How to Reduce Problem Behaviors in Kids with Autism | Stuck Series Part 5

This is part five of our five-part series on getting kids unstuck. This blog is going to focus on when you are stuck having a child with problem behaviors that you don’t know how to reduce, prevent, or eliminate.

In Part 1 I talked about assessing language when a child or client is nonverbal. Part 2 was about teaching receptive language skills. In Part 3 I talked about getting a child or client who is not conversational to be conversational, and finally, in Part 4 I talked about getting stuck with self-care. This is the final area where I think parents and professionals get stuck, and it’s a big one.

What Are Problem Behaviors?

The final area where parents and professionals get stuck is not knowing how to reduce problem behaviors, whether that’s major or minor problem behaviors. They just feel stuck with months or years of the same issues. And if it’s autism aggression, self-injurious behavior, or property destruction, it can obviously lead to very limited choices in terms of who is going to care for the child, who’s going to provide respite, or where the child can be in school.

Obviously it’s a complex topic – how to reduce problem behavior. I’ve talked about it a lot on my blog. You can read about reducing problem behaviors, Autism disruptive behavior, and how problem behaviors can be related to pain or medical problems. I believe that behavioral problems come from a demand being too high or reinforcement being too low. This is a big focus of my online courses. I don’t want to just to improve good behaviors. I want to give strategies to reduce problem behavior as well.

Finding a Balance

We want to teach language, conversation skills, and self care, but also at the same time reduce those problem behaviors. It is two sides of the same coin. We need to constantly be increasing good behaviors and reducing problem behaviors, whether they are at home or in public places like school or the store.

In general, no matter if you are stuck in any of these five areas, you always want to start with an assessment and a revision of the goals, the plan, and the targets. Really peel back that onion and figure out what is going on. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

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There won’t be one day where all of a sudden you’re turning things around, but to turn autism around, whether that is for an older child who is not toilet trained or not talking or for a young child just showing signs of autism, it’s always possible to make progress. Now is not the time to give up, even if you feel stuck.

Step by Step Progress

Your kids or clients should be making progress.

They should also at least be safe, and as independent and happy as possible.

They should be able to request their wants and needs – either vocally or with a device.

They should have major problem behaviors at or near zero, and they should – especially if they’re over five – have the ability to use the toilet as independently as possible.

These things are going to affect their quality of life and their family’s quality of life. It will determine whether they can get babysitters or respite workers. The child is going to be included more and more and have a happier life as long as you keep working with them.

Depending on your role and the age of your child or client, I offer three different free workshops to help with all five areas you may get stuck. Each will help you work with them step by step.

Turn Autism Around for Parents and Early Intervention Professionals of children ages 1-4

Autism ABA Help for Parents of children ages 5-21

Autism Professionals Verbal Behavior Bundle for BCBA’s, teachers, OTs, SLP’s, and more.

These workshops will help you to better help your child or clients with their problem behaviors. I want to help you and your child turn autism around. Consider attending one of my free workshops to determine if they are right for you and your children or clients.

Do you want to learn more about reducing problem behaviors?
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Transcript

And this is part five of our five part video series on getting kids unstuck. And today’s video blog is going to feature an excerpt from podcast number 51 where I cover all five areas of getting unstuck in the five different areas. But part five, this video blog, is going to focus on when you are stuck having a child, uh, have problem behaviors that you don’t know how to reduce, prevent, or eliminate. So that’s what this video blog is all about. Hi, I’m Dr. Mary Barbera, autism mom, Board Certified Behavior Analyst and bestselling author of The Verbal Behavior Approach. Each week I provide you with some of my ideas about turning autism around. This video blog is going to be a short excerpt about an area where parents and professionals get stuck and see little progress and I’m going to provide some tips on how to get unstuck.

And the final area where people get stuck, parents and professionals, is they get stuck with not knowing how to reduce problem behaviors, whether that’s major or minor problem behaviors. They just feel stuck with months or years of the same issues. And if it’s aggression, self injurious behavior, property destruction, it can obviously lead to very um, limited choice in terms of who’s gonna care for the child, who’s going to provide respite, who, where the child can be, um, in school. Um, it’s just so, so hard. So, um, obviously it’s a, it’s a complex uh, topic of how to reduce problem behavior. I’m not even going to really get into it. I’ve had tons of podcasts and video blogs. If you just Google Mary Barbera problem behavior, you’ll find an assortment.

Again, this is a big focus of my online courses is not just to improve good behaviors we want like language and learning and self care, um, getting more conversational but also at the same time reducing those problem behaviors. And it is two sides of the same coin. We need to constantly be increasing good behaviors and decreasing problem behaviors. So, um, in general, no matter if you have a, if you were stuck in any of these five areas, you always want to start with an assessment and a revision of the goals, the plan, the targets, peel back that onion, figure out what is going on and put one foot in front of the other. It’s not going to be a day where all of a sudden you’re turning things around, but turning autism around, whether that is for an older child who is not toilet trained or not talking or turning things around for a young child just showing signs of autism, it’s always possible to make progress.

Kids should be making progress. They should at least be safe, independent as possible, happy as possible. They should have the big three, uh, of being able to request their wants and needs. Um, whether that’s vocally or, or with a device, they should have major problem behaviors at or near zero. And they should be, especially if they’re over five, uh, have the ability to, uh, use the toilet as independently as possible. These things are gonna affect their quality of life is going to affect the family’s quality of life because they’re going to be able to get babysitters and, uh, respite workers and the child is going to be more and more able to be included and have a happier life. The more progress we can make, of course, we as parents and professionals only have one life too so, um, try to remain as, as less stressed as possible.

I know when I interview guests, I’m always asking them, uh, about ways to reduce stress and, and putting one foot in front of the other is the way I reduce stress. Like whatever the problem is. Okay, let’s assess the situation. Um, assess the gap. Like is it a huge gap? Is it a little gap? Um, make a list, make a plan to, um, work towards fixing it or making it better. Um, that’s all what life is, is just making things as good as possible. I hope you enjoyed that video blog. If you did, I’d love it if you leave me a comment and share this video with anyone who could benefit and to attend a free workshop where you can learn how to get unstuck, attend marybarbera.com/workshop for more information. I hope to see you right here next week.

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