What should I do about problematic behaviors?

What should I do about problematic behaviors?

While it is impossible to provide a single answer to this question that will apply to every child and every family, there are some guidelines that parents and others can follow in order to handle situations safely and effectively. There may be many different functions, or reasons, some individuals with ASD display problematic behaviors. Due to difficulties with communication, an individual with ASD may become easily frustrated if they are unable to communicate with others or have trouble understanding what to do.
When problematic behavior occurs, it is possible to find the reason or cause for the behavior. This can be done through establishing an understanding of behavior patterns through the guidance of a skilled professional. There is much to be learned by paying close attention to what happens immediately before and after a specific behavior occurs. Once the function or cause of the behavior is understood it is possible to determine an appropriate intervention plan to change or replace the problem behavior with a more appropriate alternative.
Teaching skills that will reduce frustration, increase communication ability and facilitate the replacement of inappropriate behavior with appropriate alternatives can be highly effective. However, it is important to refrain from trying to teach these skills when an individual is upset or engaged in a tantrum. A proactive approach will help minimize or overcome the behavior. Some proactive and preventative steps to take can include:

  • Providing many opportunities for the individual to make choices (e.g., Do you want to use crayon or marker?)
  • Providing lots of positive reinforcement and verbal praise when the individual is not acting out
  • Considering what motivates and makes sense to the individual and use these objects or activities to reward good behavior
  • Providing structure, routine and predictability through the use of routines, schedules and other appropriate supports when dealing with transitions or difficult situations