One of the largest challenging behaviors that parents have to address when it comes to Autism Spectrum Disorder is that of aggressive behaviors. Aggressive behaviors can range from pinching to violent hitting. Sometimes these aggressive behaviors can be directed towards others and sometimes they can be directed towards themselves.
Many people who have ASD have a difficult time expressing their emotions in a productive way. Individuals with ASD are incredibly sensitive to the world, and oftentimes their responses to hypersensitivity can be aggressive. Even as a neurotypical I often find myself with a sensory overload. If there are too many sounds happening at one time I will usually drown them out by listening to music, others may cover their ears and some people just deal with it. Some individuals with ASD may respond by screaming or even hitting.
There are many reasons that a child or an individual with ASD may be expressing aggressive challenging behaviors, but there are ways they can learn to manage them. Through ABA therapy techniques it is easy to break down why these behaviors are occurring and what to do to prevent them. Learn more about preventing meltdowns here.
The first step of preventing these behaviors is learning why they occur in the first place. Assessment is one of the most essential steps when it comes to ABA therapy; it serves as the baseline of understanding why behaviors occur and helps to create a plan to prevent these behaviors.
The objective of this step is to discover the who, what, when, where, why, and how of challenging behaviors.
Who: who is the child demonstrating the challenging behaviors to?
What: what is the child doing?
When: when are they demonstrating these challenging behaviors?
Where: where are they doing it?
Why: Why are they upset? What made them exhibit challenging behaviors?
How: How are they expressing their emotions? Hitting? Biting? Pinching? Etc.
By answering these questions it is easier to find the source of the challenging behaviors and then put in place techniques to combat these behaviors.
This step it critical to understanding and preventing challenging behaviors, but it is not easy to assess what a problem is, and sometimes it may seem impossible. With the help of a licensed ABA therapist, it takes away a lot of the stress of analyzing the situation and setting a plan into action. Every child is different, so what works for one person, may not work for another. ABA therapists are professionally trained to find what works for your child and guide you along the way. They are there to help you through the difficult times and the good ones. The next step to combatting challenging behaviors is to make a plan.
Make A Plan
There are many different ways that you can combat challenging behaviors, just like there are many different types of challenging behaviors in general. Some children are not violent towards others, but may be self-harming with their aggressive behaviors. Many children with ASD need a sort of stimulation to calm themselves down or even if they are just bored. In order to create stimulation some children will harm themselves. This is not a productive behavior and is often very dangerous to the health of the child. With the help of an ABA therapist you can find the problem and come up with an alternative to self-harming behaviors.
When the challenging behavior is aimed towards others it is natural for others to react. The most important part to managing challenging behaviors is to remain calm. Often times the outburst of aggression is due to built up emotions that the child or individual with ASD is having a difficult time communicating. By remaining calm you are not adding even more emotions to the mix. Secondly, you need to remove yourself or the person receiving the aggressive behavior out of harm's way. If you're a parent of a child with autism, learn about how to avoid burning out here.
Lastly in order to change or combat the aggressive behaviors you have to not let them win. For example, if the child is hitting/biting to get out of brushing their teeth, do not let them get out of brushing their teeth. If you reward the challenging behavior with the thing that the child wants, then you are inadvertently rewarding the behavior. It is a long a laborious process but eventually the outcome is incredibly rewarding. ABA therapy is the best way to find alternatives to challenging behaviors and it is tailored to each individual. If you are looking for a few helpful tips to managing some of these aggressive behaviors immediately this website has a helpful guide.
One Helpful Approach
One helpful approach to combating challenging behaviors right now is to use natural redirection . This aim of this method is to not show any emotions when the child is aggressing and then once the child has stopped to redirect them back to the task at hand. This method only combats aggression that comes from not wanting to complete a task and aggression that is directed to others, but it is a good starting point for helping you deal with aggressive behaviors at home.
If you want even more helpful approaches, contact Alliance ABA today. We specialize in ABA therapy and we are here to help with all of your ABA needs. We will create a customized plan for you and your child that works with your schedule and helps you reach your objectives. Start off the new year right by helping yourself and your child get onto a healthy track.
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