" Presentation of new tasks accompanied by old tasks promotes the child to target behaviors quicker. Letting the child chose the items of stimulus is another motivational tool. Self-motivation and self-management teach the child the consequences associated with their actions or behaviors. Self-management involves:
1. Choosing a specific behavior to target, such as aggression, hygiene, or verbal communication with others
2. Teaching the child to recognize when he/she behaves appropriately. Do not focus on the absence of the negative behavior, rather reward when appropriate behaviors are displayed.
3. Once the child has learned to differentiate the desirable behavior from undesirable, then the child is taught to monitor brief periods of time or occurrences of the positive behavior.
4. After mastering step #3, the child can be taught to self-manage in any environment. The provider should only remind the child to begin self-management and then gradually fade out of the new environment by leaving for longer periods of time
This prepares the child for dealing with other adult's later in life and helps them gain more independence.
True friendships are hard for autistic children to develop and grow. They do not develop the "give and take" mentality in conversations or relationships. Once the autistic person fails or meets ridicule at an attempt to be part of a group, they withdraw and are reluctant to try again. "These children with autism social skills often suffer from increased anxiety when they have to speak with others or discuss something in class. This type of anxiety can be overpowering to the children and often leads to even more pronounced inhibitions on their part," reports Articlesbase.com (2010) in the web article, "Autism Social Interaction - How to Deal With Negative Autism Social Skills." One start to integrating the autistic child in to social interactions is to start with small groups and slowly increases the size of the group and the time spent in the interaction. The process must progress at a pace comfortable to the child and this will build the confidence of the child.
Applied Behavior Therapy (ABA) rewards positive behaviors committed by the child and ignores all the undesirable ones. The ABA therapy trains the child how to learn and enables them to learn in the academic setting. One big mistake made by most individuals is that IQ scores relate to the way the autistic child functions and learns. Numerous reasons can result in low scores for the autistic child such as: distractions in the testing environment, hyperactivity, lack of visual stimuli or time pertaining to some of the question, and there can be numerous other reasons.
The setting of a schedule can be an effective tool in teaching autistic children. These children often resist anything that upsets the routines they are accustomed to. Essortment.com (2010), in the article, "Treating children with high functioning autism," concludes, "These children also need advanced notice of impending changes. For example, using the phrase "in five minutes, we're going to put away the puzzles, and read a story" will assist them in transitioning to this next activity."
Autistic children depending on the impairments they are experiencing may require other therapies such as: occupational, behavioral, speech, and language. In extreme cases, a physician, such as a pediatric neurologist, may be required to prescribe medication to control the child's emotions or disorder.
Advances in autism are being made on a daily basis but there is still a long way to go in understanding autism. Behaviors have to be taught to autistic children in ways that are pleasant and promote the interest of the child to learn them. Autism is more of an infliction than a disease and studies are needed to further the knowledge of the problem and what cures could eventually be made.
In the mean time, behavioral therapies must be used to develop good social interactions.
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Figure 1 (National Institutes on Mental Health, 2010)