When you encounter problem behaviors at church, take time to consider why the behavior is occuring and how to respond.
- Language development can be delayed in young children on the autism spectrum. When functional communication develops more slowly, children often use actions and behaviors to communicate.
- Remind your teachers and volunteers continually to view behavior as a form of communication. Every behavior tells us something. Look for what that might be.
- Our primary goal with problem behaviors is to see an increase in functional communication, whether through spoken words, picture boards, or communication devices. As a result, problematic or maladaptive behaviors will decrease.
- Instead of telling a child to stop doing a certain behavior, think of something you want him to do instead. Teach the replacement behavior.
- Problem behaviors continue because they work. Most of the time, adults unwittingly reinforce problem behaviors. If a tantrum gets a child away from a demanding task and into a quiet place to calm down, she might decide the quiet space is better and throw a tantrum more quickly next time.
- Talk to the child’s parents to better understand how a child communicates and what strategies are helpful at home and school. See Interviewing Parents.
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