Tips for Parents: External Factors that Influence Behavior

Sometimes in life the simple things can be overlooked. I came across this article, on, it’s practical and it may help some of you. Enjoy!

There are factors in your child’s surroundings that are changeable and some are not. Sometimes the problem is a well-meant gesture that’s actually counterproductive, like a teacher popping a candy in your daughter’s mouth to keep her quiet, unintentionally rewarding her for being loud in class.

Sometimes just figuring out what the problem is can help you do something about it. Your refrigerator will always make humming noises, but if you realize that sound is distracting your hearing-sensitive son, you can help him set up a quiet spot to do homework.

Sometimes you will find a mismatch between what’s expected of your child and what they can actually do.

Sensory stimulation

Your child may respond with disruptive behavior if he’s being overwhelmed by too much sensory information. Jimmy is a bright boy with a lot of energy for learning. But he has a classmate who cries for hours each day. The sound and the emotional weight of that crying pushes Jimmy over the edge and makes it very difficult for him to concentrate and learn. His mother has realized this and is trying to switch him into a classroom that will be less disruptive.

Social triggers

Maybe your daughter realizes she has no friends, so recess time is particularly tough for her. Talking to the teacher and even her classmates might make a difference. Tell them what your daughter’s problems are and enlist their help. Yes, kids can be cruel to one another but they can also be phenomenally open and accepting. Reach out to their better natures. Don’t assume they should know how to behave around your child, but teach them how and you may be astounded by how supportive her peers become.

Communication problems

Maybe your son is frustrated because he can’t communicate—about either the bad reflux that’s hurting his throat, or the question he’d like to answer on the blackboard. Using pictures, sign language, or a keyboard instead of talking might help. Here’s where experimentation and a great teacher can make all the difference.


Maybe your child tunes out because the teacher or the material isn’t engaging. If your son’s preschool class is spending the year talking about dinosaurs and he’s obsessed with machines, maybe the teacher can steer the topic a bit in his direction, spending some class time talking about the machines used to study dinosaurs or dig up their bones.

Hopefully, these topics will spark some interests and stimulate some additional ideas in regards to your child with autism.

Yours Truly,

Venus A. David