"Difficult, or challenging, behavior in children with autism is not easily understood and its roots are often tangled and multi-faceted. However, speech, language and non-verbal communication difficulties that come hand in hand with autism are always part of the reason.
- Difficult behavior happens for complex reasons
- Difficult behavior is nobody’s fault
- Difficult behavior takes time and gets better with time
When we equip autistic children with the skills and tools they need, surround them with opportunities to communicate and fill them with motivation to connect to the people world around them we may reduce the challenging behavior.
Telling a child what we want them to do and how we want them to behave seldom works. Instead it is better to use a system that supports self-advocacy, choices, and problem solving. When we get the mix between what’s important to a child and what’s important for them, we start to get somewhere!"
— Chris Barson
Visual Schedules and Sequences
Does your child respond to reinforcers as a part of day to day activities? Does your child respond to acitivities in which he or she has a definite structure? When difficulties arise, using a visual support to explain the sequence of any activity to your child can be very supportive and calming. Additionally understanding the sequence of required events to obtain a reinforcer can provide the kind of support a child needs. First then strategies are one of the simplest forms of this type of support. First then contain 2 components, either a simple sequence around activities (first we go the store, then we go home) or a sequence that results in a reinforcer (first you eat the carrots, then you have a cookie).
Sometimes it might be hard for a child with autism to understand when things don’t work out the same way in different situations? A visual rule script is a support that can help them understand why things happen in certain ways, based on a set of circumstances. For instance, if it rains we play indoors but if it’s sunny we go outside.