogent Psychology: Vol. 6, No. 1, 1682766.
Self-injurious behaviors (SIBs) are “a class of behaviors, often highly repetitive and rhythmic, that result in physical harm to the individual displaying the behavior.” In the autistic population, SIBs are considered non-suicidal self-injurious behaviors, due to no apparent intent or willful self-harm. SIBs are highly prevalent in people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). There are few hypotheses for why people with ASD self-harm; one widely accepted method for assessing self-harm; and no real consensus for treatment. However, a comprehensive review of literature on SIBs make it evident the etiology of SIBs may lie in a specific deficit, similarly to how psychologists view SIBs in non-autistic persons; and that an effective treatment option exists, yet is not used on ASD patients. SIBs in the autistic population should be conceptualized the same way they are conceptualized in neurotypical individuals, and should be treated with the same goals currently used in Cognitive Behavioral Therapies even when the individual is nonverbal or minimally verbal.
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