This blog will deal with how to find behavior intervention strategies for these other common behavior issues.
Social Issues-I’m an introvert so this is even tough but relatable for me. Begin with acceptance. Autistic children don’t understand social norms. They have to be taught how to respond in a given situation like saying, “Hi” or introducing themselves. You can’t make them sociable but you can have them participate in brief social interactions. By leading the way for conversations. For example I’ll say to Landon, “Why don’t you tell them about your day?” I try and think of as many easy topics that he can rattle off. Most people that understand Autism will take that burden off of you.
Repetitive Motion/Obsessions-Some of these are problematic and some are easy to accept. From experience, it is hard to redirect this behavior. Landon’s repetitive motion is an inappropriate flicking his crotch with his fingers. Due to other issues in his life, I had to leave this situation for last. I’ve been trying to find something better he can do then flicking. Right now we are using his understanding of money as our reward and consequence. If he refrains from this behavior his allowance is left alone but if he engages in the behavior too frequently the result is a deduction of the money he could have earned for the day.
The behavior we accept is his “happy hands”. He’ll either jump up and down and flap his arms or flutter his fingers and hands in his face with a smile.
Noise Sensitivity-Using head phones, making sure volumes aren’t high and avoiding loud/crowded rooms. When possible let your child know when a loud noise will happen and strategies they can use during that event. Letting them know that you will be using the vacuum and they can either go to another room and close a door or cover their ears.
Sensory Issues-Provide a sensory bin in your home with all sorts of sensory toys and provide sensory activities. These desensitizing them and it truly works. I used a corn de-husker for years to trim Landon’s nails. When he got older, I let him take control and gave him a nail clipper to cut his nails.
He is a bad nail bitter-which we are working on with a reward system. Landon hated stickers being put on him but eventually he learned to accept one on his hand from the Walmart Greeter.
The other issue we run into is water. Showers bother Landon but he doesn’t mind taking a bath. He hates washing his hands but we force him to follow his visual hand washing schedule every time he’s in the bathroom or cooking.
Sleeping Issues-Consistent bed time, talk to your doctor about possible sleep medication, have a visual schedule of the bed time routine your child needs to follow.
Pica (eating or mouthing non-edible items)-