Disclaimer: This summary is based off of research conducted by Autism Treatment Network members. It is not a summary of the entire body of research literature available on this subject.
Aggression is a common occurrence in kids and teens with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Aggressive behaviors can include tantrums, hurting oneself (hitting, biting, banging head, etc.), and hurting others  . Around 53-68% of kids and teens with ASD show signs of aggression, most often towards family members . Young children are the most likely to have behaviors of aggression. In addition, aggression is more common in children and teens with autism who have sensory issues, tummy troubles, attention concerns, sleep problems, communication struggles, those who hurt themselves, and those who repeat things over and over   . Doctors can help by doing safety checks, looking for causes of aggression, going over treatments with the family (including possible medications), or sending the family to see a specialist. In addition, doctors need to make a treatment and safety plan for each family. This plan should be reviewed every three months to make sure it is still working well . Two medications, risperidone and aripiprazole, are very good at reducing aggression in kids and teens with ASD. However, these drugs have side effects. There are other drugs available to treat aggression with fewer side effects, however these medications may be less effective .
Take your findings to your next appointment. Be honest with your doctor about safety concerns for your child/teen, yourself, and your family members. Health care providers can help you and your child/teen stay safe, lower levels of aggression, and may prescribe medications to help children and teens with autism have less aggression.