I know I have said to try to imagine the world through the eyes (and other senses) of an individual with autism. Sometimes when we consider how another individual may perceive a situation... it helps us in our interactions with them. However, some behaviors are almost mind boggling. Why would a child or adult hit or bang their head? It is troubling and disturbing to watch. Usually, all we know is that we want it to stop... rightly so.
We don't want an individual to hurt themselves. Studies have been done to address self-injurious behaviors of children (& adults) with autism and other developmental disorders. (Please email me if you would like to know the articles.) Before an intervention begins, it is imperative that a functional analysis takes place. In other words, it is important to find out what is actually going on... what is gained or loss by the individual engaging in that behavior.
Antecedents (what is going on in the environment before the behavior occurs? What was the individual doing before? What was asked of the individual before? Who was present before?, etc.)
Behavior (what does the behavior actually look like? Is there a pattern? Does it occur every morning, during meals, during bath time, or when all alone, etc.? How long does it occur? When does it not occur?
Consequences( what happens to the individuals environment - world- right after the behavior? - Do people rush towards him/her? Do people touch him/her? Is the individual escorted to a different room, area, or setting? Does he/she receive manipulatives.. sensory items? )