Problem Behavior

How Can I Get My Child or Client with Autism to Stop Stimming?

By Mary Barbera, PhD, RN, BCBA-D Have you ever been in a lecture where the material is way too easy or completely over your head? If you get in these situations what do you do? I bet you might doodle, play with your hair, or scroll through your Facebook newsfeed on your phone. This is the…


Treating Tantrums in Children with Autism

By Mary Barbera, PhD, RN, BCBA-D I did a survey a few years ago and asked both autism parents and professionals about their #1 Autism ABA struggle and the top response was dealing with challenging behaviors. I often get questions like this: What should I do if my child or client displays problem…


The Importance of Conducting a VB Assessment When Completing an FBA

I completed a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) recently on 9-year-old boy I’ll call Sam. His mother decided to home school Sam because she was worried that the public school her son attended might call the police if his behaviors continued to escalate. Sam was diagnosed with high-functioning…


Reducing Problem Behaviors

I often get questions like this: My child displays problem behavior (screams/argues/ bites/kicks/flops to the ground ) when a demand is placed (it is time to take a bath/do homework/go to bed). The answer to the question is similar no matter what the problem behavior or demand. Whenever problem…


Teaching Children with Autism to Indicate When They Are in Pain

I recently received a question related to my last blog on the importance of looking at medical issues before treating problem behavior. The question was, “How do you teach children with autism and severe language impairments to indicate they are in pain and to tell you where the pain is coming…


The Importance of Ruling Out Medical Issues Before Treating Problem Behaviors

As both a Registered Nurse and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), I find myself frequently reminding people that some behaviors are caused by medical issues and cannot effectively be treated behaviorally. Here is a little review of the four main functions of problem behavior. Two functions…