How to reduce maladaptive behavior in children with disabilities

Children with autism typically use behaviors to communicate their wants, needs, anxieties and frustrations.

These behaviors can include:

  • fidget
  • Stimulating
  • Rocking
  • By tapping
  • Repeating words or phrases
  • Imitation
  • Self-injurious actions
  • Aggression
  • Bite
  • Ignoring peers
  • Refusing to comply with directives
  • Runaway

Although behaviors are important communication tools, some behaviors can interfere with classroom learning. Various interventions teach children with autism new skills that help them develop acceptable ways to communicate, socialize and function.

Strategies for Coping with Behavioral Problems with Autism in the Classroom

The following strategies help school staff effectively address the behavioral challenges that children with autism exhibit in the classroom.

Follow the retention plan

Since every child with autism is unique, they need an individual behavior plan. This document is part of the child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and outlines the child’s needs and includes specific steps that improve maladaptive behaviors without punishing the child.

The behavioral plan begins with functional behavioral analysis (FBA). This analysis identifies the root of behaviors, which can include the child’s desire to obtain an object, activity, or sensation, escape a demand or undesirable situation, or gain attention. The FBA will describe the frequency and intensity of the behavior, identify the causes and consequences of the behavior, and propose possible solutions.

Based on information from the FBA, a special education or behavior consultant develops a behavioral intervention plan (BIP). This document lists the challenging behaviors, their causes, and effective solutions that are specific to the child’s needs. BIP contains measurable goals that the teacher and other staff can track. The BIP can be changed as the student achieves the objectives.

Incorporate Strengths & Interests

Each child has strengths and interests. These resources can become a lever to help children engage more in activities, keep homework, and reduce behavioral challenges.

Monitor children with autism closely to discover their unique strengths. School staff can then incorporate the children’s strengths and interests into the curriculum, activities, and rewards system to prompt positive behavior.

Increase the structure

Changes in daily routines can cause stress for many children with autism. These students love routine and consistency and can exhibit maladaptive behavior in the face of unpredictable situations at school.

Increasing class structure and daily organization can relieve stress and pressure. Changes like an organized and minimalist classroom, predictable day schedule, visual activity schedule, physical limits, and other routines can help children feel calm, relaxed and less agitated during the school day.

Set & Explain Realistic Expectations

Most children function better when they know what’s required of them and when they have the skills to meet those expectations. Children with autism are no different, especially since they can think very literally and specifically.

Carefully set realistic expectations and explain them clearly to reduce autism behavior problems in the classroom.

For example, teachers may need to visually show students what to do and use simple instructions. Ask the child to repeat the instructions to the teacher to ensure understanding and reduce outbursts.

Transitions over time

Switching between activities and moving between classes can frustrate children with autism. They tend to like routine and predictability and appreciate being able to complete one task before moving on to another.

To avoid behavioral challenges, navigate time carefully and try to avoid as many interruptions as possible. I programmi scritti o visivi spiegano le aspettative e i suggerimenti verbali possono anche motivare gli studenti a camminare senza intoppi.

Address sensory sensitivity

Sensitivity to textures, aromas, bright light and noise are several challenges that can affect children with autism. This sensory sensitivity can cause discomfort and pain that can precede difficult behavior.

Address a child’s sensory sensitivities to improve comfort. Teachers can discover this sensitivity by observing the child and talking to parents or guardians. It may be impossible to remove every child’s sensory triggers, but simple changes like dimming the lights or avoiding crowded hallways can make a big difference.

Offering quiet space

It’s common for students with autism to feel uncomfortable, overwhelmed, or anxious at school. These feelings build up until the child reacts with difficult behaviors.

A quiet place in a corner of the classroom or another room can help students relax before class breaks. Ideally, this space should include tools to help children feel safe and comfortable. A swing, rubber wall, art material, soft lighting, no noise and other tools allow your child to relieve the pressure and prepare for a successful return to class.

Improve your communication skills

Since children with autism often have communication difficulties, they can benefit from strategies that teach functional communication skills. Better communication skills can help children communicate better and can reduce autistic behavior problems in the classroom.

Available communication tools include augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) tools such as sign language and image exchange communication systems (PECS).

Speech and language therapy can also occur in natural and various settings throughout the day and involve teachers, peers, staff, and the child’s family. The child’s communication goals, therapies, and tools will be listed in the IEP and updated as needed.

Apply sedative techniques

When a student becomes verbally or physically harassing or aggressive in the classroom, staff can respond politely. A calm attitude can have a huge impact, however, and often disarms rather than aggravates the situation.

Pracownicy klasy mogą skuteczniej radzić sobie z wyzwaniami związanymi z zachowaniem, gdy sami i z dziećmi wdrażają techniki uspokajania. Breathing deeply, counting to 10, pausing, pressing against a wall, and using a low, slow voice are some of the strategies for relieving tension.

These and other calming techniques can be used right away or become part of the daily classroom routine as each student develops useful tools that promote peace, quiet and tranquility.

Effectively address autistic behavior problems in the classroom

Children with autism can exhibit difficult behaviors in the classroom. Several strategies can help staff cope with behaviors appropriately, reduce class disruption, and ensure that every student in the class has access to safe and effective education.

Despite these steps, some children with autism may need even more support. A specialized school like the Sarah Dooley Center For Autism provides an educational setting that’s designed to meet the child’s specific needs and successfully handle behavior challenges.

Learn more from these related resources:

Affiliations

  • 1 BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Division of Developmental Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
  • 2 School of Social Work, Department of Pediatrics, Neurology and Neurosurgery, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada.
  • PMID: 30230656
  • DOI: 10.1111 / jir.12547
  • Search for PubMed
  • Look in the NLM directory
  • Add to search

Author’s

Affiliations

  • 1 BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Division of Developmental Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
  • 2 School of Social Work, Department of Pediatrics, Neurology and Neurosurgery, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada.
  • PMID: 30230656
  • DOI: 10.1111 / jir.12547

Abstract

Background: The aim of the current study was to identify functional predictors of perceived impact of childhood disability among families of children with neurodevelopmental disorders and disabilities. We first examined the relationship between the subdomains of adaptive and problematic behaviors and perceived family effects. Second, we examined whether the same subdomains would prove relevant when considering the impact of a child’s diagnosis, including autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, and intellectual disability.

Method: Caregivers of 216 children and adolescents (M = 8.17 years) with neurodevelopmental disorder and disability completed measures of children’s practical, conceptual and social skills (i. e. adaptive behaviour),behaviour problems and positive and negative family impact.

Results: Indices of child adaptive and problematic behaviour were only significantly associated with perceived negative family impact. The children’s practical and social skills, as well as emotional symptoms, were found to be significant predictors of perceived negative effects on the family, with emotional symptoms accounting for the greatest variability. Incorporating the diagnosis into our statistical models did not explain the additional variance above and beyond these specific subdomains of infant functioning.

Conclusions: The study findings suggest that it is not children’s most impaired domains of functioning that are perceived as significantly impactful by the family. The findings underscore the importance of paying attention to how functional limitations experienced by children with chronic developmental diseases similarly affect family life and well-being, regardless of the type of disorder.

Keywords: adaptive functioning; behavior problems; impact on the family; functional characteristics; neurodevelopmental disorder / disability.

© 2018 MENCAP and International Association of the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Effective behavior management in inclusive classrooms

Are you looking for more inclusive school supplies and special needs materials? You will find them in our Special Needs Center.

How to handle disruptive behavior in supplementary classes

Same disciplinary strategies or different?

In general, classroom teachers can apply the same disciplinary practices to manage disruptive student behaviors with disabilities they use to manage the behavior of non-disabled students. Much of the unwanted behavior of both groups is similar. However, the differences may be due to the teacher’s choice of a specific behavioral intervention. When selecting behavioral interventions for students with disabilities, teachers should ensure that strategies are developmentally appropriate and take into account the student’s disability and right to due process. Here are 10 questions that can help in the diagnostic analysis of situations favorable to the destructive behavior of students with disabilities. These discussions can provide guidance in choosing a behavior reduction strategy.

Question 1. Could this inappropriate behavior be the result of an inappropriate curriculum or teaching strategy?

Inadequate curriculum and teaching strategies can contribute to student misbehavior, but not all misbehavior can be attributed to these factors. Some inappropriate behaviors may result from the teacher’s inability to meet the diverse needs of all students. Consider these factors:

  • Group size.
  • Composition of the group.
  • Limited planning time.
  • Cultural and linguistic barriers.
  • Lack of access to equipment, materials and resources.

Se un comportamento inappropriato si evolve a causa di un curriculum o di una strategia di insegnamento errati, correggi i contenuti e i livelli di abilità del tuo curriculum, i suoi vantaggi futuristici per lo studente e i formati che usi nell’insegnamento. Identifying students’ educational needs in the context of classroom activities using a prescriptive diagnostic approach and adjusting curricula in terms of both content and teaching can significantly reduce the incidence of student misconduct.

Question 2. Could this inappropriate behavior be due to the student’s inability to understand the concepts being taught?

When there is a discrepancy between the teaching style and the learning styles of the students, it inevitably leads to misbehavior. Cases of misbehavior can also occur when students refuse to learn concepts because they are unable to perceive the relationship between the skills taught and how those skills are transferred in the context of a larger environment. W takich sytuacjach powinieneś zastosować strategie i taktyki, które pokażą uczniom, jakie znaczenie mają umiejętności składowe w klasie i w społeczności. If you find that the cause of misbehavior is due to a student’s lack of required skills or an ability to learn concepts, you can use a simple procedure known as homework analysis. By using this procedure, you can pinpoint specific functional levels of students on targeted skills and provide sequential instructional programs that will move the student with disabilities toward mastery of a targeted goal at a pace appropriate for the student (Moyer & Dardig,1978).

Question 3. Can this bad behavior cause a student to have disabilities?

Some disruptive behavior may be a result of the student’s disability (e. g.,emotional/behavioral disorders). Meanwhile, different behaviors may result from deliberate actions taken by the student to interrupt the class. Determining the root cause of a student’s disruptive behavior involves careful behavioral analysis as follows:

  • Try to explain what behaviors are bothering you.
  • Determine what’s wrong with the behavior.
  • Decide what action you need to take to fix the problem. – Determine what behavior you expect from the student.
  • Implement a plan to improve the conditions, variables, or circumstances that contribute to the problem behavior (Charles, 1996).

You should analyze the disruptive behavior and professionally assess the cause. Redl and Wattenberg (cited in Charles, 1996) have suggested that teachers should use the “diagnostic thinking” procedure when faced with cases of inappropriate student behavior. These procedures include creating a first sensation, gathering facts, uncovering hidden factors, taking action, and staying flexible. While such a task is not easy, having a knowledge base of the general characteristics (e. g.,academic, behavioral, social/emotional, learning, physical) of students with disabilities and the associated etiologies (causes) can be helpful.
Question 4. Could this misconduct be due to other factors?

Many aspects of life in the classroom can contribute to student misbehavior: physical environment in the classroom, boredom or frustration, periods of transition, lack of awareness of what is happening anywhere in the classroom. However, remember that the climate and physical conditions of the class can also encourage desired behavior. You should regularly evaluate your teaching and learning environment for conditions or procedures that perpetuate or encourage inappropriate behavior. Since students’ inappropriate behavioral behavior can also result from certain types of teaching behavior, teachers need to become more aware of the types of behavior they emit and the relationship between their teaching behavior and the resulting student behavior. Review your instructions and student interactions in current classroom life as follows:

  • Developing relevant, interesting and relevant curricula.
  • How you give recognition and understanding to each student as an individual with their own unique set of characteristics and needs.
  • Your behavior as a teacher and qualities such as those identified by Kounin (1970 – calm, overlap – that reduce misbehavior, lengthen teaching time and keep the group focused and student movement management).

Question 5. Are there any causes of misbehavior that I can control?

As a teacher, you can control many variables to prevent unwanted behavior. You can edit or change your resume; making adjustments in the manual to address multiple intelligences; and make changes to your communication style, attitudes towards students with disabilities and the expectations of those students. Analyze how much positive feedback you are giving to your students. If you find that you are using limited feedback (encouragement or praise) that emphasizes students’ positive behavior (as well as communicating respect and promoting self-esteem and self-confidence), you may be contributing to behavioral problems. Feedback (both verbal and non-verbal) is an important factor in a learning paradigm that is too often overlooked, overlooked or said haphazardly.

Question 6. How can I determine if misconduct occurs in the classroom?

Question 7. How to teach students to self-regulate or manage behavior independently?
You can teach students to self-regulate or manage their own behavior by teaching them to use self-management skills:

The word coping generally refers to adaptive coping strategies … strategies that help reduce stress. However, some strategies can actually increase stress, which in turn can be considered maladaptive.

You had a hard day at work. You come home and find a mess at home and your spouse insists you make dinner. The children are great and the noise hurts your head. You feel like you might have a nervous breakdown from all the stress.

It is a good decision to step away from the situation for a while. Getting out of the situation, going to a local bar and getting lost in mental oblivion is an unwise decision.

Getting out of a stressful situation and going to the bedroom or taking a long hot bath is a positive reaction mechanism. Engaging in negative behaviors, such as getting drunk or getting hurt, is maladaptive coping.

What does coping adaptation and maladaptation mean?

The way you react to the events and situations you encounter in life is the way you cope. Coping can be negative or positive. Over the course of your life, you have developed emotional survival skills that will help you get through tough times.

These emotional survival skills aren’t always healthy. Just because something works doesn’t mean it’s the right way to deal with the situation.

Coping mechanisms must be positive to lead a mentally healthy lifestyle. Learning to cope correctly can happen at any time, it is never too late.

Types of coping mechanisms

There are several ways to cope with stress. Positive coping mechanisms include seeking help from supporters such as a counselor or friend. Other positive ways of coping include meditation, journaling, and exercise.

A negative coping mechanism involves stress in which a person attacks others and makes them uncomfortable. Or to avoid a person, place or thing that causes us stress. Some people choose to get defensive or even find ways to harm themselves.

Also, there are people who continue to deny after a stressful situation. For example, to avoid feeling regret after the death of a loved one, it’s easy to deny it. But refusing to admit the truth can be harmful if it continues for a long time.

Even among the unhealthy coping mechanisms are aggression, passive aggression, suppression, and going to extremes with your emotions. They can appear as outbursts or fits of anger. None of these things are good for your health.

Negative coping skills are termed maladaptive.

Maladaptive coping

Responding to stress in a maladaptive way can cause several types of anxiety disorders. It can also cause addiction to objects or people. For example, if you have a stuffed animal that makes you feel less anxious while being held back, you will want to have it with you at all times.

You may even feel like you can’t go anywhere without the stuffed animal, keeping it near you for easy access. You do this because it gives you a sense of security.

You can see how dysfunctional this behavior is. And few of your adult friends will want to be with you if you always keep a stuffed animal.

So while the stuffed toy temporarily contained your anxiety, it created more problems in the long run. Using a soft toy as a way to feel safe is an example of negative coping.

Maladaptive coping może również spowodować, że zrobisz wszystko, aby uniknąć stresujących sytuacji i ostatecznie zaczniesz izolować się od społeczeństwa.

You are too old to be isolated and filled with anxiety. That’s why it is important to learn about adaptive coping now.

Adaptive coping

When you respond to a stressful situation in a mature and healthy way, you are coping positively. This means that you use your knowledge and inner strength to adjust to a negative situation and avoid overreacting or other inappropriate reactions.

Instead of getting mad and screaming and yelling because someone interrupts you in rush hour traffic, turn on the radio and listen to music that you know will make you smile.

Instead of quitting your job right after your boss yells at you, you use a journal to jot down your thoughts and feelings.

You redirect or stop your negative thoughts altogether to create a calmer ending.

There are many positive coping mechanisms. Below is a list of some of the more common positive coping techniques.

Adaptive coping Strategies

Meditation or prayer can give you time to reflect on yourself and refocus on what’s important. It is best to meditate every day, before crises occur. It teaches self-control, making it easy to avoid a negative reaction to a negative situation.

Many of our problems have to do with talking to ourselves in a negative way. Find a way to stop these negative thoughts. As soon as a negative thought enters your mind, stop it. You interfere with education for yourself to stop thinking negatively.

With practice, you will train your brain to get rid of negative speech.

You can also practice the art of distraction. The idea behind distraction is that you can stop having negative thoughts about yourself if you find a way to distract your attention. If you are at work and your invisible voice starts trying to tell you that you are a failure, find a distraction.

Get out of the office, take a drive or walk, or just get up and walk around the office. Do whatever it takes to slowly train your brain to think positively.

One of the best ways to learn adaptive coping strategies and avoid negative ones is to meet with a professional counselor. They are trained and certified in this specific sector.

Counselors spend countless hours helping people like you change their thoughts, feelings, and actions. They do this because they want you to recognize your potential and lead a happy and healthy life.

Możesz dowiedzieć się więcej o pozytywnych umiejętnościach radzenia sobie i o tym, jak wdrażać je w swoim życiu. While it may take a little practice, you will be able to adjust and cope with life’s stressors in a healthy way.

Effective behavior management in inclusive classrooms

Are you looking for more inclusive school supplies and special needs materials? You will find them in our Special Needs Center.

How to handle disruptive behavior in supplementary classes

Same disciplinary strategies or different?

In general, classroom teachers can apply the same disciplinary practices to manage disruptive student behaviors with disabilities they use to manage the behavior of non-disabled students. Much of the unwanted behavior of both groups is similar. However, the differences may be due to the teacher’s choice of a specific behavioral intervention. When selecting behavioral interventions for students with disabilities, teachers should ensure that strategies are developmentally appropriate and take into account the student’s disability and right to due process. Here are 10 questions that can help in the diagnostic analysis of situations favorable to the destructive behavior of students with disabilities. These discussions can provide guidance in choosing a behavior reduction strategy.

Question 1. Could this inappropriate behavior be the result of an inappropriate curriculum or teaching strategy?

Inadequate curriculum and teaching strategies can contribute to student misbehavior, but not all misbehavior can be attributed to these factors. Some inappropriate behaviors may result from the teacher’s inability to meet the diverse needs of all students. Consider these factors:

  • Group size.
  • Composition of the group.
  • Limited planning time.
  • Cultural and linguistic barriers.
  • Lack of access to equipment, materials and resources.

Se un comportamento inappropriato si evolve a causa di un curriculum o di una strategia di insegnamento errati, correggi i contenuti e i livelli di abilità del tuo curriculum, i suoi vantaggi futuristici per lo studente e i formati che usi nell’insegnamento. Identifying students’ educational needs in the context of classroom activities using a prescriptive diagnostic approach and adjusting curricula in terms of both content and teaching can significantly reduce the incidence of student misconduct.

Question 2. Could this inappropriate behavior be due to the student’s inability to understand the concepts being taught?

When there is a discrepancy between the teaching style and the learning styles of the students, it inevitably leads to misbehavior. Cases of misbehavior can also occur when students refuse to learn concepts because they are unable to perceive the relationship between the skills taught and how those skills are transferred in the context of a larger environment. W takich sytuacjach powinieneś zastosować strategie i taktyki, które pokażą uczniom, jakie znaczenie mają umiejętności składowe w klasie i w społeczności. If you find that the cause of misbehavior is due to a student’s lack of required skills or an ability to learn concepts, you can use a simple procedure known as homework analysis. By using this procedure, you can pinpoint specific functional levels of students on targeted skills and provide sequential instructional programs that will move the student with disabilities toward mastery of a targeted goal at a pace appropriate for the student (Moyer & Dardig,1978).

Question 3. Can this bad behavior cause a student to have disabilities?

Some disruptive behavior may be a result of the student’s disability (e. g.,emotional/behavioral disorders). Meanwhile, different behaviors may result from deliberate actions taken by the student to interrupt the class. Determining the root cause of a student’s disruptive behavior involves careful behavioral analysis as follows:

  • Try to explain what behaviors are bothering you.
  • Determine what’s wrong with the behavior.
  • Decide what action you need to take to fix the problem. – Determine what behavior you expect from the student.
  • Implement a plan to improve the conditions, variables, or circumstances that contribute to the problem behavior (Charles, 1996).

You should analyze the disruptive behavior and professionally assess the cause. Redl and Wattenberg (cited in Charles, 1996) have suggested that teachers should use the “diagnostic thinking” procedure when faced with cases of inappropriate student behavior. These procedures include creating a first sensation, gathering facts, uncovering hidden factors, taking action, and staying flexible. While such a task is not easy, having a knowledge base of the general characteristics (e. g.,academic, behavioral, social/emotional, learning, physical) of students with disabilities and the associated etiologies (causes) can be helpful.
Question 4. Could this misconduct be due to other factors?

Many aspects of life in the classroom can contribute to student misbehavior: physical environment in the classroom, boredom or frustration, periods of transition, lack of awareness of what is happening anywhere in the classroom. However, remember that the climate and physical conditions of the class can also encourage desired behavior. You should regularly evaluate your teaching and learning environment for conditions or procedures that perpetuate or encourage inappropriate behavior. Since students’ inappropriate behavioral behavior can also result from certain types of teaching behavior, teachers need to become more aware of the types of behavior they emit and the relationship between their teaching behavior and the resulting student behavior. Review your instructions and student interactions in current classroom life as follows:

  • Developing relevant, interesting and relevant curricula.
  • How you give recognition and understanding to each student as an individual with their own unique set of characteristics and needs.
  • Your behavior as a teacher and qualities such as those identified by Kounin (1970 – calm, overlap – that reduce misbehavior, lengthen teaching time and keep the group focused and student movement management).

Question 5. Are there any causes of misbehavior that I can control?

As a teacher, you can control many variables to prevent unwanted behavior. You can edit or change your resume; making adjustments in the manual to address multiple intelligences; and make changes to your communication style, attitudes towards students with disabilities and the expectations of those students. Analyze how much positive feedback you are giving to your students. If you find that you are using limited feedback (encouragement or praise) that emphasizes students’ positive behavior (as well as communicating respect and promoting self-esteem and self-confidence), you may be contributing to behavioral problems. Feedback (both verbal and non-verbal) is an important factor in a learning paradigm that is too often overlooked, overlooked or said haphazardly.

Question 6. How can I determine if misconduct occurs in the classroom?

Question 7. How to teach students to self-regulate or manage behavior independently?
You can teach students to self-regulate or manage their own behavior by teaching them to use self-management skills:

How to reduce maladaptive behavior in children with disabilities

Maladaptive behaviors are attempts to reduce anxiety and gain personal will and control. The maladaptive nature of these behaviors also prevents children with autism from participating in family and social activities.

Examples of maladaptive behavior include outbursts such as hitting, kicking, or yelling.

Not sure if your child is having tantrums or breakdowns? Check out our blog post What to do when your child has a public failure for the differences between the two. You can also check out our free downloadable parenting guide, 10 Tips for Dealing With Breakup.

Fusion behaviors are only a subset of maladaptive behavior. Other examples are aggression and sleep disturbances. Regardless of what aspect of maladaptive behavior in your family, you can apply ABA therapy principles and help reduce the likelihood of future behavior.

Identify the function of maladaptive behavior

The first and most important step in alleviating maladaptive behavior is recognizing its functions. Why does your baby hit or bite? What’s his objective?

One of the basic principles of ABA therapy is that all behavior is a form of communication. Your child’s maladaptive behavior isn’t random; rather, it’s an attempt to convey a message.

The problem is that the message gets lost in translation. Unhealthy behaviors distract from basic communication and prevent others from understanding your child.

Using Antecedent, Behavior, Consequence (ABC) datasheets can help achieve transparency. Once you’ve compiled data, you can examine the patterns of your child’s behavior and better discern what drives it.

For example, you may find that maladaptive behavior matches the attention-seeking pattern or conclude that it is related to a sensory problem.

Once you have a better understanding of your child’s motivations, you can work with their ABA doctor or behaviorist to develop an effective behavioral support plan.

When problematic behavior occurs, be consistent

Another foundational principle of ABA therapy states that you cannot control another person’s behavior. However, you can influence this by changing yours.

As such, you can discourage your child’s maladaptive behaviors by providing regular reinforcement that points him in a different direction. Over time, your child will learn to choose healthier behaviors to meet their needs.

For example, maybe your child is biting others to get attention. You can teach your child healthier ways to communicate and gain people’s attention. But even as you’re working to promote more positive choices, it also behooves you to discourage this aggressive behavior. Therefore, you should identify (and communicate clearly!) The tangible consequences of biting and the tangible reward for not biting.

Since choosing to bite is very problematic, it can result in the loss of a loved activity, such as watching your favorite TV show.

Once you’ve chosen a consequence, you must stick to it. For example, every time your child bites, he loses the right to watch TV for a day, no ifs and buts. But every day that he doesn’t bite, he receives an additional half-hour of TV time.

Gradually, your child will realize that biting reliably deprives him of something that’s important to his happiness. As a result, you’ll likely have fewer instances of biting!

That said, be prepared for an extinction epidemic – the initial period of fierce resistance as maladaptive behavior gets worse before it gets better. But once the extinction epidemic is over, you should see a decline in problem behavior.

For the same reason, it is important that …

Teach your child healthier ways to communicate

It’s not enough to simply discourage negative behaviors. Instead, parents need to actively educate and promote positive and healthy behaviors.

In a recent Stanford study, Maladaptive Behavior in Autism Spectrum Disorder: The Role of Emotion Experience and Emotional Regulation (PDF), the authors wrote: with increased maladaptive behavior in ASD.

In other words, if your child does not follow an emotional regulation strategy, his negative emotions will increase … and these negative emotions are correlated with a higher case of maladaptive behavior.

One of the reasons ABA therapy is so important for children with autism is because it provides a framework for learning emotional regulation skills, such as emotion tagging.

If you want to reduce maladaptive behavior, train your child to maintain emotional self-control. Teach him to express his needs, desires and emotional states, and notice how problem behaviors decrease.

Be aware that frustration fuels maladaptive behavior

In the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V), the criteria for autism spectrum disorders list social communication deficits as a defining feature of autism. Can you imagine how frustrating it must be to deal with interactions with other people on a daily basis? If so, then you’ll understand one reason why many children with autism engage in maladaptive behaviors.

When children with autism receive early intervention with ABA therapy – a systematic and proven treatment program – they have the opportunity to learn functional communication and improve their future outcomes.

While maladaptive behaviors can be complicated and frustrating, following these recommendations can help you and your child soothe dysfunctional emotional habits and develop positive emotional regulation skills to improve communication and understanding.

Do you want to access the ABA video lessons and start learning from home? So sign up for a FirstPath Autism free trial today!

Many people want to stop doing something: smoking, nail biting, overeating, constantly worrying. I often teach in my behavior modification courses that it is very difficult to simply eliminate habitual behavior because creating a vacuum leads to a relapse of the behavior, especially when something stressful is going on. One of the secrets to making permanent changes is to replace undesirable behavior with more adaptive behavior that performs the same functions. I recently saw evidence of this view in the published results of a study by my former student, Sally Rooke. You have studied people who have tried to stop using marijuana. Half were successful and half failed. The ones who succeeded were significantly more likely to use strategies that involved alternative behaviors that served the same stress-reduction functions as marijuana, e. g.,using “calming thoughts” and finding “other ways to relax.” Many maladaptive behaviors have a calming function. Other common functions of maladaptive behavior are entertainment and control of others. For each function, there are usually more adaptive ways to achieve the goal. In order for individuals to change and maintain their progress, they usually need to identify the functions (reward effects) of the undesirable behavior, develop alternative behaviors to achieve these functions, and practice them until they become habitual. If the new behaviors perform the functions adequately, a person can make a lasting change.

I used this method to eliminate (mostly!) The use of the oath. I replaced them with other similar sounding words. Now when I make a mistake I say shucks or something.

Have you swapped a behavior for a more adaptive one? What?

Dr. John Malouff, JD
Dr. Hab. psychology

2 comments

I enjoyed reading this blog again and this time it was for a specific purpose. My 18 year old disabled student has just started her studies. It was truly an amazing journey with her. Basti pensare che la fragilità ossea (osteogenesi imperfeta III) ha causato a me e a mia moglie enormi problemi di vita senza successo, per non parlare ovviamente delle incredibili difficoltà e sfide che K.

K attended a full government school which became known for her poor academic performance. Suffice it to say, even though his academic performance was the best in his collegiate group, we still felt a great relief when he entered college. He was there too, and while I might sound like a supervisor, he was driving his success.

After a relatively smooth transition to the dorm, it felt like we were rocking. The biggest problem for me has always been his social problems as he can be isolated from his disability. However, he has good skills and, thanks to music, swimming and theater, he was able to make friends and good social skills. I was relieved when he announced he wanted to go to the O-week student service. Problem is, he … he broke his pelvis and he’s been fighting ever since. He returns to class in his electric wheelchair and is well looked after on campus.

This week, his support team reached out to me to say there are concerns. You have developed a serious addiction to computer games. He was always on the line as he suffered from long periods of pain and hospitalization with hundreds of broken bones. In short, once she gave up on heavy pain control, she used screens as entertainment … a way to deal with pain in the background. When she lived at home, we could help alleviate this problem by providing alternatives, bringing her screen time closer to conscious awareness, and sometimes negotiating boundaries. In consultation with her anesthetist over the years, we have concluded that time spent in front of the screen would be a good alternative to amorphous and strong analgesia for extended periods of time. The fact is, the stress reduction that the screen gains has become a compulsion. You can play for up to 12 hours a day at the university. C’è un punto debole perché all’università fallisce e i suoi obiettivi sociali non vengono raggiunti. Like addicts I’ve had a small deal with in the past, she has developed the ability to tell me, her mother, and caregivers what we want to hear, but she has lost control. I can’t think of rewarding tasks or experiences that can help as the on-screen games themselves are extremely rewarding and functional for her pain issues.

K admits it’s a fire but has problems with his regulatory behavior. What’s a guy to do?

Hi Michele. Playing video games alone is not a problem, unless the person consequently engages in other, more adaptive activities, such as learning and socializing. So I would be willing to help this person move on to other activities, not just cut down on the game. His he goals and his concerns can play a big part in deciding whether or not he’s willing to make this kind of change. He can take advantage of reinforcement tips, opportunities, and outcomes to engage in these other activities. I teach behavior modification and one of the ideas I preach over and over is helping people find actions that perform the same functions as undesirable behavior. So you’d want to understand what makes gaming so powerful and try to help him find more adaptive behaviors that fulfill the same functions. This may be a difficult task for you; may benefit from a meeting with a university counselor.

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Situation

I have a student who can’t hold saliva in his mouth but also deliberately spits at his peers. Do you have any suggestions?

summary

Both deliberate spitting and difficulty coping with saliva (drooling) are behaviors that may be observed in some students with disabilities. It is important to differentiate between them as one can be related to low muscle tone or other physical problems. For example, a child may breathe through their mouth due to larger tonsils or tonsils, or have oral weakness due to other physical problems that can make it difficult to close their mouth and manage saliva. On the other hand, deliberate spitting is behavioral in nature as the student uses spit to communicate a need or solve a problem in a maladaptive way.

Definition

When a child cannot manage saliva in his mouth, there is likely a physical or medical reason for this and should be addressed by the appropriate professional which may include: Pediatrician, Ear Nose & Throat Specialist, Speech Pathologist or Occupational Therapist.

For the releasekeeping saliva in the mouth,please seek feedback from the student’s speech pathologist who can conduct an oral motor evaluation, an occupational therapist and/or a referral to a medical professional may be warranted. In some cases, a student may use a visual cue to close their mouth and swallow more often, or they may need some kind of bandana or towel to clean their mouth. It is important to rule out any medical problems before trying a new technique.

For the purposes of this answer,we’ll take care of deliberately spitting.When a child intentionally spits on others, it is learned maladaptive behavior and can be addressed by teaching appropriate replacement behavior, positive reinforcement of the new behavior and, if necessary, imposing consequences for the spitting behavior (e. g. loss of privileges, time out or clean a spit area).

Fast facts
  • Age of the child:6-10
  • Planning effort:Moderate
  • Difficulty level:Moderate
Assumptions

The child should understand simple directions, be able to distinguish between right and wrong choices or "green" or "red" choices, and have the skills to complete the replacement behavior (s) you will be teaching.

The child should understand that earning tokens for positive behavior can lead to winning the favorite item / activity if the token system is to be used.

Processes

Collect data to determine the possible spitting function. For example, is it to get attention or to avoid certain activities? A simple ABC chart (see Resources) can easily be tagged after each occurrence of spitting to determine in which cases spitting is most likely and what maintains the behavior. For example, if the student spits when he has to give up a favorite item, you could teach him to say, “I want it longer.” or “another 2 minutes, please” as an alternativeretention or abandonment of an object in response to a visual clock such aspreferred behavior. Follow appropriate behavior with positive (tangible / verbal) reinforcement.

Teach the student the adequate social / communication skills that they lack so that they do not resort to spitting. For example, you can teach: take turns, ask to play, ask for a break, say no, or wait.

Use Behavior Stories or other visuals (see Resources below) to teach alternatives to spitting and the consequences for both spitting and the use of newly learned skills such as “asking for a break”.

A tangible reward system, such as a reinforcement tower (see Resources below) or token system is a great way to reward appropriate behavior (in this case, using an alternative to spitting).

If behavior continues unchanged after 4 weeks of surgery, a more thorough functional behavioral assessment may be warranted.