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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A bit of advice for parents...

I know I've blogged about not wanting to give advice or suggestions on this blog because I want to just blog about my experiences. But I've had several parents (parents of children with Autism and parents of "normal abled" children) ask me about confronting challenging behaviors. So here is what I usually tell them...

Behaviors occur for a reason. In order to better understand the behavior, you must first figure out what caused the behavior. For example, a child screaming and crying at the grocery store because mom would not let her have candy. The cause of the behavior is obvious, she wanted candy and couldn't have it. So the screaming and crying occured (the behavior). Therefore, the consequence is that now, mom is frustrated and therefore gives in and gives the child the candy. The next time mom and child visit the store, the same behavior occurs. What I tell parents, is that they are unknowingly reinforcing that challenging behavior by giving in and giving the candy. Because, let's think about it in the child's point of view... I want candy... mom won't let me have candy... so I will cry and scream and mom will eventually give me the candy. There, mom has unknowingly reinforced the challenging behavior.

My advice to parents is that if you know this behavior will most likely occur, talk to your child prior to going out. While still at the house, or in the car, let your child know what is expected of them. Tell your child how you want him/her to behave while in the store. And parents this is important... you might still have to give them candy. But instead of rewarding the challenging behavior, reward the good (expected) behavior. So if necessary, tell your child if he/she behaves while at the store, he/she may have a piece of candy. And the most important part of this is for parents to FOLLOW THROUGH. Which means if your child does not display the appropriate behavior, then you must deal with behavior that will most likely occur when he/she does not get the candy. Behaviors will most likely increase because your child will not be used to this type of response from you. But have faith that the intervention will work.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed this blog this is some stuff we do too its really good advice!