14 Jan 10 behaviour strategies for children on the autism spectrum
Children with autism spectrum tend to have behaviour problems. These can stem for a variety of causes which can included; but is not limited to:
- Having trouble understanding or interpreting spoken language
- Having trouble interpreting non-verbal communication cues like body-language, sarcasm, facial expressions
- Sensory processing disorders
- A struggle with change and a need for sameness in their environments and routines;
- Transitioning challenges and a real difficulty swiping from one activity to another
- Difficulty organizing themselves in productive play when not directed or given specific instructions
Because behaviour issues are so common in autism we suggest you learn a few behaviour strategies which will help you prevent problematic behaviour from happening. Many of these strategies can also help during a behaviour outburst!
Top 10 behaviour strategies for children on the autism spectrum:
- Implement schedules in your everyday life. Let the child know what will happen next and what the chain of events will be moving forward.
- Positive re-enforcement is vital as it acknowledges your child (or your student) for complying with your request. Praising the child is vital for building confidence and for helping with anxiety.
- Give clear instruction so the child knows exactly what is expected of them.
- Allow for processing time – once you have given an instruction to the child allow the child time to comply with the request.
- Take transitioning challenges into consideration and allow the child to “finish” one activity before they are expected to move to the next activity.
- Always consider the sensory input the child is getting from his/her environment. Should a child become overstimulated from sensory input, such as in a large crowd or shopping centre, bring them to quieter place to help them regulate.
- Be consistent in your implementation of “rules” and make sure that everybody that is working with your child does the same.
- Keep promises that you have made to your child. If you have asked him/her to do something and they have complied make sure to follow through.
- Stop “threatening” a consequence because your child will soon learn that it is only a “threat”. Implement discipline immediately when the child is not complying. An example of this would be stop or I will take the iPad away. If the child does not stop then take the iPad away immediately. Do not make it a negotiation and don’t raise your voice.
- Learn to pick your battles. Learn that behaviour is part of childhood and that some battles are just not worth fighting over.
- My 2 greatest pieces of advice is that you need to learn not to engage in “power-struggles” with your autistic child. I promise you they will win time and again. And that preventing a behaviour is also so much easier than trying to stopping it!