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What Is Behavioral Therapy For Autism

Aug 17, 2007
Behavioral therapy for autism is popular as it reportedly has a high chance of success. In this type of therapy, your child quickly learns that only appropriate behavior is rewarded while inappropriate behavior is not encouraged and in fact, they will be ignored. The success rate of behavioral therapies increases if the sessions are started at an early age; that is before your child turns 3 years old.

You would probably find that your autistic child will often challenge your parenting skills by exhibiting extremes in behavior. Extremes of behavior would include such things as temper tantrums, self injurious behavior, aggression and agitation. Essentially, he is dictating to you what he wants and his preferences. If he does not get what he wants, you are made to suffer the consequences. Rather than giving in, you should in fact learn how to teach your child a more appropriate way in which to get what he wants.

This is where a consistent program of behavioral modification comes in. You can learn how to cope with the behavior of your child and also guide him to more socially appropriate behaviors. An autistic child usually has no sense of social awareness. Such a program must consist of 4 components: a structured daily routine; behavioral control; communication; and applied behavioral analysis.

You should design a structured daily routine as your autistic child can have an idea what to expect. It has been found that autistic children do not usually cope well with inconsistency or change. Therefore, sticking to a daily routine is important as much as possible.

The next thing that a parent must learn is how to control tantrums and other such behavioral issues. In doing so there are 3 factors to bear in mind:

1. Deal with those behaviors that are dangerous to the child or those around him first. You would need to stop these behaviors with firm words and actions. Try not to show your child any anger while doing this though.

2. You need to teach your autistic child how to sit down as it may not be easy for him to do so naturally. The best way in which to do this is to reward appropriate sitting behavior while either ignoring or giving a negative consequence for inappropriate sitting behavior.

3. Autistic children tend to have bizarre, stereotypical, repetitive behaviors. The most obvious of these are finger flapping and rocking. These can be very distracting and thus a firm command to stop is suggested for use. Next direct your child to another activity that will not allow him to continue these behaviors.

It is crucial that you talk to your child regularly. In your communication, be both simple and direct. You need to use short, clear sentences without going into explanations or using too many words. Shorten your instructions to manageable tasks. You want to avoid confusing him.

Applied behavioral analysis (ABA) is a form of behavioral therapy that is well recognized for its success rate of 47 percent. ABA involves breaking down tasks into individual components. Then, whenever a child successfully completes each step of the task he should be rewarded. However, it is important to note that ABA is not the only behavioral approach to treating autism nor is it a cure for autism. Still, it is a good option to consider in terms of helping your autistic child.
About the Author
Sandra Kim Leong writes about autism diet and other therapies that may help an autistic child. As a mother to one herself, she shares about her experience. To read her posts, please visit http://www.autismdietplan.com
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