Episode 099: Why Traditional Behaviour Strategies don’t work for Children with Autism

Why traditional behaviour strategies don’t work for children with autism

Traditional behaviour strategies (including ignoring, consequences, counting to 3 and timeout) often don’t work for children with autism, ADHD, ODD and PDA. These strategies are effective for neurotypical children who are better at regulating their own emotions, however children with special needs are often very literal thinkers and struggle with the mind reading and problem solving that these strategies require.

3 Golden Rules

By Sue Larkey

Not every strategy works for every child.

Strategies wear out. Use them until they stop working but be ready to adapt if they stop being effective.

To know someone with autism is not to know autism. Everyone works differently and autism is a big spectrum.

What to do instead

  • Social scripts. (Don’t know what social scripts are? CLICK HERE to find out more)
  • Say “what to do” instead of “what not to do”.
  • Schedules. (CLICK HERE for the number one strategy for creating schedules)
  • Reward behaviour – use their currency/special interest. I recommend using tokens. (CLICK HERE for an explanation of how they work)
  • Your words matter. (CLICK HERE to learn about the power of your words)
  • Timers. (CLICK HERE to buy them or find out how they work)
  • 50/50 behaviour plans. (CLICK HERE to learn more)

Ask yourself:

  • Is what we are doing working? If it is, there’s no need to change!
  • What is the biggest challenge we have and want to change?
  • What do we believe is the cause?
  • What can we replace it with?

Theory of Mind

Quote from ‘The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome’ by Tony Attwood

“Theory of Mind is the ability to recognise and understand thoughts, beliefs, desires and intentions of other peole in order to make sense of their behaviours and predict what they are going to do next. It has also been described as ‘mind reading‘ or ‘mind blindness’.”

Want to learn more with Sue Larkey?

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