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Aggression in autism spectrum disorder: presentation and treatment options

Authors Fitzpatrick S, Srivorakiat L, Wink L, Pedapati E, Erickson C

Received 3 February 2016

Accepted for publication 1 April 2016

Published 23 June 2016 Volume 2016:12 Pages 1525—1538

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S84585

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder


Sarah E Fitzpatrick, Laura Srivorakiat, Logan K Wink, Ernest V Pedapati, Craig A Erickson

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH, USA

Abstract: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by persistent difficulties in social communication and social interaction, coupled with restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior or interest. Research indicates that aggression rates may be higher in individuals with ASD compared to those with other developmental disabilities. Aggression is associated with negative outcomes for children with ASD and their caregivers, including decreased quality of life, increased stress levels, and reduced availability of educational and social support. Therapeutic strategies including functional behavioral assessment, reinforcement strategies, and functional communication training may have a significant impact in reducing the frequency and intensity of aggressive behavior in individuals with ASD. Pharmacologic treatments, particularly the use of second-generation antipsychotics, may also be of some benefit in reducing aggression in individuals with ASD. With the ever-increasing rate of ASD diagnosis, development of effective therapeutic and pharmacologic methods for preventing and treating aggression are essential to improving outcomes in this disorder.

Keywords: autism, autism spectrum disorder, aggression, treatment, antipsychotics, applied behavior analysis

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