For over 50 years of work, school and adult support services the National Autism Society (United Kingdom) have developed their own strategy for understanding and responding to the needs of children and adults with autism. This strategy can be useful to identify hidden problems and reduce disability caused by autism; it can also be the basis for the development of communication skills. All the training of the Society stuff is built on this strategy, which is also used as the basis of the ethical code of the organization.
The strategy recognizes the unique and individual needs of each child and adult, and stresses that they should be the focus for the planning and organization of any interventions. The National Autism Society believes that several related approaches can help children and adults with autism, and that the focus on their strengths and minimizing effects caused by the disease, may lead to personal growth and development, and allow them to live life to the full.
In the case of problematic behavior, it is important to start working on it as soon as possible, because usually such behavior of autistic children is very quickly established as habits, gaining intensity, and it becomes extremely difficult to change it.
Typically, approaches to managing such behavior are complex and include correcting of the major physical health problems, as well as behavioral and educational support to teach children basic skills and self-management. There is no magic drug solving all problems at once, however there are a few simple and effective approaches that may be helpful for families and professionals.
Positive behavior support strategies have proved effective in many studies. As an alternative approach, people, as a rule, resort to the use of punishment, which implies that unwanted behavior will decrease if the child will be punished by deprivation (for example, his favorite toy will be taken of) or will receive a verbal reproach. While the punishment can work immediately, it has been proven to be ineffective in the long run and can cause violent behavior, to generate an additional unwanted behaviour, as well as to affect educators or parents-child relationship. To sustain improvements in behavior, its reinforcement and feedback are essential.
If there are several lines of problem behaviour in the first place, it is important to set priorities. First, you can define the behavior that is dangerous using trust behavior or take as target skills, which may improve the situation in several behavioral scenarios. However, you should always remember that goals should be realistic and meaningful. Nonverbal child hardly learns to speak full sentences overnight, but if learn to show the card “I want to break” when he needs to take a minute to rest, and do this without usual aggressive outbursts, it will be a huge achievement.
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