Behavior and Sensory Support

What you need to know

Some individuals will have behavioral issues and fatigue may exaggerate these issues.  Individuals may benefits from a functional behavioral assessment to identify causes or triggers of behavior problems.  Some children may have difficulty regulating emotions and behaviors that can stem from living with a chronic disorder.

Some mitochondrial disorders have an increased risk of behavioral issues associated with them including:

  • Autism
  • ADHD with or without hyperactivity
  • Depression
  • Bipolar panic disorders
  • Anxiety

What you can do

It is important to treat children who have mitochondrial condition the same as you would with any other child in the class (high expectations, academic achievement) but provide the supports they need to be successful.


  • A 504 plan
  • Behavioral supports
  • Counseling
  • Medication


  • Provide a safe area to share emotions
  • Teach and support social skills development
  • Teach about facial expressions, body language etc.
  • Misconceptions of abilities and/or limitations can cause insecurity and anxiety
  • Help develop confidence and focus on strengths
  • If fatigue is an issue, see FATIGUE section.
  • Identify and use activities in which a child can be successful.
  • Encourage socializing opportunities with other children who have a similar interests.
  • Develop a plan for addressing emotional concerns. Resources can include: teachers, therapists, and community service providers, in addition to members of the patient's medical team.