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Autism Positive Behavior Supports - Just Getting Wants And Needs Met

By: Mylinda Elliott

Many times parents are puzzled by their child with Autism's behavior. Figuring out what your child is saying with the behavior is one of the first things I always try to do. An important part of that though is remembering that in some way even a child with Autism is trying to get their wants and needs met. It might not be the way a typical child would go about it, but it is still the same goal.

Positive Behavior Supports can be an important tool in teaching our children how to get those wants and needs met. If a child wants attention they are going to get it, one way or another. It works better for us and for our children for us to teach them an acceptable way to get our attention. One parent of a child with Autism taught him to tap someone on the shoulder.

That particular way to get my attention would drive me wild. But it worked for them. That was what was important it worked for the boy and for his parents. Their family valued not interrupting so a tap was acceptable. Because the parents complimented him and gave him their attention the boy continued to do this even through what is now his teen years.

The 'Behavior Support' was teaching him an acceptable technique to get what he wanted. Complimenting and giving him their attention was the reward in this situation. It was the 'positive' in the Positive Behavior Supports.

The only other part we need to talk about is consistency. For Positive Behavior Supports to work a parent has to be really consistent. It is sort of like a slot machine if you only win sometimes; you want to play some more. If a child gets away with the unacceptable behavior sometimes he or she will do it some more.

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