In an extract from his book Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism, Barry M. Prizant PhD challenges attempts to treat or manage the behavioural problems exhibited by autistic children. He advises that rather than an autistic child seeking to be intentionally disruptive, their behaviour is the result of trying to deal with “emotional dysregulation”:
People with autism, primarily due to underlying neurology (the way the brain’s wiring works), are unusually vulnerable to everyday emotional and physiological challenges. So they experience more feelings of discomfort, anxiety, and confusion than others. They also have more difficulty learning how to cope with these feelings and challenges.
Prizant alerts that behaviours labelled as autistic aren’t actually deficits. Rather, they are coping strategies that the person uses to feel better emotionally regulated.