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Showing posts sorted by relevance for query behavior problem. Sort by date Show all posts

The Use of “Structure” to Reduce Problematic Behavior in Kids with AS and HFA

"Any methods for preventing problem behaviors in an out of control child with an autism spectrum disorder? Please help with advice!"

For many children with Asperger’s (AS) and High-Functioning Autism (HFA), problematic behaviors are common. The term “problematic behavior” is a controversial one, but it’s intended to suggest that certain behaviors present a “problem” for parents, siblings, peers, teachers, therapists, etc. This helps to prevent internalizing the cause of the behaviors and blaming the “special needs” child.

This is a very important concept in AS and HFA, because it’s unlikely that any behavior which causes difficulties for parents and others is intended vindictively or maliciously. There is usually some other, unidentified, cause that provokes problematic behavior. Young people on the autism spectrum derive no enjoyment by being a problem to others.



Most problematic behaviors occur in the presence of parents and siblings (probably because AS and HFA children feel more comfortable simply being themselves when around familiar people). If such behavior is a problem for therapists and other professionals (which it is), then it can certainly be a challenge for moms, dads and siblings. Thus, it’s crucial that problematic behaviors are dealt with in way that (a) helps the entire family to cope more effectively, and (b) allows the “special needs” child to develop social skills and emotion management. 

Low-frustration tolerance is one of the most common problems in young people on the autism spectrum. They often appear to go into a state of anger, rage, anxiety, or fear for no reason. All children get frustrated and then act-out from time to time, but this problem is more of a challenge for moms and dads of autistic children. These children may seem inconsolable during the episode of frustration, the episode often lasts a long time, and the resolution that typically accompanies the end of feeling frustrated rarely occurs.

Low-frustration tolerance is just one example of problematic behavior. Similar episodes of panic, anxiety, anger, and aggression may be seen all through childhood, the teenage years, and even into adulthood (e.g., yelling, crying, resisting contact with others, pushing others away, refusing to respond to interaction, using others as objects, refusing to comply with daily tasks, etc.). These behaviors are “problematic” in the sense that they cause disruption (e.g., to a classroom engaged in a lesson, a family outing or event, etc.).

Children and teens with AS and HFA often rely on rituals, routines and structure, which helps define the world in terms of consistent rules and explanations. Consistency helps these young people to function more comfortably in a world that would otherwise be perceived as confusing, chaotic and hostile. Most kids on the autism spectrum find their own strategies for imposing structure and maintaining consistency. Without this structure, they would be totally overwhelmed and unable to function …they would be unable to understand the behavior of others …and the information they receive through their senses would be nearly impossible to bring together into a purposeful whole.

==> How to Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums in Asperger's and HFA Children

When structure and consistency are disrupted in the AS or HFA child’s life, the world becomes confusing and overwhelming again – thus launching him or her into “problematic” behaviors as a response. This disruption of structure can be obvious (e.g., getting up at an unusual hour, having a collection of objects disturbed, not being able to engage in a favorite activity, being made to go a different way to school, etc.) …or it may be hidden (e.g., sensory sensitivities, subtle changes in the environment which the youngster is used to, etc.). Many of these “triggers” may be out of the control of the child. Thus, it’s important to remember that low-frustration tolerance and similar behaviors are not cases of “misbehavior” necessarily, rather they may simply be natural reactions to various unwanted stimuli.

"Structure-Dependent" Thinking in Kids with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism 

 

How parents can begin to reduce problematic behaviors in their AS or HFA child:

1. At the time of the inappropriate behavior, be sure to limit your talking to “stating the rule and consequence.” Lengthy debates, explanations and arguments should be avoided at this time. Also, ignore complaints from your youngster. Further discussion about the rule and consequence can be done at a later time when things have calmed down.

2. Avoid anger and over-reaction to your child’s problematic behavior. Don’t let your emotions take control. Refrain from demanding or shouting. Stay calm! You’re “over-reacting” will through “gas on the fire.”

3. Establish family rules and put them in writing. Rules should be (a) specific, (b) easy to understand, (c) achievable, (d) age-appropriate, and (e) consistent. Rules should be discussed and decided upon ahead of time in mutual collaboration between the mom and dad without the youngster present. Then, after the rules have been agreed upon, they should be explained to the youngster in simple, concrete terms.

4. Help your youngster use problem-solving skills in order to make a plan for changing behavior in the future. For example, if the behavior involves difficulties getting along with peers, help your youngster learn appropriate communication and conflict resolutions skills.

5. Listen to your youngster’s point of view about a particular rule. When appropriate, consider making changes to the rule based on your youngster’s reasoning. This doesn’t mean you are “giving in” to your youngster’s demands, rather it means that (at times) you will negotiate with your youngster on a rule and reach a compromise.

==> How to Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums in Asperger's and HFA Children

6. Make your expectations very clear. For example, let your child know that (a) she WILL be required to perform certain tasks (e.g., completing homework, cleaning her bedroom, getting ready for school on time, etc.), and (b) there WILL be consequences for not completing such tasks.

7. Set up routines for daily living that are consistent and predictable (e.g., morning, mealtime, and bedtime routines). Your youngster will learn many things from these routines (e.g., how to take care of herself, how to interact with others, discovering that life runs more smoothly if things are organized and predictable, etc.).

8. Simply ignore some behaviors (e.g., whining and complaining).

9. Structuring your youngster’s environment. Determine what activities he will engage in and how he will fill his time. Also, be available physically and mentally to provide appropriate monitoring and supervision.

10. Try to anticipate problem situations (e.g., don’t let your youngster get into a situation where he becomes overly tired, hungry, or bored).

11. Use distraction techniques. If your youngster is acting-out, distraction with something of interest can focus her on more positive behaviors.

12. Use rewards to increase appropriate behavior. When it comes to children on the autism spectrum, it’s usually better to reward desirable behaviors than to discipline undesirable ones. Also, it’s best to provide the reward immediately after the desired behavior has occurred.

AS and HFA Kids Want Structure 

 

Note: While providing structure and consistency are important skills for you to use with your AS or HFA child, it’s also important to be aware of the importance of allowing her some independence and autonomy. As often as is appropriate, allow your child to have opportunities to make her own choices and decisions, respect her choices and decisions, and allow natural “real-world” consequences to occur (when safety is not an issue, of course).

More resources for parents of children and teens on the autism spectrum:
 

Parent Management Training [PMT] for Parents of Aspergers Children

Parent management training (PMT) is an adjunct to treatment that involves educating and coaching moms and dads to change their Aspergers child’s problem behaviors using principles of learning theory and behavior modification.

Purpose—

The aim of PARENT MANAGEMENT TRAINING is to decrease or eliminate an Aspergers child’s disruptive or inappropriate behaviors at home or school and to replace problematic ways of acting with positive interactions with peers, moms and dads and such authority figures as teachers. In order to accomplish this goal, PARENT MANAGEMENT TRAINING focuses on enhancing parenting skills. The PARENT MANAGEMENT TRAINING therapist coaches parents in applying such strategies as rewarding positive behavior, and responding to negative behavior by removing rewards or enforcing undesirable consequences (punishments).

Although PARENT MANAGEMENT TRAINING focuses on specific targeted behaviors rather than on the youngster's diagnosis as such, it has come to be associated with the treatment of certain disorders. PARENT MANAGEMENT TRAINING is used in treating oppositional defiant disorder , conduct disorder , intermittent explosive disorder (age-inappropriate tantrums), and attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder ). Such antisocial behaviors as fire-setting and truancy can also be addressed through PARENT MANAGEMENT TRAINING.

Description—

In PARENT MANAGEMENT TRAINING, the therapist conducts initial teaching sessions with the parent(s), giving a short summary of foundational concepts in behavior modification; demonstrating interventions for the moms and dads; and coaching parents in carrying out the techniques of PARENT MANAGEMENT TRAINING. Early meetings with the therapist focus on training in the principles of behavior modification, response-contingent learning, and ways to apply the techniques. Moms and dads are instructed to define the behavior(s) to be changed concretely and specifically. In addition, they learn how to observe and identify relevant behavior and situational factors, and how to chart or otherwise record the youngster's behavior.

Defining, observing and recording behavior are essential to the success of this method, because when such behaviors as fighting or tantrums are highlighted in concrete, specific ways, techniques of reinforcement and punishment can be put to use. Progress or its absence is easier to identify when the description of the behavior is defined with enough clarity to be measurable, and when responses to the PARENT MANAGEMENT TRAINING interventions are tracked on a chart. After the Aspergers child’s parents grasp the basic interventions as well as when and how to apply them, the techniques that the moms and dads practiced with the therapist can be carried out at home.

Learning theory, which is the conceptual foundation of PARENT MANAGEMENT TRAINING, deals with the ways in which organisms learn to respond to their environment and the factors that affect the frequency of a specific behavior. The core of learning theory is the notion that actions increase or decrease in frequency in response to the consequences that occur immediately after the action. Research in parent-child interactions in families with disruptive, difficult or defiant kids shows that parental responses are unintentionally reinforcing the unwanted behavior. PARENT MANAGEMENT TRAINING trains moms and dads to become more careful in their reactions to a youngster's behavior.

The parents learn to be more discerning: to provide attention, praise and increased affection in reaction to the Aspergers child’s behaving in desired ways; and to withdraw attention, to suspend displays of affection, or to withdraw privileges in instances of less desirable behavior.

The most critical element of PARENT MANAGEMENT TRAINING is offering positive reinforcement for socially appropriate (or at least non-deviant) behaviors. An additional component involves responding to any undesired behaviors by removing rewards or applying punishment. These two types of response to the youngster must be carried out with great consistency. Consistent responding is important because erratic responses to unwanted behavior can actually cause the behavior to increase in frequency. For instance, if a youngster consistently throws tantrums in stores, hoping to be given something to end the tantrum, inconsistent parent responses can worsen the situation. If a parent is occasionally determined not to give in, but provides a candy bar or a toy to end the tantrum on other occasions, the youngster learns either to have more tantrums, or to have more dramatic tantrums. The rise in the number or intensity of tantrums occurs because the youngster is trying to increase the number of opportunities to obtain that infrequent parental reward for the behavior.

Planning responses ahead of time to predefined target behaviors by rewarding desired actions and by withdrawing rewards or applying punishment for undesirable behavior is a fundamental principle of PARENT MANAGEMENT TRAINING. Consistent consequences, which are contingent on (in response to) the youngster's behavior, result in behavior change. Moms and dads practice therapeutic ways of responding to their Aspergers child’s behavior in the PARENT MANAGEMENT TRAINING sessions with the therapist.

Through PARENT MANAGEMENT TRAINING, parents learn that positive rewards for appropriate behaviors can be offered in a variety of ways. Giving praise, providing extra attention, earning points toward obtaining a reward desired by the youngster, earning stickers or other small indicators of positive behavior, earning additional privileges, hugging (and other affectionate gestures) are all forms of reward. The technical term for the rewarding of desired behavior is positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement refers to consequences that cause the desired target behavior to increase.

PARENT MANAGEMENT TRAINING instructs moms and dads to cancel rewards or give punishments when the Aspergers child behaves in undesirable ways. The removal of rewards usually entails time away from the circumstances and situations in which the youngster can do desired activities or receive attention. The concept of a "time out" is based on this notion of removal of rewards. Time out from rewards customarily means that the youngster is removed from people and stimulation for a certain period of time; it can also include deprivation of privileges.

Punishment in PARENT MANAGEMENT TRAINING is not necessarily what parents typically refer to as punishment; it most emphatically is not the use of physical punishment. A punishment in PARENT MANAGEMENT TRAINING involves a response to the youngster's negative behavior by exposing the Aspergers child to something he or she regards as unpleasant. Examples of punishments might include having to redo the correct behavior so many times that it becomes annoying; verbal reproaches; or the military standby—"drop and give me fifty"—having to do pushups or sit-ups or laps around a playing field to the point of discomfort.

The least challenging problems, which have the greatest likelihood of successful change, are tackled first, in hope of giving the family a "success experience." The success experience is a positive reinforcement for the family, increasing the likelihood that they will continue using PARENT MANAGEMENT TRAINING in efforts to bring about change. In addition, lower-level behavioral problems provide opportunities for moms and dads to become skilled in intervening and to learn consistency in their responses. After the parents have practiced using the skills learned in PARENT MANAGEMENT TRAINING on the less important problems, more severe issues can be tackled.

In addition to face-to-face sessions with the parents, some PARENT MANAGEMENT TRAINING therapists make frequent telephone calls to the moms and dads between sessions. The purposes of the calls are to remind moms and dads to continue to be consistent in applying the techniques; to answer questions about the work at home; and to praise the parents' attempts to correct the youngster's behavior. In addition, ongoing support in sessions and on the telephone helps parents feel less isolated and thus more likely to continue trying to use learning principles in managing their youngster. Troubleshooting any problems that arise regarding the application of the behavioral techniques is handled over the telephone and in the office sessions.

An additional aspect of learning theory is that rewarding subunits of the ultimately desired behavior can lead to developing more complex new actions. The subunits are finally linked together by changing the ways in which the rewards are given. This process is called "chaining." Sometimes, if the youngster shows no elements of the desired response, then the desired behavior is demonstrated for the Aspergers child and subsequent "near hits" or approximations are rewarded. To refine "close but not quite" into the targeted response, rewards are given in a slightly "pickier" manner. Rewarding successive approximations of the desired behavior is also called "shaping."

Risks—

The best way to learn to alter parental responses to Aspergers child behaviors is with the support and assistance of a behavioral health professional (psychologist, psychiatrist, clinical social worker). As noted earlier, moms and dads often inadvertently reinforce the problem behaviors, and it is difficult for a parent to see objectively the ways in which he or she is unintentionally supporting the defiant or difficult behavior. Furthermore, inappropriate application of such behavioral techniques as those used in PARENT MANAGEMENT TRAINING can actually make the problem situation worse. Families should seek therapists with valid credentials, skills, training and experience in PARENT MANAGEMENT TRAINING.

Normal results—

Typically, the parents should notice a decrease in the unwanted behaviors after they implement the techniques learned in PARENT MANAGEMENT TRAINING at home. Of the various therapies used to treat childhood disorders, PARENT MANAGEMENT TRAINING is among those most frequently researched. PARENT MANAGEMENT TRAINING has shown effectiveness in changing Aspergers kid's behavior in very well-designed and rigorous studies. PARENT MANAGEMENT TRAINING has a greater effect on behavior than many other treatments, including family therapy or play therapy.

Furthermore, the results— improved child behavior and reduction or elimination of undesirable behavior— are sustained over the long term. When a group of kids whose families had used PARENT MANAGEMENT TRAINING were examined one to fourteen years later, they had maintained higher rates of positive behavior and lower levels of problem behavior.

Educating Students with ASD [Level 1]: Comprehensive Guidelines for Teachers and Parents

Children with ASD (high functioning autism) will respond quite well to specific classroom adaptations. Here are the recommended methods teachers can employ with their "special needs" students: 
  1. Implement Creative Programming - Through the student’s IEP, educators can develop class schedules which will be motivating and challenging to the student while addressing his/her needs.
  2. Intervene Early - The earlier intervention begins, the earlier children can learn the needed skills for adulthood and friendship.
  3. Obtain In-Depth Training - Learn the differences among the kids with ASD in elementary, middle school and high school.
  4. Recognize Children’ Strengths - Many children with ASD will go on to make great contributions to society. However, we must tap into their strengths and offer support so that they do not drop out of school because academic and social demands are too high.
  5. Understand How Social Impairments Impact Learning and Peer Relationships - Some children require weekly sessions with trained staff members who can help them “solve the puzzles” they encounter in everyday activities and help alleviate depression caused by perception of social failure. Provide ongoing social skill instruction to help children form relationships with peers.

Role of Inclusion—

1. Carefully structure seating arrangements and group work. Kids with ASD should not be seated near class bullies or aggressive children. Rather, sit them next to children who can serve as a “peer buddy.” See where the youngster works most effectively; near the teacher or near a quiet open space. Avoid self-selection when children are being assigned to a group. Teach children how to function as a team and accept all members.

2. Connect with Each Other, Parents, Internet, and Other Support Groups. To avoid the feelings of many educators and families who feel isolated in their attempts to support children with ASD, create regular communication through meetings, telephone or e-mail among inclusion and special education educators and parents. Create a Home School Coordination- Improve the behavior of this student by combining school and home effort. Work on goals that the youngster should meet. Then send home a note indicating if the youngster has met that goal. If s/he has done so, reward him/her (in school and at home if the appropriate behavior is being exhibited there as well). 
 

3. Don’t Take it Personally. Don’t be insulted by the student who interrupts, speaks too loudly or misses your jokes. Separate the youngster from the syndrome (be perturbed with the behavior, but support the youngster) and try to imagine the world as viewed through his eyes. Model warmth and acceptance. Refrain from impatience and irritation so peers will too.

4. Help Your Classroom Become a Caring Environment. Create and maintain your classroom as a safe, supportive and accepting community by expecting and ensuring that all children respect, support and take responsibility for each other. Help create a strong sense of belonging among all the diverse children in your classroom.

5. Prepare for Changes in the Routine. Since most children with ASD thrive on clear expectations and routines there are many different methods a teacher can use to help create smooth transitions. Write class schedules and time frames on the blackboard, or use a picture schedule for younger kids. Designate classroom jobs, space and time with certain activities (e.g., computer). Explain changes in the routine well in advance (e.g., “On Thursday, we will have an assembly. That means you go straight from your second period class to the auditorium.”).

6. Promote Positive Peer Interactions. Create ways to connect the student with empathic peers in order to promote social acceptance and friendships. Use role playing and games - Try the program “Magic Circle” where children are seated in a circle and are encouraged to share their feelings and listen to others. This type of activity helps promote active listening skills and recognition of each individual. Help the student engage in successful conversations and reflection by using comic strips, since the pictures, words and symbols identify what the people say and do and emphasize what people may be thinking. Social stories which describe typical social situations and explain the meaning of various comments and identify appropriate responses are also good. Direct the youngster to participate in activities or clubs in which their abilities might neutralize their social deficiencies (e.g., math groups). Make sure they are not involved in groups that are frequented by bullies. Identify the student’s special gifts and teach him/her to share those gifts through tutoring, class presentations, or community service.

7. Provide a Safe Haven. Children with ASD can become overwhelmed by noise, crowds, chaos or trying to engage in social interactions (e.g., an assembly, recess time), which can lead to anxiety and stress. Offer an alternative to attending these events. Try earplugs or headphones to assist in screening out troubling noise. Make sure the youngster has a trusted contact person with whom they feel comfortable with (e.g., special education teacher, school psychologist, guidance counselor or principal, older responsible pupil). Give access to a quiet, private place (e.g., school library, tutoring room, empty classroom or office) where the student can spend lunchtime, study hall or any other free time alone, can rest and refresh themselves to alleviate the stress that accompanies the constant effort to fit in. 
 

8. Use Available Resources/ Make Needed Accommodations. Children with ASD often respond well to visuals, graphic models and technology. They often have impaired gross or fine motor skills. Encourage the use of computers for written assignments and exams. Allow for extra time or quiet space if needed. When significant amounts of notes need to be taken, pair the student with ASD with a buddy in order that the student can photocopy the notes missed. Allow time on the Internet. The effort and anxiety associated with interpersonal connections is greatly reduced because then children only have to deal with the written word. However, limit the amount of time on the computer in order that a potential obsession does not develop and that the computer does not become a substitute for human contact.

Characteristics of ASD—
  • Cognitive abilities which are average or above average (they are often known as “little professors”)
  • Depression, frequent school absences, low school motivation due to being socially vulnerable and easy targets for teasing and bullying
  • Difficulties with subjects that require inferential reasoning, abstract concepts, problem solving, extensive calculations or social judgments
  • Fine motor problems which lead to poor penmanship and low writing motivation
  • Friends and new acquaintances may be acknowledged with tight and enthusiastic hugs instead of formal greetings like “Hi, how are you?”
  • Gross motor clumsiness which leads to poor skills in competitive sports and physical activities
  • Hypersensitivity to noises or smells
  • Lack of emotional reciprocity or empathy
  • May begin to talk about the latest topic of concern which is of interest only to themselves (e.g., train schedules), may be age inappropriate or boring but the person does not pick up on looks of disinterest or snickers from the group
  • May move into the personal space of others, not recognizing body language, facial and verbal cues that he/she has transgressed
  • May not make direct eye contact
  • Persistent preoccupation with parts of objects
  • Rigid and inflexible adherence to specific routines or rituals
  • Speech and language peculiarities such as: stilted and formal language, voice too loud or monotone or hyperverbal.
  • Stereotyped and repetitive motor movements
   
The Complete Guide to Teaching Students with High-Functioning Autism
 
 
Personal Challenges for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder—

Listed below are behaviors that a youngster on the Autistic Spectrum might encounter on a daily basis...

Social Interactions:

• inappropriate use of eye contact, avoidance or extended staring
• little sense of other people’s boundaries
• not accepting hugging, cuddling or touching unless self initiated
• poor use of nonverbal gestures
• trouble with back and forth social interactions
• wanting to be left alone at times

Interest and Activities:

• defensive to touch which isn’t self initiated
• difficulty waiting
• history of eating problems
• lack of fear or real danger
• lining up and or/ ordering objects
• pacing or running back and forth, round and round
• repeatedly watching videos or video segments
• resisting change
• strong attachment to inanimate objects
• very sensitive to sounds

Qualitative Impairments in Communication:

• difficulty understanding abstract concepts
• problem understanding jokes
• problem with getting the order of words in sentences correct
• problems answering questions
• problems using speed, tone and volume appropriately
• problems with reciprocal conversations

Learning Characteristics:

• delayed response time
• good visual skills
• hyperactivity
• needs help to problem solve
• problems organizing
• short attention span to some activities and not others
• well developed long term memory

Observable Problems Behaviors:

• aggression- biting, hitting, kicking, pinching
• low motivation
• temper tantrums
• toileting problems

Motor Problems:

• balance
• clumsiness
• motor planning- can’t make body do what it needs to do
• stiffness
• tired easily

 
Environmental Challenges that Lower Ability to Function Competently—

Personal:

- not being understood
- not understanding
- not having choices
- making a mistake
- being touched

Major Changes:

- alterations in school, work, home, community
- time changes
- staff or teacher absent
- cancellation of event or activity
- having to wait too long

Environmental Confusion:

- crowds
- noise
- not having enough space
- losing things of value
- surrounded by too much movement
- surrounded by too much visual stimuli

Relationships:

- being corrected
- being denied
- being late
- being ignored
- being left out
- being teased
- being scolded

Sensory Challenges—

Sound/ Auditory:

- reacts to unexpected sound
- fears some noises
- making self induced noises
- confused about direction of sound
- distracted by certain sounds

Sight/Vision:

- has been diagnosed as having a visual problem
- is sensitive to light
- has difficulty tracking
- upset by things looking different
- closely examines objects or hands

Smell/Olfactory:

- sensitive to smells
- explores environment by smelling
- reacts strongly to some smells
- ignores strong odors

Touch/Tactile:

- defensive about being touched
- prefers deep touching rather than soft
- dislikes feel of certain clothing
- over or under dresses for temperature
- upset by sticky, gooey hands

Taste:

- has an eating problem
- dislikes certain textures or foods
- tastes non-edibles

Movement/Vestibular:

- seems fearful in space
- arches back when held or moved
- likes rocking, swinging, spinning
- avoids balancing activities

Perceptual/Perceptual Motor:

- has difficulty with time perception
- problems with use of some tools
- difficulty with body in space
- relies on knowing location of furniture

Social Skills which may be Personal Challenges—

Personal Management/Self Control:

- waiting
- finishing work
- taking care of belongings
- turning in assignments on time
- changing activities
- accepting correction

Reciprocal Interactions:

- imitating
- sharing
- taking turns
- offering help, comfort
- inviting others to join
- asking for a favor
- letting someone know you are hurt or sick

Reciprocating Social Interactions Appropriately:

- listening
- commenting on a topic
- answering questions
- accepting help
- responding to teasing
- making a choice
- giving eye contact appropriately

Manner of Interaction:

- being polite
- being kind
- being considerate
- being honest
- not walking away when someone is talking

Abstract Social Concepts:

- being good
- timing
- fairness
- friendship
- caring
- lying
- humor

Group Behaviors:

- come when called to a group
- stay in certain places
- participate with group
- follow group rules
- winning and losing
- pick up, clean up, straighten up

 
Effective Behavior Interventions of Problem Behaviors–

What makes kids on the spectrum do what we do?
  • Biological Influences
  • Instructional/ Reinforcement History
  • Setting /Events
  • Stimulus Events

In order to create an effective intervention for problem behaviors, educators (and parents) need to take into consideration a variety of aspects.

1. Hypothesize the function of the behavior

• Social Attention
• Escape/ avoidance
• Wants tangible item or activity
• Sensory Feedback

2. Gather Information

a. Antecedent : Does the behavior occur……

- When you are attending to other people in the room?
- Following a request to perform a difficult task?
- When a request for an item or activity is denied?
- Repeatedly, in the same way, for long periods of time, even when no on is around?

b. Consequence: When the behavior occurs, do others….

- Attend to the student?
- Leave the student alone?
- Negotiate or give the desired item/activity
- Allow the student to engage in inappropriate behavior? 

3. Plan an Intervention

a. Based on information gathered, are environmental changes needed?

- Move student closer to teacher.
- Limit materials available to student.
- Remove distracters.

b. Based on information gathered, determine how people should react to the challenging behavior each time it occurs.

- Plan to ignore.
- Plan to attend.
- Plan to remove privileges.
- Plan to redirect.

4. Identify a Replacement Behavior

a. What appropriate behavior is “functionally equivalent” to the challenging behavior?

- Manipulating a stress ball or twist pen to replace inappropriate hand movements
- Teaching the student to ask if he can use the computer later to replace tantrum behavior
- Teaching student to raise his hand to replace attention-seeking behaviors
- Teaching the student to communicate his wants appropriately to replace escape/ avoidance behaviors

b. Complete replacement behavior planning guide with team…

- Which behavior is the team going to target for replacement?
- What functionally equivalent behavior is the team going to train in place of the problem behavior?
- In what situations will training occur?
- Who will be responsible for conducting the training sessions?
- What motivation system will be implemented during training?
- Describe how the team will evaluate if and how the student uses the new response.

 
Promoting Positive Classroom Behavior of Children—

The suggestions written below can be used to help kids with ASD but can be used in any classroom to help promote a positive atmosphere.

a) Rules - Establish, teach and enforce classroom rules. Rules should be positively stated and identify the specific behaviors you wish to see displayed

b) Premack Principle - Method of maintaining and increasing compliance with rules through the use of positive reinforcement. A desired activity is available to children on the completion of an undesired activity (e.g., a student who stays in their seat for a period of time can earn an opportunity to work on the computer).

c) Contingency Contracts - Children and educators formalize agreements concerning specific behavior for the exchange of reinforcers by writing an agreement. It outlines the behaviors and consequences of a specific behavior management system. (See the link on this site titled "Contracts")

d) Self-Recording - The student monitors his or her own behaviors by using a data collection system. Children can be taught to increase their on task behavior during a class by placing a + in a box when they are paying attention for several minutes and a -–if they are off task.

e) Self-Evaluation - A self-management system that has been used to promote appropriate behavior in many general education programs. Children are taught to evaluate their in class behavior using a rating scale. For example, a student can rate his on task and disruptive behaviors using a 0-5 point rating scale ("unacceptable" to "excellent"). The student earns points (which can be exchanged for reinforcers) based on both student behavior and the accuracy of his ratings. 
 

Ways to Decrease Inappropriate Classroom Behaviors –

Listed below are various ways to decrease inappropriate behaviors and increase appropriate ones for kids with ASD.

- Redirection - Introduce a novel stimulus to recapture the student’s attention by delivering verbal and nonverbal cues to the student to stop misbehavior, offering assistance with a task, engaging him/her in conversation, reminding him/her to focus attention on the task, or modeling calm and controlled behavior.

- Interspersed Requests - Used to motivate children to perform a difficult or unpleasant task by initially asking them to perform several easier tasks, which they can complete successfully in a short amount of time. This helps promote “behavioral momentum”.

- Differential Reinforcement - Techniques used to decrease inappropriate behaviors by reinforcing the occurrence of positive behaviors, which cannot coexist with the appropriate behavior. (See the link on this site titled "Differential Reinforcement")

- Extinction - A strategy in which the positive reinforcers maintaining a behavior are withheld or terminated, resulting in the reduction in the behavior. (See the link on this site titled "What is ABA" ---then read about 'Ignoring')

- Checklists and Schedules - Provide visual structure and motivation needed to complete assignments and remain on task by checking off assignments and activities upon their completion.

Adaptation of Oral Presentations/Lectures for Children—

Some children require modifications to be made in order for them to understand what is being taught. There are various types of adaptations. Listed below are a few which can be used to help any student achieve to their highest potential:

Pausing - to help children retain lecture content pause for 2 minutes every 5-7 consecutive minutes of lecturing. During the pause children can discuss and review content, ask questions or engage in visual imagery.

Visual Aids - Visual supports such as charts, graphs, lists and pictures can be used to highlight main points, maintain attention, promote eye contact and address the needs of visual learners.

Guided Notes - Outlined and guided notes in which the student fills in the blanks provide a foundation for note taking, and promotes on task behavior. Since many kids with ASD have difficulty with fine motor skills such as writing, this is a method that can be implemented to help them throughout lectures.

Active Student Responding (To encourage active participation) choral responding- in which children answer simultaneously on a cue from a teacher during fast paced lessons.

Response Cards - cards are simultaneously held up by all children to display their responses to questions or problems presented by the teacher

Cooperative Learning Groups/ Peer Tutoring - helps with social interaction

Other Strategies—
  • Use repetition by asking children to answer the same questions several times during a class period.
  • Reinforce correct responses and appropriate behavior with descriptive statements that identify what made the answer "right".
  • Group student with peers who participate and attend.
  • Select children randomly to respond and remind them that they may be called on next
  • Change activities frequently
  • Vary the presentation and response modes of instructional activities.
  • Decrease the complexity and syntax of statements.

Affective Education Strategies to Implement in Any Classroom—

Rapport - Maintaining rapport with children can help establish a positive classroom environment. Educators can establish rapport by talking to children about topics in which they are interested, sharing their own interests, providing opportunities for children to perform activities in which they excel, and complimenting children.

Humor - Good-natured joking helps develop a good relationships and a positive classroom atmosphere. Humor helps children see a situation from another perspective and decreases the likelihood of conflicts.

Dialoguing - Dialoging involves meeting with the children to assist them in identifying the problem, discovering their perspective on that problem, phrase it in their words, and discussing solutions for resolving the problem. It helps children understand their behaviors and problem solve alternatives to inappropriate behaviors.

The Complete Guide to Teaching Students with High-Functioning Autism
 

How To Write Social Stories

What is a Social Story?

A social story is a simple method that may be used at home, school, or in the community to teach or maintain social skills, daily living skills, or behavior management skills of kids with Aspergers and High Functioning Autism (HFA).

A social story addresses specific situations by teaching the child appropriate behaviors and responses (e.g., how to cope with changes in routine, how to get along with peers, how to work in the classroom) and provides (a) an explanation of detailed social information (e.g., guidelines for waiting a turn in conversation, sharing, or demonstrating good manners), and (b) desired responses instead of problem behaviors.

The purpose of a social story is to:
  • address a wide variety of problem behaviors (i.e., aggression, fear, obsessions)
  • break goals into easy steps
  • correct child responses to a social situation in a nonthreatening manner
  • describe social situations and appropriate responses
  • help the child cope with both expected and unexpected transitions
  • personalize instruction
  • teach routines for better retention and generalization

How to Write a Social Story—

1. Identify the target behavior you wish change or maintain. Focus on writing the social story about the behavior you want the Aspergers or HFA child to learn or increase (e.g., Kyle’s obsession is “trains.” He focuses on trains to the exclusion of doing homework, and his grades are suffering as a result).

2. Define the target behavior and collect data. To make sure that the social story is effective, parents and the child need to have an identical understanding of what behavior is being targeted. This means that specific descriptive and measurable information must be noted (e.g., to measure the number of times Kyle engages in inappropriate conversations about trains, the parent puts a tally mark for each time that he initiates a conversation about trains).

3. To develop an effective social story, (a) gather information about the child’s interests, abilities, impairments, and motivating factors, (b) observe situations that often present problem behaviors, (c) ask the child for his perspective of the specific target behavior, and (d) determine the topics for the social story.

Example questions to determine the target behavior include:
  1. Does it appear as if the child enjoys performing the behavior?
  2. Does the behavior ever occur following a request to perform a difficult task?
  3. Does the behavior ever occur when the child wants to get a toy, food, or activity that he has been told he can’t have?
  4. Does the behavior occur whenever the adult stops paying attention to the child?
  5. Does the behavior occur when the child is calm and unaware of anything else going on around him?
  6. Would the behavior occur repeatedly in the same way for very long periods of time, if no one was around?

Formula for Developing a Social Story—

The three types of sentences in a social story are:

1. Descriptive – tells where situations occur, who is involved, what they are doing, and why (e.g., "During Homework Time, me and my brother are in our separate bedrooms sitting at our desks. We are either reading or writing so we can get our assignments done before T.V. Time).

2. Perspective – describes the reactions and feelings of the child and of others (e.g., "When I talk about trains instead of doing homework, it makes me get poor grades in Math and Spelling, which makes my mom and the teacher unhappy").

3. Directive – tells the child what to do (e.g., "When I want to talk to my mom or brother about trains, I will have to wait until Free Time").

Photographs, hand-drawn illustrations, or pictorial icons can help aid in the child's understanding of the social story (although some children may be distracted by pictures or may have difficulty generalizing from a picture).

Social stories can be written in book format, bound or placed in a notebook. However, they can also be written on poster board, cardboard, laminated paper, or on a chalk-board.

Using the Social Story in a Real Life Situation—

1. Read the story to the child in a location with few distractions.

2. Briefly explain the importance of a social story (e.g., Discuss with Kyle the importance of completing homework).

3. Read through the story once or twice and, when necessary, model the desired behavior (e.g., After reading with Kyle his social story about waiting for Free Time to talk about trains, the parent pretends to be the brother who comes into Kyle’s room. Kyle is encouraged to tell his brother that he is doing homework and will play later).

4. If needed, create a schedule for the child in which the story is read at the same time and in the same way each time.

5. If needed, read the story just prior to a situation in which the problem behavior is likely to occur (e.g., If Kyle’s problem with talking about trains occurs mainly during Homework Time, it may be helpful to read the social story right before Homework Time each day).

6. Consider providing opportunities for the child to read the social story to other children or adults.

How do you know if the Social Story is working?
  • Observe the child’s behavior and comments when the story is presented.
  • Conduct ongoing data collection on the child’s behavior.
  • Compare your observations to those of others.
  • Collect data now that the story has been implemented and compare the data to the previous data.
  • Determine if the child has acquired, generalized, and maintained the new behavior.

What should you do if the Social Story is NOT working?

If the child has not responded to the social story after an appropriate length of time (varies by target behavior and the time each child requires to learn a new skill), review the social story and how it has been used. If modifications are needed, change only one aspect of the social story at a time (e.g., Change when the story is read. Do not change the words of the story or who reads the story. This helps determine what aspect of the social story works and does not work).

What should you do if the Social Story IS working?
  • Let the social story fade away slowly by extending the time between readings or having the child read the story independently.
  • Work with the child to identify new social skills to address.
  • Create new social stories that address other targeted behaviors.
  • Help the child continue to generalize new behaviors (e.g., The parent could help Kyle generalize “staying focused on homework” rather than the “train obsession” in situations outside of the home, such as school or Boy Scouts).
  • Reintroduce the previous story as needed.

Summary—

A social story helps children with Aspergers and HFA acquire, generalize, and maintain social skills that make them more successful at home, school, and the community.

1. Identify the target behavior.

2. Write the social story taking care that the vocabulary matches the child's age, reading, and functioning level. If possible, write the story with the child.

3. Include any combination of descriptive, perspective, directive, or control sentences.

4. If needed, use pictures, photographs, or icons to aid comprehension.

5. Construct the social story out of materials appropriate for the child’s developmental level using cardboard, poster board, laminated pages, etc.

6. Provide an appropriate routine for the social story to be read.

7. If the child does not appear to be responding to the social story, adjust the content of the story and/or the child's access to the social story.

8. Fade the social story when the desired outcome is maintained and reintroduce if needed (some children may continue to rely on a social story for an extended period of time).

Examples of Social Stories:

The Lunch Room

My school has many rooms. One room is called the lunch room. Usually the children eat lunch in the lunch room. The children hear the lunch bell. The children know the lunch bell tells them to line up at the door. We have a line to be fair to those who have waited the longest. As each person arrives they join the end of the line. When I arrive I will try to join the end of the line. The children are hungry. They want to eat. I will try to stand quietly in the lunch line until it is my turn to buy my lunch. Lunch lines and turtles are both very slow. Sometimes they stop; sometimes they go. My teacher will be pleased that I have waited quietly.

Standing Too Close

Sometimes I talk to the other children in my class. The other children don't like when I stand very close to them. When I stand too closely, it makes my friends feel crowded. If I stand too close, other children sometimes get mad at me. I can back up and stand three feet away from my friends when we talk. It makes my friends happy when I stand three feet away when we talk.


Don't have time to write a social story?  No problem!  We have some for you here in video format. Just sit with your child at the computer and watch them together.

==> Click here for the videos...

Behavior Problems in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

Parents often have difficulty recognizing the difference between variations in “normal behavior” versus “Aspergers-related behavior.” In reality, the line between ‘normal’ and ‘Aspergers behavior’ is not always clear – usually it is a matter of expectation.

A fine line can often divide normal from Aspergers teen behavior, in part because what is normal depends upon the teen's level of development, which can vary among teens of the same age. Development can be uneven, too, with a teen's social development lagging behind his intellectual growth, or vice versa. In addition, normal teen behavior is in part determined by the particular situation and time, as well as by the teen's own particular family values, expectations, and cultural or social background.

Understanding your Aspergers (high-functioning autistic) teen's developmental progress is necessary in order to interpret, accept or adapt his behavior (as well as your own). Remember, teens have great individual variations of temperament, development and behavior – especially when they have to deal with the Aspergers condition.

Your responses, as a parent, are guided by whether you see the adolescent's behavior as a problem. Frequently, parents over-interpret or over-react to a minor, normal short-term change in the teen’s behavior. At the other extreme, moms and dads may ignore or downplay a serious problem. Also, they may seek quick, simple answers to what are, in fact, complex Aspergers teen problems. All of these responses to teen behavior may create more difficulty or prolong a resolution.

Adolescent behavior that moms and dads tolerate, disregard or consider acceptable differs from one family to another. Some of the differences come from the parent’s unique upbringing. They may have had very strict parents themselves, and the expectations of their kids follow accordingly. Some behavior is considered a problem when parents feel that others are judging them for their teen's behavior. This leads to inconsistent responses from the parent, who may tolerate behavior at home that he/she would not tolerate in public.

Sometimes moms and dads feel so hurt by their Aspergers teen’s behavior that they respond by returning the “disrespect” – which is a mistake. Teens know that they still need their parents even if they can't admit it. The rollercoaster they put the parent on is also the one they're feeling internally. As the parent, you need to stay calm and try to weather this teenage rebellion phase, which usually passes by the time a child is 16 or 17.

But no one's saying your Aspergers teenager should be allowed to be truly nasty or to curse at you, for example. When this happens, you have to enforce basic behavior standards. By letting your teenager know that you're here for him no matter what, you make it more likely that he'll let down his guard and confide in you once in a while.

My Aspergers Teen: Discipline for Defiant Aspergers Teens

Finding Hidden Meaning Behind Problematic Behaviors in Kids with ASD

"Question: How to know what triggers my son's (high functioning autistic) difficult behavior? Thanks in advance!"

Many parents of children with ASD - Level 1 [High-Functioning Autism] have discovered that some of their youngster’s behaviors make no obvious sense and do not serve any clear purpose. But when these children engage in “odd” or confusing behavior, they are also sending the parent hidden clues about things that are important to them. Thus, it’s the parent’s job is to break the code so she can interpret the clues.

By becoming more like a “detective,” parents can begin to notice coded messages they didn’t see before, and as a result, find more effective ways to help their “special needs” youngster. Becoming a good detective also helps parents respond more carefully to peculiar behaviors so they don’t unintentionally reinforce or reward them.

Parents of autistic children can begin to develop “investigator skills” by recording problematic behaviors, similar to how Jane Goodall studied chimpanzees. For example: 
  • Is the child attempting to avoid a demanding task?
  • What activities or interactions take place just prior to the problematic behavior? 
  • Does the same thing often happen first?
  • What time do these events most often happen?
  • Are there any settings where the behavior does not occur?
  • In what settings is the behavior observed? 
  • Is the behavior problem associated with certain social or environmental conditions? 
  • What usually happens immediately after the behavior? 
  • Who is present when the behavior occurs?

 ==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism

Most difficult behaviors are triggered by an event. Just as you might suddenly feel thirsty as you walk past a lemonade stand, there are “triggers” in your youngster’s life that elicit certain behaviors. Use a diary to try to identify these triggers for your youngster’s most challenging behaviors. Instead of getting upset with your child when he or she acts-out, look for how the context is out of synch with him or her. View the incident as an opportunity to learn more about your child.



Here is a good example of items to list in your diary:

Behavioral Investigation—

Date: ______
  1. Describe the behavior of concern: _______________
  2. How can I tell the behavior is about to start? _______________
  3. How intense is the behavior? _______________
  4. How long does it last? _______________
  5. How often does the behavior occur? _______________
  6. What behavior(s) might serve the same function for my child that is appropriate within the social/environmental context? _______________
  7. What conditions are most likely to precipitate (“set-off”) the behavior? _______________
  8. What does my child get or avoid? _______________
  9. What is happening when the behavior occurs? _______________
  10. What is the likely function (intent) of the behavior (i.e., why do I think my child behaves this way)? _______________
  11. What usually happens after the behavior? _______________
  12. When/where is the behavior most/least likely to occur? _______________
  13. With whom is the behavior most/least likely to occur? _______________
  14. What other information might contribute to creating an effective behavioral intervention plan (e.g., under what conditions does the behavior not occur)? _______________

Cognitive, Behavioral, and Moral Inflexibility in Kids on the Autism Spectrum 



Here are some crucial things to consider when doing your investigation:

1. As with any child, being hungry, thirsty, or tired can make your youngster grouchy. A chronic illness or low-grade infection can cause behavioral issues as well. Try to discover any – and all – possible sources of pain (e.g., abscesses, broken bones, bruises, cuts and splinters, gut, infections, acid reflux, sprains, teeth, etc.).

2. Consider sensory and emotional regulation. Your youngster’s sensory experiences are very different from the “typical” child. He is likely easily overwhelmed by information coming in through the senses (e.g., loud noises) and isn’t getting enough input from the senses responsible for self-awareness and regulation. We all know about the five senses: taste, touch, smell, sound, and sight. But there are two additional senses that are important to understand: the vestibular sense (controls balance) and proprioception (the sense of one’s body in space). In many autistic children, some of the information from these senses is too little, too much, or distorted –  leading to feelings of anxiety, physical pain, or disengagement. As a result, the child may “act-out” behaviorally as a way to cope.

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with High-Functioning Autism

3. Coordination problems can contribute to stress and behavior issues. For example, as anyone who has ever been picked last for a team knows, gym class can be nerve-wracking. If your youngster has trouble undoing zippers or buttons, the short time allotted for bathroom breaks or locker room changes can add tremendous pressure. Also, if the child walks awkwardly, negotiating a crowded hallway between classes is anxiety-producing. These issues often influence “acting-out” behaviors that, unfortunately, may result in the child receiving some form of punishment.

4. Peer-rejection is a big contributor to difficult behaviors. For example, maybe your son realizes he has no friends, so recess time is particularly tough for him. Also, do some investigation to see if bullying or teasing is an issue.

5. Attention-span difficulties can influence behavior, resulting in unwarranted punishment from teachers. For example, your youngster may “tune-out” during class because the teacher or the subject matter isn’t engaging enough. Talk with your child’s teacher if this appears to be an issue.

6. Some problematic behaviors, especially those that seem abrupt or particularly odd, may be due to seizures. If you think this could be an issue, keep a very careful record of what you observe. Also, see if your youngster’s teacher has similar observations.

7. Changes in home-life can contribute to behavior problems (e.g., health crisis, job change, move, new sibling, mom and dad going through a divorce, etc.). Often times, well-meaning parents think their “special needs” child is handling everything fine, so there is no reason to be concerned. But if parents are stressed about something, chances are their youngster will be, too – especially if she is powerless to do anything about it.

8. Try to identify any food sensitivities or allergies that could be troubling your youngster. Look for the signs of a problem in this area (e.g., red/flushed cheeks or ears, diarrhea within a few hours of eating a particular food, etc.). Food sensitivity is often one of the biggest contributors to “mysterious” and sudden changes in behavior.

In summary, rather than viewing your child’s behavior as “misbehavior,” look attentively for the clues that he or she is sending by conducting your own investigation. With a little good detective work, parents can narrow down exactly what initiates certain unwanted behaviors. Then, once the problem has been identified, parents are in a much better position to employ effective prevention and intervention strategies.

Calming Techniques for High-Functioning Autistic Children

"What are some things I can do as a parent of a 6-year-old autistic son (high-functioning) to help him calm down when he has a temper tantrum (which usually results in him hurting himself or destroying something in the house)? He just started the first grade, and his teacher is already having issues with his behavior as well."

In order to understand what calming techniques will work, you will first need to determine what things excite and upset your high-functioning autistic (HFA) son, and have some understanding of the context in which he is throwing a tantrum.

1. Make sure your child knows what the expectations are, and do not confuse the issue with trying to talk to him about things at a time when he is already upset.

2. Try to redirect him to an alternative activity -- something that he enjoys. 

3. If this does not stop the tantrum, tell him to stop. Don't add any extras, just STOP -- calmly and directly.

4. If he still doesn't stop, provide some physical redirection to an area where he can calm down. It can be very effective to call this his SAFE place. It may include a bean-bag chair, where he can sit. But, eliminate any extras in the area, such as toys, or other preferred items. If he doesn't voluntarily go to his SAFE place, physically escort him there.


5. Tell him he must be calm for 5 minutes before he can get up.

This may seem like a overly simple process in order to deal with what may be a challenging behavior. The key is to be consistent, so that he will always know what is coming. If the child is in school, try to provide this program across all environments.

It is amazing how many HFA children will actually learn to go to their SAFE place independently, as a way for them to control themselves. We want them to self-monitor their behavior and show them that we believe they have the ability to calm themselves down.
 

There are no easy and quick fixes to reduce or eliminate severe behavioral problems (e.g., self-injury, aggressiveness, severe tantrums and destructiveness). There may be, however, a few fixes that may not require an incredible amount of time and effort to implement:

1. One possible reason for behavioral problems may be difficulties in receptive language. HFA kids often have poor auditory processing skills. As a result, they often do not understand what people are saying to them (i.e., they hear the words but they do not understand what the words mean). The child’s lack of understanding can lead to confusion and frustration, which can escalate into behavior problems. Visual communication systems can be useful in teaching and in informing kids of what is planned and what is expected of them.

2. Behavioral problems may also be due to difficulties in expressive language. In fact, many researchers feel strongly that the majority of behavioral problems are simply due to poor expressive communication skills. There are numerous communication strategies, such as the Picture Exchange Communication System and Simultaneous Communication (i.e., using speech and sign language at the same time) which can be used to teach expressive communication skills.

3. Food allergies are an often overlooked cause of behavior problems. Some kids may have red ears, red cheeks, or dark circles under their eyes. These are often signs of food allergies. The most common allergens are dairy and wheat products, food preservatives, and food coloring. Some of the symptoms associated with food allergies are headaches, tantrums, feelings of nausea or spaciness, and stomach aches. As a result, the child is less tolerant of others and he/she may be more likely to strike out at others or have a tantrum.

Since many of these kids have poor communication skills, the parent and/or teacher may not be aware that the child is not feeling well. The child should be tested if food allergies are suspected. If the child tests positive for certain foods, then these products should be eliminated from his/her diet.

4. If the child’s behavior is worse at school but not at home, there are many possible reasons, such as a lack of consistency. There are, however, several physical causes that should be considered. Two possible causes, which are seldom considered, are cleaning solvents and florescent classroom lighting. Janitors often use powerful chemicals to clean the classroom. Although the smell may be gone by the next day, the chemical residue may still be in the air and on surfaces. Breathing these chemicals may affect sensitive people. During the day, students often place their hands and face on the tables and floors, and these chemicals can eventually wind up in the child’s mouth and alter brain functioning and behavior. Many parents and teachers wipe the students’ desks with water or a natural cleaning solution prior to class each morning, and they have reported rather remarkable improvements in the students’ behaviors.

Florescent lighting, which is the most common lighting used in classrooms, may also affect behavior. Many adults with autism report that florescent lights bothered them greatly during their school years. In addition, U.C.L.A. researchers observed more repetitive, self-stimulatory behaviors under florescent lighting compared to incandescent lighting. Teachers may want to turn off the florescent lighting in their classroom for a few days to see if there is a decrease in behavioral problems for some or all of the students. During this trial period, the teacher can use natural light from the windows and/or incandescent lights.
 

5. In many instances, a behavior problem is a reaction to a request or demand made by a caregiver/teacher. The child may have learned that he/she can escape or avoid such situations, such as working on a task, by ‘acting up.’ A functional assessment of the child’s behavior (i.e., antecedents, consequences, context of the behavior) may reveal certain relationships between the behavior and the function the behavior serves. If avoidance is the function the behavior serves, the caregiver/teacher should follow through with all requests and demands he/she makes to the child. If the child is able to escape or avoid such situations, even only some of the time, the behavior problem will likely continue.

6. It is also important to consider the child’s level of arousal when formulating a strategy to treat behavioral problems. Sometimes behavioral problems occur when the child is overly excited. This can occur when the child is anxious and/or when there is too much stimulation in the environment. In these cases, treatment should be aimed at calming the child.

Some popular calming techniques include: vigorous exercise (e.g., a stationary bicycle) which would act as a release of their high excitement level, vestibular stimulation (e.g., slow swinging), and deep pressure (e.g., Temple Grandin’s Hug Machine). In some cases, behavioral problems may be due to a low level of arousal such as when the child is passive or bored. Behaviors such as aggression and destructiveness may be exciting, and thus appealing, to some of these kids. If one suspects behavior problems are due to underarousal, the child should be kept busy or active. Vigorous exercise is another good way to increase arousal level.

7. Many families are giving their children safe nutritional supplements, such as Vitamin B6 with magnesium and Di-methyl-glycine (DMG). Nearly half have reported a reduction in behavioral problems as well as improvements in the child’s general well-being. Sometimes powerful drugs are prescribed to autistic kids to treat their behavior. Interestingly, the most commonly prescribed drug for autistic children is Ritalin. A survey conducted by the Autism Research Institute in San Diego revealed that 45% of 2,788 parents felt that Ritalin made their child’s behavior worse and only 20% reported improvement (27% of parents of autistic children felt that Ritalin made no difference).

8. Occasionally a child may exhibit a behavior problem at school but not at home, or vice versa. For example, the parent may have already developed a strategy to stop the behavior at home, but the teacher is unaware of this strategy. It is important that the parent and teacher discuss the child’s behavioral problems since one of them may have already discovered a solution to handle the behavior.

More resources for parents of children and teens with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's:

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book


==> Parenting System that Reduces Problematic Behavior in Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism


 COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said... A weighted blanket. Or a calm room at school.
•    Anonymous said... At home, we started with a lycra style sensory swing. Then once he sort of brought it down a notch we started sending him to his room (most of our meltdowns were also correlated with bad behavior), in his room we have a heavy comforter, a bean bag, a DVD player with story DVDs and we recently added a lycra sheet on his bed. We set the timer based on his offense and willingness to go to his room, he usually first goes right under his bean bag then he will usually lay on the bean bag with the heavy comforter and watch a story, or read a book. At school, we had to change programs.
•    Anonymous said... change is very difficult for them,does he have a therapy aid at school?
•    Anonymous said... Failing that a tent in the corner of the classroom?
•    Anonymous said... For my son, "tantrums or meltdowns" were usually the result of some anxiety that he didn't know how to handle. Figuring out what the problem was and teaching him to deal with it was helpful but was a process. My son needed to be able to leave the classroom which was very stimulating. Sometimes the hallway or even the OT room. We found that a certain book that played music worked to calm him at home and as he got older he started using it in his own. Sometimes I would Just hold him tight. If you pay close attention you will be able to figure out what works for him. Listen to your gut and remember that no one knows and loves him like you. It was very hard for our family at that age. He is 13 now and things have gotten so much better. There is hope!
•    Anonymous said... Get the best professional help while he is a little boy.
•    Anonymous said... Most meltdowns are a result of anxiety/stress/upsets. Fix the cause (whatis upsetting the child) and the meltdowns will ease off. Significantly.
•    Anonymous said... My 7yr just finished a 10 session program with his OT called the Alert Program - How Does Your Engine Run. It was awesome and he is sooo much better now for it. It helps the kids to recognise how their body is feeling and what types of things help them to get their 'engine' running just right. I can't say enough about it - absolutely amazing!!! My son would yell, throw things, hurt kids, bang and slam furniture/doors etc. We get the occasional growl or stomping feet when he is REALLY worked up, but the majority of the time we can nip it in the bud with what we both learnt at these sessions
•    Anonymous said... My son's teachers allowed him to pick a place in the classroom that he could go to when he felt upset. It seemed like it helped a lot. One year it was under the row of "cubbies" and coat hooks. It was usually only for a few minutes, but seemed to help him. Now that he is a little older they have a resource room between the classrooms and he can sit in there until he calms himself.
•    Anonymous said... Needs a good routine at school, talk to teacher and tell her parts of your routine at home, All about routine and prompts. I always use the clock, when change occur, always a quick 10 minute reminder, AS children love knowing what's set out for them in the day, as you know they don't really like change. Sleep is another important issue. I hope this has helped you.
•    Anonymous said... Prevention.
•    Anonymous said... Rescue Remedy!!!!

Post your comment below…

My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the ASD child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually.

Click here to read the full article…

How to Prevent Meltdowns in Children on the Spectrum

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's or HFA child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and your child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

Click here for the full article...

Parenting Defiant Teens on the Spectrum

Although Aspergers [high-functioning autism] is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager on the spectrum are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

Click here to read the full article…

Older Teens and Young Adult Children with ASD Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with ASD face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

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Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

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Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and HFA

Become an expert in helping your child cope with his or her “out-of-control” emotions, inability to make and keep friends, stress, anger, thinking errors, and resistance to change.

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My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content