The Basics of AutismSpectrum Disorders Training Series RAAC Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders Task Force
Adult Training Series Modules Module One: Autism Defined, Autism Prevalence and Primary Characteristics Module Two: Physical Characteristics of Autism Module Three: Cognition and Learning in Autism Module Four: Autism and Sensory Differences Module Five: Communication and Autism
Adult Training Series Modules Module Six: Behavior Challenges and Autism Module Seven: Understanding Behavior in Persons with Autism Module Eight: Functional Behavior Assessment Module Nine: Autism and Leisure Skills to Teach Module Ten: Special Issues of Adolescence and Adulthood Module Eleven: Safety and Autism
Big Idea We must be like a detective in order tofind out the reason for a behavior and follow the clues.
Remember….. Behaviors are a way of coping with what is happening around us. Behaviors are learned through trial and error. Behaviors that are reinforced are likely to continue. If a behavior continues to occur or it is increasing, it is being reinforced in some way. To change the person’s behavior, we must change what we are doing.
Functional Behavior AssessmentA Functional Behavior Assessment(FBA) will help you to discover thereasons behind a behavior. You canthen decide on a plan for how tochange it.
Functional Behavior Assessment The ABCs of BehaviorA B C Antecedent: What happens before the behavior? Behavior: What is the behavior? Consequence: What happens after the behavior occurs?
Functional Behavior Assessment: Finding the Reason for the Behavior Medical (physical pain or discomfort) Attention (verbal or physical) Escape (getting away from something that I do not want to do or from a place that I do not want to be in) Tangible (getting something that I want) Automatic (something my body seeks, such as something sensory, i.e. rocking)
Medical Strategies If this is a new behavior, check out medical reasons first. Keep track of medical symptoms (when and what). Go to the doctor or dentist.
Strategies for Attention Behaviors Teach the person better ways to get attention. Focus on the behavior that you want to see more of – and ignore the behavior that you want to change. Avoid using negative words (“don’t”, “no”). Use positive words about the behavior that you want them to do instead (“do”……). Use a neutral tone. Show no over-reaction, either words or facial expressions, to the behavior that you want them to change.
Strategies for Escape Behaviors Mix up activities that they like to do with activities that are harder for them or that they are not interested in doing. Have a beginning and end to the activity (i.e. your chore is done when you pick up all the clothes from the bedroom floor). Sometimes it helps to break a task down into smaller steps, doing one at a time. Make sure that you “reinforce” when the task is completed. This might have to happen after each small step (i.e. drinking glasses put away, reinforce with praise, plates put away, reinforce with praise, spoons put away, reinforce with praise, pots put away, break, etc.).
More Escape Behavior Strategies Keep things moving on schedule. Too much time doing any one thing might cause a problem behavior. Start with something that the person with ASD does well and then move to something that is either less preferred or difficult for them. Think about the skills needed, the sensory problems the person may have. Consider the importance or the necessity of the activity or task. When they complete an activity they do not like to do, remember to use positive reinforcement.
Strategies for Tangible Behaviors If waiting is difficult then you may have to teach the person how to wait. At first, you may have to use a lot of reinforcement after just a second or two of their waiting and then slowly work to extend the amount of time they can wait. Consider using an audible or a visual timer, like a cooking timer, when teaching “wait”.
Strategies for Tangible Behaviors Teach “first and then” (i.e. first you pick up your clothes from the floor, then you take a television break). A visual schedule can help. Remember to use a neutral tone when you are redirecting them.
Strategies for Automatic BehaviorAutomatic Behavior is usually something that the body seeks, such as something sensory (i.e. rocking) Replace the unwanted behavior with an activity that provides a similar experience (i.e. using a hand fan instead of finger flicking). Find a time and place that the behavior is okay to do (i.e. sitting in a rocking chair when watching TV). Limit “down time” by keeping the schedule moving.
Big IdeaChanging something that we are doing is often easier or better than trying to change something the other person is doing.