My Study On Problem Behavior In Autistic Children
My daughter is now a big (Will be 16 years next year) lovely and tolerable girl but she didn't start like this. Her problem behavior was the greatest challenge I had to put up with between the ages of 8 and 12. She showed a lot of aggression which is one of the major signs of autism in children.
She expressed problem behaviors including hitting and biting whenever she was angered. It was embarrassing because it made it difficult for me to leave her under the care of a nanny or in the company of other children. Long before I got her diagnosis, I received a lot of complaints from her teacher concerning her aggression towards other children.
Generally, children – autistic or not – tend to express some form of problem behavior. The difference is that children not suffering from autism spectrum disorder will tend to change easily when the parents or caregivers show displeasure towards their activities. According to my findings, problem behavior is more common in children with autism.
As a single mother who wanted to protect my daughter from undue social stigma and pressure, I did most of the research on my own. It was during this research that I discovered that functional analysis can find the cause problem behavior as well as identify the best way to treat it. The treatment for problem behavior is usually more straightforward compared to strategies for general behavior management.
The Danger Of Problem Behavior
As a parent, caring for my daughter when she had problem behavior was the most exhausting moment of my life – it was not also easy for her school and her teacher. Unruly behaviors including self-injury, tantrum, and destruction of properties placed her at risk of social exclusion and isolation. It breaks my heart to say this but I am guilty of sometimes ignoring her or not wanting her to follow me to certain places.
Problem behavior is one of the health challenges of children living with autism.
According to a study on autism, problem behavior includes the inability of a child to communicate their demand to the parents or teachers, inability to understand demands, severe difficulty to start and maintain social relationships and interactions, and engaging in repetitive and restrictive behaviors.
Problem behavior is one of the health challenges of children living with autism. However, researchers posit that the so-called problem behaviors in children with autism are usually normal behaviors that are observed among children. The difference is that in children with autism the frequency, intensity, and duration of these behaviors are higher which distinguishes them from normal developing children.
The Causes Of Problem Behavior
The functional analysis uses other people's reaction to problem behavior because how the parent or caregiver reacts to problem behavior may cause it to become more consistent or rise to an unmanageable level – notwithstanding that the reaction may be effective on children without the condition. Once the cause is determined, a personalized treatment regimen can be developed.
When the functional analysis is used to determine the cause of problem behavior in autism, three factors will be analyzed include;
Attention or another action from the caregiver that may cause problem behavior (causes approximately 30% of problem behavior),
Opting out of doing an unpleasant task like homework (causes approximately 30% of problem behavior), and
Sensory reasons (causes 20% of problem behavior). This does not involve a reaction from anyone.
Appropriate Individualized Intervention
For children with autism, there is no single intervention that has been found to eradicate the problem completely. However, experts in the field are suggesting that are advocating the prevention of the emergence of problem behavior which should start from childhood.
In the past, ‘extinction’ was used for the treatments of problem behavior
In the past, ‘extinction’ was used for the treatments of problem behavior. Extinction involves not giving the child what they want. Recent studies have projected a better way of increasing the efficacy of management without extinction. These include;
• Functional communication
• Noncontingent reinforcement
• Differential reinforcement
In as much as any parent or caregiver would want problem behavior to go away, care must be taken on the approach of treatment. According to the Clinical Practice Guideline for Autism/Pervasive Developmental Disorders handed down by the New York State Department of Health in 1999,
“The use of an ineffective assessment of intervention method is a type of indirect harm if it's use supplants an effective assessment or intervention method that the child might have otherwise received.”