Monday, April 24, 2006

Clinic Notes: Aggressive Behavior in Children

Aggressive behavior is common in the kids we see in our clinic who present with various neuropsychological disorders. Nonverbal kids learn to use aggression as a way to communicate. Neurological damage to the cortex of the brain, caused by trauma or drugs taken by the mother while she is pregnant, can cause cortical disinhibition in the child and further increase the level of aggression. Children with neuropsychological disorders, as well as those without, also learn violent, abusive behavior from adult role models, video games, and the media.
Twenty-five percent of men imprisoned for violent crimes had a history of cruelty toward animals in their childhood. A comparison sample of men convicted for nonviolent crimes had no history of cruelty toward animals. Aggressive women prisoners show a similar history. Cruelty toward animals is also associated with child abuse. Apparently, the abused child takes out his frustration on family pets.
Since aggression is, at least partially, a learned response ABA programs can reduce and usually eliminate aggression. Occasionally, certain psychoactive drugs must be used along with the ABA programs.
See case Histories # 6, 16, and 20 in Little Bubba's Not Ready for Nashville Yet at

No comments: