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Types of Maladaptive Behavior

Maladaptive Behavior – types of behaviors that inhibit a persons ability to adjust to situations.

Maladaptive behaviors in students can appear in countless ways.  Some categories and examples are explained below.  This list is not exhaustive.

Stereotypical Behavior – repetitive movement, posture or utterance.

  • handplay
  • rocking
  • echolalia (repeating words or phrases)

Ritualistic Behavior – an attempt to regulate something concrete and controllable because the person cannot identify and control a problem –  often manifests in compulsive behavioral.

Self-Injurious Behavior – any behavior that can cause damage to the individual.

  • head banging
  • self biting
  • scratching
  • pica (consumption of inedible items)

Tantrums – a combination of two or more maladaptive behaviors.

  • screaming
  • crying
  • dropping to the ground

Aggression – an act of violence to another person or object.

  • hitting
  • kicking
  • biting
  • slapping
  • pinching
  • grabbing
  • pushing

Transition Difficulties – some students become easily upset when asked to transition to a new area or task.

Running/Darting – running out of the classroom, away from the area, or away from adults.

Compliance/Following Directions/Opposition – lack of cooperation with instructions/demands.

Verbally Inappropriate Behavior – disruptive to classroom, peers or individual learning/success.

  • name calling
  • swearing
  • screaming
  • whining
  • crying
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