Caresociety's Blog

Autism Awareness month

Posted on: April 7, 2013

Intervening behavioral problems at home: Working with children with Autism

One of the main features of children with autism is their lack of communication or speech delays. Due to this many of their needs, emotions and thoughts are not communicated well. Some children often find it hard to make others understand their wants. Hence such frustrations or difficulties are exhibited in the form of different behavioral problems. Addressing to behavioral problems is crucial in development of children with autism. This would enhance their participation, social functioning and learning. Though behavior modification and therapies are professional interventions parents can also play an important role in implementing such programs. There are many things parents can do at home. This article looks at one aspect of behavior modification.

Identifying the reason for the behavior

Identifying the reason behind a certain behavior can also be referred to as triggering factors or antecedents. When we understand these factors we are able to mold or change the outcome by changing the triggering factors.

Triggering factors can be biological such as thirst, hunger, and sleep deprivation, less energy or hyperactivity. It can be environmental such as temperature (too hot or cold), crowded environments, too loud and not enough play materials. It can be social/ interpersonal such as argument with family members, misunderstanding and lack of personal space.

Example: Aisha did not get her favorite roshi for breakfast instead she was given bread. Aisha started screaming so loud and the parent took her to her room till she stopped screaming. In this example the reason for screaming is because Aisha loves roshi and that is what she has for breakfast every morning. Since children with autism have difficulty in accepting such changes in routine, Aisha would not understand why she had to eat bread instead of roshi and neither can she communicate how she feels or what she wants. The only way Aisha knows how to deal with it is by screaming.

Now that we know Aisha finds it difficult to adjust to changes we can control the triggering factors. For one thing it is important to always keep roshi for breakfast to avoid the behavior of screaming during breakfast time. And a more practical approach might be to introduce different food along with roshi so Aisha might have variety of foods and eventually might start to like them too.

Hence, introduction of new concepts or changes to routine should be delivered slowly. Sudden changes might alarm them and it might be expressed through different behaviors.

It is important to note such observations and keep it for future references. The more you observe the child the more you will understand how you can help. It is not always easy to control the triggering factors.  However, it is one way of dealing with different behavioral problems and making sure such interventions are well planned with the help from professionals and the consistency in delivering is the key for success.

Written by Aishath Looba


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