Challenging behaviors can be difficult to address in children with autism. After appropriately identifying the behavior, a suitable intervention can be used to proactively, or reactively, reduce and replace it. Experts reviewed key points and effective ways to address these problem behaviors in the edWebinar, “Effective Approaches to Reduce and Replace Challenging Behaviors Exhibited by Children with Autism.”
1. Define the behavior in a non-subjective manner: In order to address a behavioral problem, the behavior must first be defined. The behavior should be specific, observable, and measurable, and it should not be subjective.
2. Have a data baseline: It’s crucial to have a baseline to tell if the intervention is working, and how well. Therefore, data collection is key when putting an intervention into place. Different methods of data collection can be used depending on the circumstance or how you plan to measure the behavior that’s occurring.
3. Implement proactive strategies: After identifying the behavior and collecting the data, what can be done to reduce or replace it? Proactive strategies may include a classroom checklist to make sure the environment is optimal for learning; the student has an effective way to communicate; there are enough opportunities for movement (depending on the age of the student); and more.
4. Think of a replacement: Also, consider a replacement behavior (an alternative behavior—preferably one the student already knows—that can replace the challenging behavior). For example, teaching a student how to appropriately request a break from a lesson instead of crumpling paper or throwing materials.