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

The Functional Analytic Approach to Behavior Modification for Kids on the Autism Spectrum

A “functional analytic approach” to developing effective behavioral modification in Aspergers and high-functioning autistic (HFA) children and teens utilizes a process known as “functional behavioral assessment.” Functional behavioral assessment involves employing a variety of strategies (e.g., child-centered planning, treatment team meetings, systematic interviews, direct observations, etc.) to formulate hypotheses about why a child behaves the way she does.

In order to accomplish a functional behavioral assessment, several assumptions about behavior must be regarded as valid:

• Behavior has communicative value. Though it is generally accepted that all behavior has communicative value, it is important to remember that children with Aspergers and HFA generally do not have a behavioral intent to disrupt classroom settings, but instead problematic behaviors may arise from other needs (e.g., self-protection in stressful situations). Although children with the disorder typically have excellent language skills, their ability to use communication effectively in a social context may be limited. Inappropriate behavior may be the only available communicative response to difficult situations until other options are learned.

• Behavior is context related. All children demonstrate some level of variability in behavior across different settings. This is just as true for children on the autism spectrum. In fact, understanding how the environment impacts a child is one of the chief outcomes of a functional behavioral assessment. This information has particular value for preventive methods or to set the stage for teaching alternative skills. Effective behavioral support is contingent on understanding the child, the context in which he operates, and the reason(s) for behavior.

• Behavior is functional. Behavior serves a specific purpose(s). For children with Aspergers and HFA, these functions may be expressed in highly idiosyncratic and often complex verbal ways.

Though there is some disagreement about the best way to conduct a comprehensive functional behavioral assessment, most clinicians are in agreement about the key outcomes of such an assessment. They are:
  • identification of the consequences that maintain behavior (i.e., once a behavior starts, what keeps it going over time?)
  • description of situations most commonly associated with the occurrence of problematic behavior
  • clear and unambiguous description of the problematic behavior(s)

A functional behavioral assessment should provide information that:
  • guides the development of supports that are logically connected
  • increases understanding of the child
  • describes the physical and social setting(s) in which the behavior occurs
  • describes the problem behavior itself

Once an understanding of problem behaviors is achieved, it is helpful to come up with a behavioral modification plan. A good behavioral modification plan includes focus on:
  • expanding beyond consequence strategies (e.g., time outs)
  • preventing the occurrence of problem behavior
  • teaching socially acceptable alternatives to problem behavior (especially alternatives that serve the same purpose as the problem behavior and therefore are more likely to be adopted by the child)



Next, the clinician should use a comprehensive format for outlining multi-component supports that addresses the following:
  1. Antecedent/setting event strategies
  2. Alternative skills training
  3. Consequence strategies
  4. Long-term prevention

Let’s look at each of these areas:

1. Antecedent/setting event strategy: The primary goals of this strategy are to prevent or reduce the likelihood of problem behavior and to set the stage for learning more adaptive skills over time. For example, many children on the spectrum have difficulty with noisy, crowded environments. Therefore, the newly arrived middle school student who becomes physically aggressive in the hallway during passing periods may need an accommodation of leaving class a minute or two early to avoid the congestion which provokes this behavior. Over time, the student may learn to negotiate the hallways simply by being more accustomed to the situation, or by being given specific instruction or support.

Key issues to address when discussing this strategy are:
  • What can be done to eliminate the problem (i.e., the antecedent condition)?
  • What can be done to modify the situation if it can’t be eliminated entirely?
  • Will the antecedent strategy need to be permanent, or is it a temporary "fix" which allows the student to increase skills needed to manage the situation in the future?

The importance of using antecedent strategies should not be underestimated. Kids with Aspergers and HFA often have to manage a great amount of personal stress. Striking a balance of short and long term accommodations through manipulating antecedents to problem behavior is often critical in setting the stage for later skill development.

2. Alternative Skills Training: The primary purpose of this strategy is to teach skills that replace problem behavior by serving the same purpose as the challenging behavior. For example, a student with the disorder may have trouble "entering" into a kickball game by asking to play and instead simply inserts himself into the game, thereby offending the other players and risking exclusion. Instead, the youngster can be coached on how and when to ask to enter into the game.

Here is a particularly useful framework for guiding efforts towards teaching alternative skills by examining the following three categories:

A. Equivalence training
B. General skills training
C. Self-regulation training

A. Equivalence training requires support persons to ask the following sequential questions:
  • How will alternative skills be taught?
  • What alternative skill(s) will be taught which serves the same function as the problem behavior?
  • What is the function of the problem behavior?

B. General “skills training” requires asking the following sequential questions:
  • How will alternative skills be taught?
  • What other academic, social, or communication skills will be taught that will prevent the problem behavior from occurring?
  • What skill deficits are contributing to the problem behavior?

C. Self-regulation training requires asking the following sequential questions:
  • How will skills be taught?
  • What events appear to be contributing to the child's anger or frustration in reference to the problem behavior?
  • What self-control skills will be taught to help the child deal with difficult/frustrating situations?

One particularly relevant means to teach alternative skills is through the use of self-management strategies. Self-management is a procedure in which Aspergers and HFA children are taught to discriminate their own target behavior and record the occurrence or absence of that target behavior. Self-management is a particularly useful technique to assist children to achieve greater levels of independent or even inter-dependent functioning across many settings and situations.

By learning self-management techniques, children can become more self-directed and less dependent on continuous supervision and control. Instead of teaching situation specific behaviors, self-management teaches a more general skill that can be applied in an unlimited number of settings.

Self-management strategies have particular relevance and immediate utility for children on the autism spectrum. The basic steps for teaching self-management are:
  • clearly define the target behavior
  • identify child reinforcers
  • design or choose a self-management method or recording device
  • teach the child to use the self-management device
  • teach self-management independence

It is also important for teachers to monitor their own behavior when working with "special needs" students. Each time a teacher reprimands a child for misbehavior, an opportunity to reframe the moment in terms of the child's need to develop alternative skills through a means such as self-management training may be lost.

3. Consequence strategies: Though consequences have traditionally been framed in terms of how they reduce problem behavior as a form of discipline, reframing consequences in terms of “reinforcement for achieving alternative behaviors” should be the focus for Aspergers and HFA kids. One way to reframe the use of consequences is to develop them as “planned responses to instructional situations.” This shifting of the use of consequences does not mean that negative consequences should be eliminated (especially in moments of crisis), but that multiple negative consequences are likely to heighten anxiety levels for the child and compete with teaching alternative skills.

4. Long-term prevention: In the presence of immediate behavioral concerns, it may be difficult to come up with a long-term approach to a child's educational program. However, it is critical that plans for supporting a child over the long-term be outlined from the beginning. Many supports with the most relevance for kids on the spectrum (e.g., specific accommodations, peer supports, social skills, self-management strategies, etc.) must be viewed as procedures that are developed progressively as the youngster moves through school. These are not “crisis management” techniques, but the very strategies that can decrease crisis situations from developing.

Those involved with the child will need to collaborate on a behavioral modification plan that is clear and easily implemented. Once developed, the plan will need to be monitored across settings. Inconsistencies in expectations and behaviors will only serve to heighten the challenges demonstrated by the child.

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

==> Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

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Identifying the Underlying Causes of “Difficult Behavior” in Kids on the Spectrum

"As a teacher, I would like to ask you what method you use to find the real reasons [or triggers] for behavior problems in students with high functioning autism?"

In order to identify the underlying causes of difficult behaviors in children with Asperger’s (AS) and High-Functioning Autism (HFA), a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) must be performed. An FBA is an approach that incorporates a variety of techniques to diagnose the causes and to identify likely interventions intended to address difficult behaviors.

An FBA looks beyond the actual problem behavior, and instead, focuses on identifying biological, social, affective, and environmental factors that initiate, sustain, or end the problem behavior in question. The FBA is important because it leads the researcher beyond the "symptom" (i.e., the behavior) to the child's underlying motivation to escape, avoid, or get something (i.e., the cause of the behavior). Behavior intervention plans stemming from the knowledge of why a child misbehaves are extremely useful in addressing a wide range of issues.



The “functions” of behavior are not usually considered inappropriate. Rather, it is the behavior itself that is judged appropriate or inappropriate. For example, getting good grades and engaging in problematic behavior may serve the same function (e.g., to get attention), but the behaviors that lead to good grades are judged to be more appropriate than those that make up acting-out behavior.

As an example, if the IEP team determines through an FBA that a child is seeking attention by misbehaving, they can develop a plan to teach the child more appropriate ways to gain attention, thus fulfilling the child's need for attention with an alternative behavior that serves the same function as the inappropriate behavior. By incorporating an FBA into the IEP process, team members can develop a plan that teaches “replacement behaviors” that serve the same function as the difficult behavior.

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

Before an FBA can be implemented, it is necessary to identify the behavior that is causing problems, and to define that behavior in concrete terms that are easy to communicate and simple to measure and record. If descriptions of behaviors are vague (e.g., child has a “bad attitude”), it is difficult to determine appropriate interventions.

It will be necessary to observe the child's behavior in different settings and during different types of activities, and to conduct interviews with parents and teachers in order to identify the specific traits of the behavior. Once the difficult behavior has been defined concretely, the IEP team can begin to devise a plan for conducting an FBA to determine the functions of the behavior.

Since difficult behavior stems from a variety of causes, it is best to examine the behavior from as many different angles as possible. The IEP team should assess what the "pay-off" for engaging in problem behavior is, or what the child escapes/avoids/gets by engaging in the problem behavior. This assessment will enable the team to identify workable techniques for developing and conducting an FBA and developing behavior interventions.

When carrying out these tasks, the IEP team should find answers to a few critical questions. Addressing these questions will assist the team in determining the necessary components of the assessment plan, and will lead to more effective behavior intervention plans. Questions to ask include the following:
  • Are there any settings where the problem behavior does not occur?
  • Does the child find any value in engaging in appropriate behavior?
  • Does the child have the skills necessary to perform expected behaviors?
  • Does the child realize that he is engaging in unacceptable behavior, or has that behavior simply become a "habit"? 
  • Does the child understand the behavioral expectations for the situation? 
  • In what settings is the problem behavior observed? 
  • Is it possible that the child is uncertain about the appropriateness of the behavior?
  • Is it within the child's power to control the behavior, or does she need support? 
  • Is the behavior problem associated with certain social or environmental conditions? 
  • Is the child attempting to avoid a demanding task?
  • Is there a more acceptable behavior that might replace this behavior? 
  • Is there evidence to suggest that the child does not know how to perform the skill – and therefore can’t? 
  • What activities or interactions take place just prior to the behavior? 
  • What current rules, routines, or expectations does the child consider irrelevant?
  • What usually happens immediately after the behavior? 
  • Who is present when the behavior occurs?



Interviews with the child may be useful in identifying how he perceived the situation and what caused him to act in the way he did. Questionnaires, motivational scales, and checklists can also be used to structure indirect assessments of behavior. For example:

1. Hypothesis statement— Drawing on information that emerges from the analysis, school staff can establish a “working hypothesis” regarding the function of the behaviors in question. This hypothesis predicts the general conditions under which the behavior is most - and least - likely to occur, as well as the likely consequences that serve to maintain it.

2. Direct assessment— Direct assessment involves observing and recording situational factors surrounding a difficult behavior (e.g., antecedent and consequent events). A member of the IEP team may observe the behavior in the setting that it is likely to occur, and record data using an Antecedent- Behavior- Consequence (ABC) approach.

3. Data analysis— Once the IEP team is satisfied that enough data have been collected, they should compare and analyze the data. This analysis will help the team to determine whether or not there are any patterns associated with the behavior. If patterns can’t be determined, the team should revise the FBA to identify other methods for assessing behavior.

After collecting data on a child's behavior, and after developing a hypothesis of the function of that behavior, the IEP team should develop the child's behavior intervention plan. It is helpful to use the data collected during the FBA to develop the plan and to determine the discrepancy between the youngster's actual and expected behavior.

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

Intervention plans emphasizing the skills that AS and HFA children need in order to behave in a more appropriate manner will be more effective than plans that simply serve to control behavior. Interventions based upon “control” often fail to generalize (i.e., fail to continue to be used for long periods of time, in many settings, and in a variety of situations). Control measures usually only serve to suppress behavior, resulting in the youngster meeting unaddressed needs in alternative, inappropriate ways.

It is good practice for IEP teams to include two evaluation procedures in an intervention plan:
  • one designed to measure changes in behavior
  • one designed to monitor the accuracy with which the plan is implemented

In addition, IEP teams must determine a timeline for implementation and reassessment, and specify the degree of behavior change consistent with the goal of the overall intervention.

To be meaningful, plans need to be reviewed at least annually and revised as needed. However, the plan may be reviewed and re-evaluated whenever any member of the youngster's IEP team feels that a review is necessary. Circumstances that may warrant a review include the following:
  • It is clear that the original behavior intervention plan is not bringing about positive changes in the child's behavior.
  • The situation has changed, and the behavioral interventions no longer address the current needs of the child.
  • The youngster has reached his behavioral goals and objectives, and new goals and objectives need to be established.
  • The IEP team makes a change in placement.

If done correctly, the net result of an FBA is that school personnel are better able to provide an educational environment that addresses the special learning needs of the AS/HFA child.

CLICK HERE for an example of a completed Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) form…

CLICK HERE for a blank FBA and Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) form…


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

Trouble-Shooting Tips for Teachers of Asperger's/HFA Students


“Would you happen to have a snapshot or simple summary of strategies my HFA son’s teacher could use to help him cope with school-related anxiety. He gets stressed-out over something, and then has a meltdown, which his teacher seems unable to deal with effectively. I need something (like a fact sheet) that she can refer to quickly when in the middle of a crisis. Thank you.”

Sure thing! I’ll try to keep it short and to the point...

Dear Teacher,

In order to create an effective intervention for problem behaviors associated with Asperger's and High Functioning Autism (HFA), follow these steps:

1. Hypothesize the function of the problem behavior (e.g., escape/avoidance, sensory feedback, social attention, wants tangible item or activity, etc.).

2. Gather information.

a. Antecedent— Does the problem behavior occur:
  • Following a request to perform a difficult task?
  • Repeatedly, in the same way for long periods of time, even when no one is around? 
  • When a request for an item or activity is denied? 
  • When you are attending to other students in the classroom?

b. Consequence— When the problem behavior occurs, do you:
  • Allow the child to engage in inappropriate behavior?
  • Attend to the child? 
  • Leave the child alone? 
  • Negotiate or give the desired item/activity



3. Plan an intervention.

a. Based on information gathered, are environmental changes needed (e.g., remove distracters, move the student closer to you, limit materials available to the child, etc.)?

b. Based on information gathered, determine how people should react to the problem behavior each time it occurs (e.g., plan to remove privileges, plan to redirect, plan to ignore, plan to attend, etc.).

4. Identify a replacement behavior.

a. What appropriate behavior is “functionally equivalent” to the problem behavior?
  • Teach the child to communicate his wants appropriately to replace escape/avoidance behaviors.
  • Teach the child to ask if he can use the computer later to replace tantrum behavior.
  • Manipulate a stress ball or twist pen to replace inappropriate hand movements.
  • Teach the child to raise his hand to replace attention-seeking behaviors.

b. Complete replacement behavior planning guide with a team:
  • How will the team evaluate if - and how - the child uses the new response?
  • In what situations will training occur? 
  • What functionally equivalent behavior is the team going to train in place of the challenging behavior? 
  • What motivation system will be implemented during training? 
  • Which behavior is the team going to target for replacement? 
  • Who will be responsible for conducting the training sessions?

Good luck!


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

Early Childhood Intervention for Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism

“What are the most important treatment strategies or program goals for treating younger children with Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism?”

Although treatment programs may differ in philosophy and emphasis on particular treatment strategies, they share many common goals. There is a growing consensus that important components of effective early childhood intervention for Asperger’s and HFA include the following:
  • entry into treatment as soon as a diagnosis is “seriously considered” rather than deferring until a “definitive” diagnosis is made
  • functional adaptive skills that prepare the youngster for increased responsibility and independence
  • functional, spontaneous communication skills
  • implementation of techniques to apply learned skills to new environments and situations (i.e., generalization) and to maintain functional use of these skills
  • in the educational setting, low student-to-teacher ratio to allow sufficient amounts of one-on-one time and small-group instruction to meet specific individualized goals
  • inclusion of a family component, including parent training
  • incorporation of a high degree of structure (e.g., predictable routine, visual activity schedules, clear physical boundaries to minimize distractions, etc.)
  • ongoing measurement and documentation of the youngster's progress toward educational objectives, resulting in adjustments in programming when needed
  • promotion of opportunities for interaction with “typically developing” peers to the extent that these opportunities are helpful in addressing specified educational goals
  • provision of intensive intervention with active engagement of the youngster at least 25 hours per week, 12 months per year
  • provision of developmentally appropriate educational activities designed to address identified objectives
  • reduction of disruptive or maladaptive behavior by using empirically supported strategies, including functional assessment (see below)
  • social skills (e.g., joint attention, imitation, reciprocal interaction, initiation, self-management, etc.)
  • traditional readiness skills and academic skills as developmentally needed
  • use of assessment-based curricula that address cognitive skills (e.g., symbolic play, perspective taking, etc.)



Applied Behavior Analysis—

One of the most important methods for treating younger children with Asperger’s and HFA is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), which is a process used to systematically change behavior and to demonstrate that the interventions used are responsible for the observable improvement in behavior. ABA techniques are used to:
  • generalize behaviors to new environments and situations
  • increase and maintain desirable adaptive behaviors
  • narrow the conditions under which maladaptive behaviors occur
  • reduce interfering maladaptive behaviors
  • teach new skills

ABA focuses on the reliable measurement and objective evaluation of observable behavior within relevant settings (e.g., home, school, community, etc.). The effectiveness of ABA in treating children with Asperger’s and HFA has been well documented through five decades of research by using single-subject methodology and in controlled studies of comprehensive early behavioral intervention programs in university and community settings. Kids on the spectrum who receive early intensive behavioral treatment have been shown to make significant and sustained gains in academic performance, adaptive behavior, IQ, language, and social behavior. Also, outcomes have been significantly better than those of kids in control groups.

Discrete Trial Training—

Comprehensive early intervention programs for kids on the autism spectrum (e.g., Young Autism Project) rely heavily on Discrete Trial Training (DTT) methodology, but this is only one of many techniques used within the field of ABA. DTT methods are useful in establishing learning readiness by teaching foundation skills (e.g., attention, compliance, imitation, discrimination learning, etc.). This methodology has been criticized because (a) there have been problems with generalization of learned behaviors to spontaneous use in natural environments, and (b) the highly structured teaching environment is not representative of natural adult-child interactions. However, traditional ABA techniques have been modified to address these issues. Thus, DTT is still a very useful tool in the therapist’s toolbox.

Functional Behavior Analysis—

Functional Behavior Analysis (FBA) is an important aspect of behaviorally-based treatment of unwanted behaviors in children with Asperger’s and HFA. Most problem behaviors serve an adaptive function of some type and are reinforced by their consequences (e.g., attainment of adult attention; attainment of a desired object, activity, or sensation; escape from an undesired situation or demand). FBA is an empirically-based method of gathering information that can be used to maximize the effectiveness of behavioral support interventions. It includes:
  • formulating a clear description of the problem behavior
  • identifying the frequency and intensity of the problem behavior
  • identifying the antecedents, consequences, and other environmental factors that maintain the behavior
  • developing hypotheses that specify the motivating function of the behavior
  • collecting direct observational data to test the hypothesis

FBA also is helpful in identifying antecedents and consequences that are associated with increased frequency of desirable behaviors so that they can be used to evoke new adaptive behaviors.

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

Helping Students with Aspergers: A Snapshot for Teachers

Children with Aspergers (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 Aspergers in elementary, middle school and high school.
  4. Recognize Children’ Strengths - Many children with Aspergers 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 Aspergers 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 Aspergers, 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 Aspergers 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 Aspergers 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 Aspergers 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 Aspergers 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 Aspergers—
  • 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

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. Autistic spectrum disorder includes children with conditions such as autism, pervasive developmental disorder, and Aspergers.

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 Aspies 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 Aspergers 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 Aspergers.

- 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 Aspergers 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 Aspergers and 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...

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:
 

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."

Click here to read the full article…

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.

Click here
to read the full article...

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.

Click here for the full article...

My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content