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Tantrums in ASD children not related to communication Deficits

Since communication deficits are a major characteristic of Autism Spectrum Disorder, there is a myth that lack of speech and the frustration that results out of it is responsible for the tantrums in ASD children. A study conducted by a pediatrician, Cheryl Tierney at the Penn state child hospital with 240 children with autism, dispels this myth as it confirms that speech and language deficits are not the main causes behind the tantrums.

Children whose mental age was sufficient for verbal communication but who showed speech defects did not have more tantrums than children with normal development of speech. On the contrary, children with an expressive language age at or above 24 months demonstrated more tantrums than children whose speech skills were below 24 months


Mayes, S., Lockridge, R., & Tierney, C. (2017). Tantrums are Not Associated with Speech or Language Deficits in Preschool Children with Autism. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 29(4), 587-596. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10882-017-9546-0