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Behavior and Sensory Supports

What you need to know

Individuals with RTS may have a variety of behavioral issues. Some individuals may have a psychiatric diagnosis; some may have autism and/or autistic-like features.  It is important to treat children who have RTS syndrome as an individual and provide the supports they need to be successful.

Behavioral problems may be rooted in their frustration over not having an adequate means of communication or there may be other triggers. Adults need to support exploration of effective means of communication for home and school and determine what triggers may be affecting their behavior. 

Behavioral issues that may arise
  • Difficulty making eye contact
  • Desire for strict routine - Difficulty with change
  • May react differently to sound
    • May not like loud sounds
    • May have problems in large crowds because of noise
    • May have some self-stimulating behaviors
      • Repetitive motions
      • Hand flapping
      • Spinning
      • Rocking
  • Smile often described as a grimace
  • Some individuals may have psychiatric diagnoses
    •  OCD
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Consider need for behavioral therapy or medication
  • Short attention span
  • Hyperactivity
  • Impulsivity
  • May have abnormal response to pain
During adolescence, other issues may develop
  • Anxiety
  • Mood instability

What you can do

  • Consider treatments based on individual needs
    • Behavioral supports
    • Counseling
    • Medication
  • Be proactive with behavioral supports. May need to discuss involvement of behavioral/mental health professionals and/ or medications with the parents.
    • Firm directions, rules, and clear expectations are helpful
    • May benefit from positive behavioral interventions
    • May need a functional behavioral assessment to identify causes/triggers of behaviors, functions of behaviors, and develop a plan for supporting changes
    • Ensure they have an effective means of communication.
  • Many children have difficulty regulating emotions and behavior.  This is especially true when handling unplanned changes. 
    • Talk through expected changes
    • Consistency and routine can be helpful. Children can be easily upset with disruption in the schedule.
    • Prepare them in advance for any change in schedule
    • Provide a safe area to share emotions
    • Teach and model use of words and/or pictures in sharing emotions
      • Stories may help with transitions
    • Teach, emphasize, and reinforce behaviors you want to see
    • Make sure they have an effective communication system
  • Support social skills development
    • Make sure teaching strategies being used are appropriate for children who are already socially engaged
    • Provide social cues and coaching
    • Provide information to and discuss differences with the child’s peers
    • Help develop confidence and focus on strengths
    • Provide positive reinforcement
    • Teach how to regulate own body – sensory strategies may be helpful
    • Foster relationships and friendships with neighbors, schoolmates, and relatives so help ensure they will have friends and companions for their entire life