Self injurious behaviours can cause all sorts of problems for people on the autism spectrum, their families and carers, and society as a whole. For example, according to Minshawi et al (2014),
“Furthermore, the act of engaging in SIB carries significant health risks, including lacerations, fractures, recurrent infections, physical malformations, detached retinas/blindness, and in extreme cases death. Negative consequences for engaging in SIB extend beyond their immediate physical impact and may include restricted educational and vocational opportunities, increased social isolation, limited access to community-based activities, costly medical and residential care, and of course restrictive treatment practices (eg, protective equipment, physical holds, seclusion/time-out, loss of personal property). Other problem behaviors are also noted to coexist, meaning that a person who engages in one act of SIB is more likely to engage in aggressive behavior, disruptive/destructive behavior, or other forms of self-injury.”
It is also important to understand that self injurious behaviours in people on the autism spectrum can be very distressing for family carers and service providers.