Why is my special needs child screaming so much?

Why is my special needs child screaming so much?

When our children misbehave in public, we rightfully assume they are just kids being kids. They sometimes scream, jump around, and run at full speed into crowds. It’s not always easy or quick to get them to behave in public, but for the most part, we can reasonably settle them down eventually.

With special needs children, things aren’t quite so simple. When a special needs child acts up in public and makes a scene, it can cause parents a lot of stress. Parents can’t give the child instructions, scold them, or discipline them. For many parents, they are also acutely aware of the eyes and judgement of the public.

Some of the most common judgements that parents fear when faced with this scenario in public are:

  • These must be bad parents.
  • The parents are so undisciplined.
  • Their child is so undisciplined.
  • Their child is so misbehaved.

It is extra burden that parents have to deal with on top of trying to manage their special needs child acting out in public.

In reality, it’s not so simple to say that the parents are bad or the child is misbehaved. With special needs children, acting out doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with bad behaviour or bad parenting. They could be reacting to a trigger that they don’t yet know how to deal with.

  • It could be a particular sound that triggers the reaction.
  • It could be a particular sight that triggers the reaction.
  • It could also be that the child is simply overwhelmed in public.

In many of these cases, the child doesn’t have the means to communicate their discomfort. The child’s reactions can range from mild to severe, and at times, they may even attempt to self-regulate. For example, stimming is a form of self-regulation. It’s important to figure out what your child’s specific triggers are so you can remove the child from that situation, or redirect their attention. Even then, sometimes this doesn’t work and you just have to let the child go through the motions. As a parent, sometimes patience and understanding is the best tool you have, and it’s possible that’s what the child really needs at that point.

College of Allied Educators offers our Diploma in Learning Disorders Management & Child Psychology programme to help you understand your child or the child in your care to more effectively help in their learning and development.


Diploma in Learning Disorders Management & Child Psychology is a Skillsfuture course (claimable) designed specifically to train potential teachers, parents and caregivers to identify, detect and support children with special needs, such as Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Dyspraxia, and Dyslexia.


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