Children with autism may often have difficulty understanding social cues and communicating. This can make it difficult for them to understand how other people feel, a skill that is needed in order to develop empathy. However, there are many ways parents can help their children learn this vital life skill without extra support from professionals.
Working with kids who have autism may be gratifying and hard. Every day offers a fresh opportunity for learning and behavior exploration. Working with autistic children requires teachers, paraprofessionals, and parents to be equipped with a toolbox of tactics and ideas that will not only make their life simpler but also help their children succeed and get the appropriate support.
There are ten behavioral techniques that are very simple to use with autistic kids, both in the classroom and at home.
To discover more about the following, keep reading…
- instill time management.
- Set reasonable goals.
- Encourage good conduct
- Provide options for undesirable actions
- Employ images and social tales.
- Teach coping mechanisms and soothing techniques.
- Make transitions a habit
- Be reliable every day.
- Aspects of sensory requirements
- teach self-awareness and emotional control
1. instill time management.
Children with autism often struggle with time management, including comprehending how long it takes to finish an activity. A teacher setting aside 10 minutes for playing before the next activity starts is one illustration of this. Playtime may stop suddenly and generate a negative reaction in the youngster if they are unsure of how much time is remaining. Teachers will be able to clearly express how much time is available for various tasks by using a sand timer or a visual clock timer. With kids who have autism, being proactive with timers and reminders can assist decrease problem behaviors while also teaching the students how to manage their own time and prepare for transitions.
2. Set reasonable goals.
Children with autism, who have a handicap and need more structure and consistency than other kids, benefit from rules, procedures, and expectations even more than other kids do. Realistic expectations include considering the complete kid and establishing individualized processes and standards based on the requirements of that specific learner. Since the symptoms of autism are not the same in every kid, each child will have distinct requirements.
From Autism Classroom Resources, here are 4 suggestions for establishing reasonable expectations:
- Make them encouraging.
- Invite students to assist in developing them
- Set goals for each location and activity.
- Connect expectations to a system of rewards.
An example of a reasonable demand for an elementary pupil who wanders the classroom when they first arrive.
*When I arrive to class, I hang up my bag and sit at my desk with my feet on the floor until the teacher instructs me to fetch my food.
3. Encourage good conduct
The importance of positively reinforcing proper actions, such as adhering to expectations, is equal to that of clearly communicating behavioral standards to the students in a classroom. Knowing what they are striving for, such as five additional minutes to play a video game, more recess, or a piece of candy, may be helpful for kids with autism. Children may participate in the decision-making process about their goals, which will guarantee that the reinforcement is effective. Giving a student free internet time, for instance, will make them less likely to cooperate if they know they would be earning something they don’t care about, like time to swing on the playground swing set.
When selecting and giving autism-related children reinforcements, a few crucial factors to bear in mind are…
- Do a reinforcement inventory with the youngster to ascertain likes and dislikes.
- Assist the youngster in deciding what they are working toward before each task.
- To help the youngster remember what they are striving for, put a reminder nearby.
- Be consistent; the youngster must get the reinforcement if they live up to the expectations.
- Try a different reinforcer if the first one stops working.
Positive reinforcement is a great and easy technique to change behavior… Take use of it while working with your autistic children at home and in the school.
4. Provide options for undesirable actions
Any youngster should feel in charge of their environment. Giving young children basic options helps them feel involved and in control. As children with autism may get overwhelmed by too many alternatives, be careful to provide very clear options. Asking them if they’d rather play a game than watch a movie or whether they’d prefer orange juice over grape juice, for instance, is acceptable. If a youngster has trouble speaking, make sure the alternatives are shown visually so they can choose on their own.
Throughout the day, there are many opportunities for choice-making, such as choosing the first task to do, the sort of reinforcer to aim for, or whether they would rather write or speak their response. Using a visual choice board with pre-selected alternatives for the occasion and asking the student to point to or speak which option they like is the simplest approach to utilize choices with autistic children.
Overall, letting kids make decisions at home and school is advantageous for everyone involved and promotes motivation and compliance.
5. Employ images and social tales.
Among visuals, a decision board is a prime example. For many autistic children to succeed and remain on focus throughout the day, visual cues, prompts, and social tales are essential. Supporting kids’ needs involves using a range of images, such as photos, flip charts, posters, and playing cards. They are used to provide kids response possibilities for questions, assist them make decisions, and prepare them for transitions.
Particularly social tales are used to get kids with autism ready for changes or forthcoming events. Some tales have simply few text, but others have several illustrations for non-readers. If little Johnny often engages in problematic behaviors just before it is time to board the school bus at the end of the day, for instance, it may be a circumstance when a kid can benefit from a social tale. Once he finishes tidying up his area for the day and is waiting for his bus to arrive, his instructor writes a social narrative with illustrations for him to read along with. It is made up of four short words that explain why Johnny has to board the bus and what he must do to get there. Each day, Johnny and his teacher will continue to read from his social narrative. They will also read it from time to time when troublesome behaviors have stopped.
Numerous pre-written social tales are available online for a variety of scenarios, and the website Your Therapy Source offers instructions on how to create their own from start.
6. Teach coping mechanisms and soothing techniques.
When autistic children experience frustration, anxiety, or sensory overload, they need to learn coping mechanisms and ways to calm down. Students with lower-level ASD may need guidance in implementing these tactics and won’t be able to do it on their own. Children with autism often exhibit signs of anxiety, fidget, or even have meltdowns. In times of stress or sensory overload, providing the body and mind with both physical and emotional resources is crucial.
Giving the student access to a sensory room or a calm area of the classroom, dimming the lights, playing soft music, providing noise-canceling headphones to wear, providing a weighted blanket, a bouncy seat, a fidget or other sensory toy to play with, practicing deep breathing and stretching, counting backward, tapping, etc. are some examples of these. Each kid will have own preferences, and the method employed will vary depending on the circumstance. Both a SPED instructor and a parent of an autistic kid should have a “toolbox” full of soothing techniques close at hand.
7. Make transitions a habit
Changing from one location or activity to another may be challenging for kids with autism. This is due to the inflexible thinking, difficulty following multi-step instructions, and cognitive difficulties that some people with autism have, which allow them to do particular tasks easily and autonomously. The transition from one task to the next requires executive functioning, and the brain is quite active during this period. In order to better prepare and prepare autistic children for the frequent transitions, teachers and parents should practice transitioning with them in special ways.
According to a Psychology Today article, the following five techniques may be used to assist children with autism manage transitions well:
- Give notification before a change is to take place.
- Utilize visual aids
- Use consistency and structure.
- Reduce your language use
- Give brief kudos for seamless transitions
Things will go much more easily if transitions are dealt with proactively and openly practiced with autistic youngsters.
8. Be reliable every day.
The key is consistency! Children with autism benefit greatly from predictable schedules and constant routines. It is not suggested for them to vary their daily habits from day to day. Giving an autistic kid a daily visual timetable and enforcing it may help them become more independent, better prepare for transitions and what lies ahead in their day, and experience less anxiety and stress. Typically developing children like structure and regularity over spontaneity and going with the flow. These kids’ teachers and parents will rapidly discover that being inconsistent is not the best course of action. Of course, things do happen that are beyond their control; in such cases, it is always a good idea to be aware of the soothing techniques as well as the contingency plan.
9. Aspects of sensory requirements
There are many causes of sensory difficulties in an autistic kid. They could have sensitive skin and a strong preference for only soft materials without tags, they might not like other kids around them, or they might have dislikes like a classroom door being open or strolling down the corridor with other classes nearby. They might also be sensitive to light or sound.
While some parents may wish to limit their kids’ exposure to their sensory triggers, others may want to do the exact opposite and expose them to these things so they may learn to tolerate them. For instance, if a kid exhibits troublesome behavior—such as becoming aggressive—when hearing someone cry—at school, at home, or in the community, that behavior has to be addressed. Hearing someone cry may occur at any time, in any setting, and no one has any control over it.
Despite these circumstances, sensory demands for autistic children should be met in order to help them adapt to their surroundings.
10. teach self-awareness and emotional control
Last but not least, it’s crucial for kids with autism to learn how to self-monitor their bodily feelings and how to control them. Even some non-verbal kids may communicate their wants and express their emotions in one way or another. It is possible to teach kids how to keep an eye on their own conduct and emotions both at home and at school. Making a chart or other visual representation of this is simple to accomplish. In the classroom, for instance, a student with autism may turn over a red card to indicate they need a break or point to an image of an angry face if they are agitated. Children may often be encouraged to monitor their own actions and emotions by using tally boards, timetables, and images.
The first step that all educators and parents who interact with this demographic should take is learning about and comprehending these 10 behavior methods for autistic children. The simple thing is to put them into practice. These techniques don’t take much work, and parents and instructors often use them without even realizing that they’re following a legitimate ABA behavioral method. The most important things to keep in mind are consistency, proper implementation, and changing course if something isn’t working. Trial and error is a big part of working with autistic kids when changing behaviour. Since no two children are similar, you must keep experimenting with different approaches to see which ones are most effective.
Northeastern State University offers the Master of Education degree.
Disorders of Behavior and Learning | Georgia State University
The “10 Easy-to-Implement Behavior Strategies for Children with Autism” is a blog post that outlines 10 easy-to-implement behavior strategies that can be used in the classroom. The strategies are meant to help children with autism behave more appropriately and engage more with their peers. Reference: autism behavior problems classroom.
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Janice is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Special Education. She also holds a Master of Science in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) from Queen’s University, Belfast. She has worked with and case managed children and youth with autism and other intellectual and/or developmental disabilities in home and residential setting since 2013.