Whenever you have a child with autism spectrum disorder, learning how to teach them proper behaviors is like a job unto itself. While most children learn from scolding and verbal cues, children with ASD often have a hard time understanding lessons taught verbally and more intensive training methods are often necessary. On method that works exceptionally well is ABA, or Applied Behavior Analysis therapy. This therapy is one of the only autism treatments approved by most insurers and is the one most commonly offered by therapists and school systems.
ABA therapy can help offer many benefits to your child, including behavior management. The therapy works through what is known as discrete trial teaching. With this, children are given a specific lesson, such as how to tie a shoe or how to ride in the car, and each step of the lesson is broken down very specifically. Each step is performed over and over until the child learns to perform it correctly. From here, the next step would be taught, and so forth.
What helps to make ABA therapy so effective with behavior management is that it uses a reward system rather than a punishment system. While most children learn from scolding, children with autism spectrum disorder often lack the ability to differentiate positive and negative attention. When a behavior results in scolding, it is simply seen as warranting attention, and is thus likely to be repeated. Many commonly repeated negative behaviors can be dangerous to children or others, such as head banging and hitting, and ABA therapy can help stop them.
With ABA therapy, a behavior such as this would simply be ignored. As long as your child is not in danger, the key is simply to not offer attention for these behaviors. Instead, when the lesson is performed correctly, the child is rewarded with a treat, sticker, or even a pat on the back or handshake. Positive attention is given for positive results, which helps your child learn which behaviors are appropriate.
Simply put, ABA therapy is a highly effective form of behavior management. While most children learn fastest from gentle scolding and correcting, children with ASD simply learn differently. ABA helps to teach behavior in a manner that these children can understand, helping them to better learn appropriate behaviors and actions. Whenever you are able to provide a treatment that works for these children, you will find that they can learn incredibly well and incredibly quickly.