How to Address Bad Behavior During ABA Therapy

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ABA therapy is the treatment for autism, and has been used with children since its inception in the 1980s. It’s often a very hard process to complete, as it requires patience and understanding from both parties involved. This can be difficult when one of those parties doesn’t seem interested or motivated during a session. Here are some ways you might address this bad behavior during ABA therapy that will ensure your child gets what they need out of their sessions.,
1: Get creative on how to keep your child entertained while he or she works through an activity – Sometimes kids just crash after doing something complex but fun (like putting stickers on paper). Make sure there’s always entertainment available so they don’t get bored while working at home.,2: Be specific about where each task needs improvement- For example if you have noticed your kid loses focus easily then now would be a good time to talk about why this happens and create strategies around redirecting attention back into tasks.,3: Use positive reinforcement – When his/her work pays off by not creating any distractions, reward them!

“Proactive strategies examples aba” is a blog post that provides examples of proactive strategies for addressing bad behavior during ABA therapy.


No youngster can be perfect all of the time. When you put a youngster in a new or unique scenario, problems will arise. When you add in communication or developmental issues, the chances of complications skyrocket.

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) treatment aids in the development of communication and coping skills in children. Children are equipped with the skills they need to advocate for themselves.

However, maladaptive habits often emerge during ABA treatment. When this happens, therapists and parents may work together to keep the treatment on track.

What Kinds of Behaviors Can You Expect to See?

Autism spectrum disease (ASD) affects each kid differently. Children are not mirror replicas of one another, nor do they share a behavior checklist. However, certain so-called “bad” behaviors are more likely to surface in ABA treatment, according to experienced therapists.

The following are examples of such behaviors:

  • Vocalization. Children may shout, holler, or repeat words.

  • Physicality. Physical activities such as pacing, sprinting, throwing, and leaping may all be troublesome.

  • Self-harm. Self-harming habits include pulling hair, biting, and pinching.

  • Violence. Violent acts include slapping, kicking, or beating people.

Self-stimulating behaviors are also common among autistic children (stimming). Rocking, hand flapping, snapping, and finger flicking are all examples of this.

Researchers used to think about stimming as a type of self-harm. Some specialists disagree, based on their interviews with adults with ASD. These behaviors, according to them, are sometimes employed to calm someone who is overwhelmed or worried. They are pleasurable and serve as a coping mechanism for the individual.

However, certain acts are widely condemned. According to studies, children who damage property, injure themselves or others, or throw tantrums might suffer serious repercussions. They may be ostracized from school and family activities, and they have less social possibilities. This restricts their development even further.

Assess the Effects

How can you know whether a behavior is harmful or beneficial? It isn’t always simple.

Therapists say that they only interfere when it seems that it is required. This entails intervening when an action is:

  • Extremely difficult situation. Children do not appear to be soothed by headbanging, damaging objects, or shouting. They just serve to increase the pain.

  • Restrictive. A youngster who engages in certain extreme activities might have a negative impact on a family’s life. They are not permitted to leave the home for fear of inciting a rage. It’s possible that they’ve built their whole lives on not beginning an episode.

  • Self-harming. Biting, pulling hair, and other similar behaviors may result in serious wounds that need medical attention. They have the potential to scare a youngster in certain instances.

Something is wrong when a youngster engages in a dangerous activity. When these things happen, a qualified ABA technician will change the session. Families will be taught to follow suit.

These actions, however, cannot be classified as “bad.” Instead, they may start to be seen as early warning indicators by families.

Locate the Source

Behaviors do not appear out of nothing. They’re the result of something very genuine that’s going on right now. Families and therapists must first identify the trigger in order to act effectively.

The following factors might cause a kid to act out during an ABA session:

  • Confusion. The behavior appears when a new task is introduced. Is it possible to divide the work into smaller chunks? Is it possible to reassure the youngster with an explanation?

  • Fatigue. At the conclusion of the session, bad conduct begins. Is the youngster exhausted? Would a nap be beneficial? Or has it been too long since you’ve done the same thing?

  • Stimulus. Experts describe how people with ASD respond to light, sound, smell, and touch stimuli. Families and therapists may be blind to these triggers, but the kid is acutely aware of them. Is it possible that someone is using perfume? Is it possible that the light is too bright? Is it a dog that’s barking?

  • Physical exertion. When a child’s bodily needs aren’t addressed, it may lead to undesirable conduct. Is it time to go to the restroom? Is it time to eat?

Autism affects people’s ability to communicate. During the treatment session, the youngster may not be able to communicate adequately and request a change. Bad deeds are a way of communicating.

Ask for further information if the youngster is talkative. “Why are you doing this?” or “How do you feel?” are simple questions to ask. This may sometimes help to clarify the necessity.

If the youngster is unable to communicate, look for bodily signs. Closing their eyes, covering their ears, or squeezing their stomach might all reveal where the issue is.

Should I add or remove something?

You have two options for dealing with the behavior. You may either add something to the equation or take something away. Given the circumstances, any choice is viable.

For example, in response to the directive “Please sit in the chair,” a youngster yells during an ABA session. The group could be able to:

  • Add. As a reward for sitting in the chair, the therapist may present a grape. Alternatively, the therapist might urge the kid to sit for one minute before beginning a play break.

  • Remove. “Playtime will be suspended until the shouting ceases,” the therapist may remark, and then wait. A trigger stimulus might also be removed by the therapist, for as by turning off a light.

These are fairly simple answers to difficult issues. During a session, therapists and families are likely to do far more in response to challenging conduct.

This treatment teaches a youngster how to communicate a want or need in a more efficient manner. A youngster could learn to say, “I need a break,” instead of shouting.

That transformation will not occur overnight. ABA treatment takes a long time to complete, and children with autism have a lot to learn.

However, as treatment proceeds, children might learn to replace bad habits with more beneficial alternatives. Their abilities continue to improve. They will be able to use such abilities at school and at home in the future.

Concentrate on the Child

It’s difficult to witness a youngster with autism bite, flail, and thrash. It might be awkward for some families, especially in busy situations.

A minor change in cognition is suggested by Autism Speaks. Consider the situation from your child’s perspective. It’s usual to concentrate on how the behavior impacts us as parents and caregivers, as well as how others see us. Consider how you can transform yourself into a detective.

Your kid isn’t attempting to hurt or humiliate you. Your kid is attempting to communicate with you, and this is an issue that you can resolve. The more you can assist your kid replace maladaptive habits with critical abilities, the more likely you are to succeed.

After difficult sessions, behavior therapists and technologists may return home. You can’t do it. Reach out to your support system if you’re anxious or sad after a particularly tough day. Request a little break from caring for your loved one so you may go for a stroll, have a cup of tea, or just enjoy the sun on your face.

You’re putting in a lot of effort and trying your best. Taking a pause might help you view things more clearly. You can be the greatest caregiver for your kid if you take care of yourself. Don’t forget about yourself.


“The “autism tantrums behavioral strategies” is a blog post that discusses how to address bad behavior during ABA therapy. The article gives advice on how to stop the behavior and what to do if the behavior continues.

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