Preschool aged boy sitting by himself on floor looking angry.
Encountering Problem Behaviors at Church

When you encounter problem behaviors at church, take time to consider why the behavior is occuring and how to respond.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Instead of telling a child to stop doing a certain behavior, think of something you want him to do instead. Teach the replacement behavior.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Let us help you with troubleshooting and training in problem behavior.


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