Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Autism Speaks Provides Strategies to Help Parents with Difficult Behaviors

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Autism Speaks Provides Strategies to Help Parents with Difficult Behaviors

Article excerpt

Autism Speaks released in June the parent's guides An Introduction to Behavioral Health Treatments, Applied Behavior Analysis and Toilet Training. These latest tool kits, all developed as part of the work of the Autism Treatment Network through its participation as the HRSA-funded Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health (AIR-P), are available for free download on Autism Speaks Tool Kits webpage.

Behavioral challenges are a common problem for children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Many children with ASD have challenges managing certain behaviors such as aggression or not following directions in addition to experiencing limitations in communication or social skills.

The experts of the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network (ATN) and the AIR-P have addressed how parents and families can help improve their child's behavior with The Introduction to Behavioral Health Treatment which provides an overview of in-home strategies as well as tips to teach and increase desirable behaviors and decrease behavior problems. This tool kit also provides an overview of professional behavioral treatments families can seek out from qualified professionals.

The accompanying Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) tool kit, also released today, is an informational guide designed to provide parents with a better understanding of ABA, how their child can benefit, and where and how they can find ABA services. The U.S. Surgeon General and the American Psychological Association both state that evidence-based ABA is a "best practice" in the treatment of autism spectrum disorder.

Behavioral treatments for children with ASD require a high degree of repetition and reinforcement in both home and therapeutic settings. Parents are provided concrete tips on reinforcing positive behaviors, opportunities to recognize and reward appropriate behavior and guidance on implementing strategies such as time outs. These tool kits give parents proven strategies to manage the ABCs of their child's behavior, including what (A) antecedes or comes before the adverse behavior, (B) what the behavior is that you'd like to change, and (C) consequences of that behavior.

With supports from ATN/AIR-P experts, parents can become effective partners in helping their children to learn skills to replace problem behaviors, increase their positive behaviors and maintain them over time, and generalize or transfer positive behaviors from one situation to another as they improve their cognitive, academic, social and self-help skills

Toilet training can be challenging for any parent, however for many children with ASD, toileting skills can be further complicated by physical or medical difficulties associated with toileting. Children with ASD may lack the language skills to understand or communicate, may lack gross or fine motor skills required to facilitate toileting from undressing to navigating a toilet, and may not be aware of typical body cues to recognize when they need to use the toilet, among other possible issues. Toilet Training: A Parent's Guide, provides tools on how to best integrate routines, rewards and the use of visual schedules.

"If your child with ASD presents with challenging behaviors, or has difficulty acquiring new skills know that you are not alone," said Autism Speaks Vice President of Clinical Programs Clara Lajonchere, Ph. …

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