When it comes to understanding an autistic child, it’s important to understand their behaviors. From a parent’s perspective, this is how to understand behaviors in autistic children.
For our second day of Autism A to Z: B is for Behavior. Specifically as it relates to autism since when someone usually thinks of behavior- you might think of something good or bad.
Where it concerns psychology, there’s also behavior training, negative behavior, positive behavior, etc. I’m also going to talk briefly about ABA (or Applied Behavior Analysis) which is one of the top scientifically proven therapies when it comes to working individuals on the autism spectrum. I’m not a certified ABA therapist, but it has been something that’s brought success for Sweet B. That isn’t to say though that it does have it’s dark side.
If you are considering ABA for your child, then I would also highly encourage you to do your research.
So I’ll clarify and say that this is more about how to understand behaviors in autistic children.
What is behavior?
Behavior, as defined by Miriam Webster, is as follows:
a : the manner of conducting oneself
b : anything that an organism does involving action and response to stimulation
c : the response of an individual, group, or species to its environment
2: the way in which someone behaves; also : an instance of such behavior
3: the way in which something functions or operates
Why is behavior in autistic children misunderstood?
Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism
POSTIVE INTERACTIONS are first developed through the use of favorite activities and responding to any attempts to communicate.
MOTIVATION is encouraged through the use of familiar materials and child-specific reinforcers.
SUCCESS is promoted through positive reinforcement of successive approximations and prompting and fading procedures.
PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT is critical. Parents are empowered through training and collaboration to create an environment in which treatment is provided most of a child’s waking hours, at home, at school, and in the neighborhood.
REQUESTING is developed as early as possible.
Learning to talk and understand vocal LANGUAGE is considered a fundamental part of social development. IMITATION is also crucial, allowing a child to learn by observing other children learn.
And finally, social interactions and cooperative PLAY are integral to treatment. Facilitated play occurs first with siblings and then with peers during play dates and at school.
Is ABA effective with individuals with Autism? It depends on you and your family’s needs. In combination with other therapy methods, ABA has significantly helped Sweet B- both at home and in the classroom setting. Does it work for all individuals with autism? No.
Explore your options and go from there until you find what works best for your family.