Unfortunately, there is no single, simple way to address negative behaviours exhibited by those who suffer from ASD; these may include tantrums, aggressiveness, destructiveness – even self-harm. However, the first step is to pinpoint the triggers. While sometimes behavioral disruptions cannot be foreseen in advance, observing what makes your child tick, and developing coping strategies can allow both them and you to go about your days with minimal stress.
Commonly, you’ll find your child acting out in unfamiliar places far more often than when they are at home. This is likely because being in a high-energy environment such as school, while having to interact with those who are less able to attune to your child’s way of communicating, is more likely to instigate frustration. One way to remedy this is to encourage others in your child’s life to practise the strategies used in the home. For example, if your child is easily overwhelmed when spoken to quickly, you might encourage those around them to speak slower, using short and succinct sentences. Often, behavioral issues rear their head when an autistic child has difficulty expressive themselves. If you notice your child having trouble finding the words to say what they mean – encourage them to use pictures or gestures; teaching those to others as well.
Another trigger for negative behaviour is too much excitement or overstimulation. Autistic children may find it more difficult to comprehend and sit with complex, or overpowering emotions – even great joy. Furthermore, feelings of anxiety, or sensory overload may prompt tantrums or involuntary actions such as hitting a caregiver. Conversely, if there is not enough stimulation, a child may act out from boredom knowing their action will illicit a response. If problems persist, there are a number of treatment options available, especially if you live in a large city. The key is finding the right clinic for your child’s specific needs. If you’re looking for autism treatment in Toronto, consider a speech pathologist who has already developed a solid reputation working with children with ASD.
At Simone Friedman SLS, clinicians use the Early Start Denver Model to treat behavioural issues in children who suffer from ASD. Speech language pathologists develop a Behavioural Intervention Plan (BIP), rewarding patients for good behaviour and positive outcomes. They also offer support in the form of visual aids for communication, and sensory programming – helping a child to better identify what their mind is taking in before rejecting it.
Implementing a BIP into your child’s treatment plan can be important for keeping both them and others out of harm’s way. The plan will also address behaviours immediately and consistently in ways that help your child reach their goals.
To begin, clinicians conduct an interview with a parent or instructor, identifying 2-5 problematic behaviours they would like their child to work on. Clinicians then observe the child in their natural environment at home, or at school, familiarizing themselves with how and when these behaviours play out. Following this, therapists offer a training session to those who interact with the child, introducing strategies that address how to deal with each of the 2-5 behaviours. Therapists then track the behaviour over a four-week period.
If your child is exhibiting behavioural issues, Simone Friedman can help. Their highly-trained staff will help to develop a treatment plan suiting their individual needs, allowing them to live free of distress.