Quick Tips for Managing Behaviors
When in these situations, it is helpful to know what to do and do it correctly to benefit the child.
One of the things I needed was a way to quickly identify the methods I need to implement when caring for my grand-nephew Jaxon, who has mild to moderate autism. The therapist shared quick tips for managing behaviors Jaxon’s and permitted me to share them with others.
To improve verbal behavior
Prompt the child to say or name all items that they would like.
Jaxon was used to saying ‘more’ or ‘open’ for everything. We started naming the objects to help him say more ____________ or open ___________. Now we are teaching him to say, “I want __________.” Whatever the item is, we prompt him to repeat the word. This is going much better now that we are clearing up the yeast in his gut. Jaxon is saying a lot more words.
When a child is denied access to an item or activity
- Remove the item from view or move the child away from the desired item.
- Provide an alternative if possible.
- Give a first > then statement if he can access it at a later time. (i.e., first diaper, then play)
- Tell the child when they can have it.
- Allow them to have their feelings.
- If a tantrum occurs, allow them to have their feelings and de-escalate independently. Model self-calming strategy.
When the child is given a demand (i.e., pick up their toy)
- Use least to most prompting to help the child complete the demand.
- The ultimate goal is for the child to complete the task independently: Give an initial request – count 10 seconds in your head then make the request again, give another 10 seconds, then say the child’s name, “You can do it, or I will help.”
- If the child is not moving in the direction of the tasks or completing the request, then with a neutral grip, help the child to the location of the task. Use the hand over hand in a calm neutral way to help complete the request.
- Block access to other items and activities while waiting for the child to complete the request.
- If a tantrum occurs, give space to calm down and then place demand again using the same sequence.
If the child is picking their diaper
Do not say anything. Remove the piece of diaper. Give an alternative item to the child for them to play with in place of his diaper.
If the child engages in physical aggression
- Remain quiet.
- Step away from the child if possible so they cannot make contact. This isn’t always possible, depending on location.
- Continue with the request. If it becomes a tantrum with multiple behaviors, including physical aggression, throwing, crying, and self-injury, give them a safe place to calm down. When calm, continue.
If the child runs away from a caregiver
Retrieve the child in a neutral and calm manner. Hold hands, and require them to walk as needed to the location.
If the child drops and tantrums when ending a walk or denying access to another route, it is ok to pick up the child, carry them closer to the desired location, and put them down to walk.
These are some of the challenges we face with Jaxon, and it has been beneficial having the steps necessary to care for Jaxon.