Challenging behaviours occur at a much higher rate among children and adults with SMS than they do in people with other types of developmental disabilities. Common behavioural differences in individuals with SMS include attention-seeking, self-injury, attention deficits, with or without hyperactivity, explosive outbursts, prolonged tantrums, destructive and aggressive behaviour. The reason for these behaviours is unclear, although they appear to be related to underlying physical and developmental differences associated with SMS. Outbursts often result from frustration over communication difficulties, fine motor deficits, or changes in routine.
Many people with SMS crave interaction with adults and react negatively if attention is withdrawn or directed toward others. People with SMS frequently have rigid ideas about their world; a prolonged tantrum may result if things do not go exactly as expected or envisioned. Some of these behavioraul issues may be related to an underlying developmental asynchrony in which emotional growth progresses more slowly than other areas of development. Not surprisingly, sleep disturbance is also known to be a significant contributor to negative behaviours in people with SMS.
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