The characteristics of children with intellectual disabilities who show challenging behaviour
Background: The aim of the research was to identify possible predisposing and
maintaining risk markers for presence, severity and stability of challenging behaviour.
Method: Three studies were conducted: 1) a meta-analysis of epidemiological
research, 2) a study of the characteristics of children with challenging behaviour and a
comparison group, and 3) an observational study of functional communication
Results: Results of the meta-analysis suggest that degree of intellectual disability,
autism and communication impairments are associated with challenging behaviour.
Results of the second study suggest that a) compulsive behaviour and autism spectrurr
behaviour are associated with presence but neither severity nor stability of
challenging behaviour, and b) greater degree of intellectual disability, stereotyped
behaviour, and poor communication and socialisation skills were not associated with
presence, severity or stability. Results of the third study suggest that children with
frequent challenging behaviour display functionally communicative behaviour.
Discussion: Compulsive behaviour and autism spectrum behaviour are possible
predisposing risk markers that within an early intervention strategy could be used to
identify children at high-risk for challenging behaviour. Communication impairment
was not a central risk marker. Further research is needed to examine how risk
markers interact with operant processes to increase risk for maintenance of