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How To Redirect An Autistic Child

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Redirecting Autism

Children with autism respond to clear, short directives in the moment. Help set them up for success by praising desired behaviors, establishing regular routines, and avoiding tantrum-triggering environments. These techniques, which avoid harsh discipline, work well with children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder , tooand all kids, generally.

Don’t Overreact To The Behavior

Whatever the cause of the biting behavior , it is important not to overreact to it. Any attention given the behavior is only likely to increase its occurrence.

  • It is best to say little and simply remove the child from the situation.
  • Give the attention to the person who has been bitten, show sympathy, and treat the bite as needed.
  • It is appropriate to say no, or that biting is not allowed, but try not to show anger or frustration and state the rules only once. Use a firm, serious voice, but try not to yell.

If the biting is self-injurious, the bite will need to be attended to, but it is best not to fret or show dismay when that occurs. Long explanations about why biting isn’t appropriate probably won’t help, particularly for young children. Simply state it is not allowed and move on. Return attention to them when they are calm and behaving appropriately.

Make Directions Clear Short And Concrete

For example, if your child is throwing food at the table say, eat your food rather than Be good at the table, ;Dont throw your food or Would you stop with that! You are always throwing your food. For children with difficulty understanding language, showing them a picture or a visual demonstration of the behavior you want to see, can be helpful.

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Create A Reward System To Help Tame The Tantrum Beast

Implementing a reward system for everyday life is something that works for every child, especially our children on the spectrum. Reward systems can be implemented to help motivate a childs busy schedule and keep the process fun and new every time a new reward is selected.

In the following the text of this article, there are pictures of the reward monitoring items with descriptions. I have also outlined what is for beginners, how to progress forward to the more advanced ideas.

Listen To Your Child To Understand Where The Anger Is Coming From

How to Redirect an Autistic Childs Damaging Stims ...

To really deal with your childs anger, you first need to try and determine where its coming from. This can be especially challenging if they have trouble communicating their feelings and desires to you. Ask your child whats wrong and really listen to what they are telling you. Help them learn to manage anger through communication. Are they upset because they cant locate a favorite toy or object? Or is it something deeper? Talk to your child and try to understand whats wrong. You may notice that these temper tantrums occur at the same time each day, which may offer a clue as to the trigger.

One of the most important and useful tools that you can use in a situation where your child is frustrated or angry, but having a hard time expressing their emotions, is a communication device or strategy. You can create some sort of visual board or visual representation of emotions, triggers, and consequences to help your child express themselves. Schools like Lexington Life Academy employ strategies to help students communicate effectively and your childs school can implement visual aids and zones of regulation to help children with autism to communicate and manage anger effectively.

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How It Became A Problem

In our case, C was stimming by rubbing the fabric of his shirt between his fingers. He would then proceed to rip the seam and take apart the shirt thread by thread until there is nothing but half a shirt or just the back of his shirt left.

He would leave for school in the morning with a brand new shirt and in the afternoon I would pick him up and half his shirt is SHREDDED!

He would literally;go through one shirt a day.

It got expensive!

Not only that but he wouldnt have a shirt to wear at school!

I could tell he was having a lot of anxiety in school. It was breaking my heart.

I knew I couldnt make him stop and I didnt want to. Im learning more and more about why its important to him. But I needed to redirect him to a different activity that was less damaging to his clothing and my wallet.

Other Considerations When Planning For Transitions

Along with developing predictable and consistent transition routines, team members may also need to consider adjusting the activities that individuals are transitioning to and from if transition difficulty continues. Factors such as the length of an activity, the difficulty level, and the interest level of an individual all may contribute to transition issues. Similarly, if an area is too crowded, loud, over stimulating or averse for some reason, individuals may resist transitioning to that location. A review of environmental factors that could contribute to transition difficulties is also recommended. In addition, the sequence of activities may need to be reviewed. Team members may benefit from reviewing the activities required of the individual throughout the day and categorizing them as preferred, non-preferred, or neutral. If the individual has difficulty transitioning it may be wise, when possible, to strategically sequence certain activities so individuals are moving from non-preferred activities to preferred activities and from preferred activities to neutral activities. Though this certainly may not be possible for all of an individuals transitions, it may alleviate some transition challenges.

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How To Stop An Autistic Child From Hitting Themself

Its important to determine why a child with special needs is engaging in hitting before you can remedy it. First, you need to make sure your child does not have any other medical issues that would lead to him/her inflicting harm. Ear infections, stomach ailments, and other pains in the body might also be the culprit.

Its also possible that the child uses this behavior as a way to communicate. Anxiety and hyperactivity are two other factors to consider.

You can work with a doctor or applied behaviour analysis specialist for the right response once the reason is clear. You can then work on sensory strategies for headbanging that makes sense for your child.

Tag Sound Is Better Than Verbal Good Job

How To Stop Your Autistic Child From Banging Their Head | Autism Tips by Maria Borde

TAGteach is a wonderful tool for working with children with autism for many reasons. It is a validated scientific method based on the science of Applied Behavior Analysis. It is effective. For the parents, it is easy and low-cost .

For the child, it has numerous advantages: the tag clearly marks for the child the behavior that will earn reinforcement. The tag tells the child, YES, you did something good. Now you are getting a treat. The tag gets around the problem of using words with a child with autism: many times our kids cant understand words, and even if they understand, they cant comply with the request.

Also, our words and voices carry emotional undertones which can be overwhelming for a child with autism. The tag gets around those problems and allows you to mark and reinforce constructive behaviors at the exact moment the child performs them. Also, words take too long. You can tag and reinforce behaviors faster and more frequently with a tagger than you can with words, so you can build a desired behavior faster and with less effort.

To summarize, the advantages of using a tag sound instead of voice are as follows:

  • It is clear and has only one meaning Yes, that was right!
  • It is consistent makes the exact same sound every time.
  • It can be delivered with a high degree of precision just takes a little practice!
  • It requires no processing by the language-processing part of the brain.
  • It conveys no emotional nuances.
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    Do Make The Effort To Talk To Them

    Because talking to kids with autism can be difficult, many adults take the easy way out and just avoid including them in conversations in the first place. But thats a mistake; both you and those children can benefit from attempts at conversation, even if they are not always successful.

    Theres also a tendency to assume that if an autistic child doesnt respond or shuts you down that they dont like you or dont want to talk. But thats not always the case; that signal would be clear from a neurotypical individual but for someone with ASD, its just a part of the syndrome. Dont take it personally, and dont stop trying to gently involve autistic kids in your conversations. They probably want to engage, they just have more difficulty figuring out how.

    Remember They Are Just Kids

    Autistic kids may not act a lot like neurotypical children, but remember youre still talking to someone whose thoughts and attitudes are being formed in an immature brain.

    With a little practice, you may find that you can talk to autistic kids just as easily as any kid. The results, for both you and the child, can be both positive in terms of their development of communication skills and enjoyable as you make an interpersonal connection.

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    Three: Implement Strategies For Managing Biting Based On Cause

    Gathering ABC information for a few weeks may actually give parents and caregivers the answers they are seeking as to why their child is biting without the need for professional intervention . Causes for biting can be as unique as the child, but some of the most common are:

    • Fatigue
    • Normal developmental stage
    • Frustration/anger
    • Escape/avoidance

    Even while collecting data, it is important to attempt to curb the behavior, so during the observation process, use these immediate interventions to keep everyone safe and to let your child know biting is never acceptable.

    Show Them That You Value Them

    How to Redirect an Autistic Child

    Giving your child your full attention also shows them that you care and that they are valued. Everyone wants to feel valued. Our children should always feel that we value them.

    Some ways that you can give your child attention and show that they are valued include the following:

    • Praise your child.
    • Give physical affections, such as hugs.
    • Show interest in their activities.
    • Get on their level when talking.
    • Make eye contact and smile while interacting.
    • Give positive feedback in your daily interactions.
    • Provide them with support in accomplishing daily activities .
    • Build up your child with positive messages.
    • Reassure your child when they are fearful.
    • Support your child when they are upset.
    • Make time to spend with your child one on one daily.
    • Respond to your child every time they talk to you .
    • Ask your child about their day with meaningful, open-ended questions.

    According to the article, Positive Attention and Your Child,

    From birth, children need experiences and relationships that show them theyre valued, capable human beings who bring pleasure to others. Positive attention, reactions and responses from key grown-ups help children build a picture of how valued they are.

    Children must be told and shown that they are valued. What we say and how we act toward our children should be done in a way that makes them consistently feel valued. This will help build a relationship where listening and respect go both ways.

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    Why Do We Use Transition Strategies

    Transitions are a large part of any school or work day, as we move to different activities or locations. Studies have indicated that up to 25% of a school day may be spent engaged in transition activities, such as moving from classroom to classroom, coming in from the playground, going to the cafeteria, putting personal items in designated locations like lockers or cubbies, and gathering needed materials to start working . Similar requirements for transitions are found in the employment and home setting as well, as individuals move from one task to another, attend functions, and join others for meals and activities.

    Some individuals with ASD may have difficulties associated with changes in routine or changes in environments, and may have a need for sameness and predictability . These difficulties may eventually hamper ones independence and limit an individuals ability to succeed in community settings. A variety of factors related to ASD may contribute to these difficulties during transitions.

    Autism Head Banging And Other Self Harming Behavior

    By;Katherine G. Hobbs, AA

    May 16, 2021

    In a recent study it was found that as many as 30% of children on the autism spectrum engage in self-injurious behaviour like head banging or skin picking. This an alarming issue for families with children on the autism spectrum.

    In this guide we discuss the causes;and strategies to help your child reduce self-injurious behavior.

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    Should You Stop All Stimming

    People with autism explain stimming much differently than their parents and peers might. To some activists, stimming is a core part of who they are and how they cope throughout the day. To remove that, they say, is to force them to suppress who they really are.

    Experts say some people use stimming to:

    • Calm anxiety.
    • Focus.
    • Handle overwhelming emotions.

    Others stim because it simply feels good. Keeping their impulses hidden all day long is exhausting, and they look forward to private moments when they can make noises, move their bodies, and be themselves without judgment.

    Autistic adults tell researchers that stims can become accepted behavior if the outside world just understood what the movement meant to them. If your child is engaging in seemingly harmless behavior, yet you’ve heard complaints from teachers or peers, open up a conversation about why your child moves this way and what it means. Perhaps your talk could foster a deeper understanding in your community while allowing your child to feel accepted and loved.

    If your child is stimming in a harmful way, take action. The lessons you teach now can ensure that your child has the best chance of a healthy, happy adulthood.

    What To Do When An Autistic Child Has A Tantrum

    How To Get Your Autistic Child To Stop Hitting | Autism Tips by Maria Borde

    Now that you understand the fundamental differences between temper tantrums and meltdowns, youll recognize that the strategies to address tantrums are rooted more in;behavioral supports and skill-building.

    There are a number of parent-friendly resources that target tantrum management strategies and the majority of them focus on a three-fold approach/

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    Tips For Talking To Kids With Autism

    Since one of the classic symptoms of autism is a marked deficit in verbal communication abilities, a common problem for applied behavior analysts and others who work with children and even adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder is simply being able to carry on a basic conversation. Something as simple as finding out what they want for lunch or whether or not they are happy or sad or indifferent about their current school assignment can be nearly impossible to find out if you rely on normal conversational methods.

    But dont let that stop you!

    There are ways to have conversations with autistic kids and you can make them easier by keeping the following tips in mind.

    Remove Overwhelming Sensory Input

    If your child is over-reacting to sensory input, there are many ways to change the situation. Of course, the first step is to simply avoid overwhelming sensory settings such as parades, amusement parks, and loud venues such as movie theaters. You can also make changes in your home such as replacing fluorescent lamps with incandescent bulbs or turning down the music. When that’s not an option, consider ear plugs, distracting sensory toys, or plain old bribery to get through difficult moments.

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    Physiological Reasons For Headbanging In Autistic Children

    There are also some physiological aspects of autism and self-harm. Stephen M. Edelson, PhD, has some theories regarding autism and headbanging. He suggested physiological reasons autistic children headbang including biochemical and genetic factors. He says that research has found that neurotransmitter levels may have a link to headbanging and other self-injurious behaviors.

    Edelson writes, Beta-endorphins are endogenous opiate-like substances in the brain, and self-injury may increase the production and/or the release of endorphins. As a result, the individual experiences an anesthesia-like effect and, ostensibly, he/she does not feel any pain while engaging in the behavior . Furthermore, the release of endorphins may provide the individual with a euphoric-like feeling.

    While Edelson admits that researchers and medical professionals have not reached a clear consensus on whether dietary or even pharmaceutical interventions can address autism and headbanging, he recommends exploring these options with your childs pediatrician.

    If The Child Seems Over Stimulated From Sensory Input Such As In A Large Crowd Bring Him To A Quieter Place To De

    How to Redirect an Autistic Child

    Be mindful of situations where your child might feel overwhelmed before you take him there .

    There are also strategies to create an environment that helps a child with autism feel less overwhelmed by sensory input.;See How to Set Up the Classroom for Children with Autism;and ADHD which includes strategies that can be used at home as well.

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    Understanding Common Autistic Behaviors

    We usually discipline children because they consciously act in inappropriate ways, whether it’s swiping treats off a sibling’s plate or intentionally tripping a child on the soccer field. However, a child with autism may not be able to control certain behaviors, and it’s important that they are not harshly punished for them. Some behaviors that children with autism may struggle to control include:

    • Biting their hands and fingers
    • Hand flapping or rocking
    • Screaming or yelling
    • Hurting themselves by banging or hitting their heads
    • Not looking at people or making eye contact
    • Physical aggression toward peers and grown-ups, like biting or kicking

    Many of these behaviors stem from children’s struggles to express their needs or desires or understand social norms and cues. You shouldnt place your child in time-out, shame them, or spank them because of these behaviors. Rather, it’s important you work to better understand why they are acting out in this way and, if necessary, try to avoid those triggers in the future.

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