Top 5 autism tips for professionals: Biting

In this article the NAS Autism Helpline team have kindly provided their top 5 tips on Biting. This article aims to provide an easy read overview of pratical behaviour strategies for professionals, covering the main considerations when tackling biting.

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Top 5 Tips


  1. Rule out medical causes.
  2. Explore what function the biting might be serving e.g. to communicate something, a sign of distress or pain, or to meet a sensory need.
  3. Look at alternative ways to meet the identified function of biting e.g. if it is a sensory need, provide safe alternatives to biting oneself or others – a chew toy or edible option.
  4. Look to improve an individual’s communication in order to prevent biting being one of these communication methods.
  5. If the biting poses significant risk, seek extra support (training/expert advice such as those listed below).


These top 5 tips are meant only as a very general guide to what to think about. You can find further information about biting via the below links:

Autism Helpline
393 City Road
London EC1V 1NG
Tel: 0808 800 4104 (opening hours Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm)

The Challenging Behaviour Foundation
c/o Friends Meeting House
Rochester ME1 1LS


You can also dowload a PDF copy of these top tips here

Author: Autism Helpline - The National Autistic Society

Date added: 6th June 2013


Mon, 05/09/2016 - 07:37

The person may be using this behaviour to communicate that something is causing distress and to get it to stop. They may have no other functional way of communicating their needs, wants and feelings.

Life can be exceptionally overwhelming at times for people with autism, and the behaviour may be an expression of sheer frustration or distress in response to a range of different stressors.

his can include difficult demands, meeting new people, experiencing unpleasant sensory stimuli, a change in routine, switching activities or having to wait for something – some people have difficulty with the concept of time and sequencing.

Around half of all people with learning disabilities and challenging behaviour are subject to physical interventions. This is vital for people who may experience difficulties in communicating or managing their emotions and use behaviour as a way to express themselves.