Niam is no longer the small tiny baby I can scoop up in my arms during moments of temper tantrums or periods of not listening. Niam is 13 with Autism, 5’7 and my height. He has not hit his growth spurt. He will soon be taller than me and out power me in strength. I have already begun to put in place Autism Behaviour Protocols from principles of ABA Therapy to use as Niam ages and grows.
TEACHING CALMING STRATEGIES USED IN ABA THERAPY ARE ONE OF
THE BEST NON INVASIVE APPROACHES THAT CAN BE USED ANYWHERE
1.USE SOCIAL STORIES TO TEACH CALMING TECHNIQUES
Social Stories are a great way to introduce your child to the different strategies that can be used in times of distress. What are social stories? A social story is a learning tool that helps support the safe and meaningful exchange of information between parents, professional, and people with autism of all ages ( Carol Grey). Able2learn has created behaviour social stories to help your child understand their behaviour. These are practical strategies that can be employed in situations to help children and adults calm down.
Download Able2learn’s ABA Resources such as “ I CAN KEEP MY BODY CALM” and “ I FEEL FRUSTRATED” Social Stories from Able2learn to read to your child or student. Discuss the different strategies and choose one strategy to begin your journey.
2. USE CHOICE BOARDS
While social stories are a great way to initiate a conversation, it may be difficult to for a child to remember all the great strategies that were mentioned in the social story. In the beginning, when I was teaching Niam the different strategies that were appropriate for him to help him calm down, I used a choice board. I recommend not having too many choices for the child. Download Able2learn’s ABA Resources, 5 OPTION CHOICE BOARD with strategy PECS from Able2learn. Laminate the choice board. Keep it in your purse when you go out. I have printed out a few copies and keep them in different rooms in my house and grandparents home. Choice Boards are often used in ABA Therapy. Choice Boards can easily be used in Behaviour Modification Plans for children with Autism.
3.USE BREAK FLASHCARDS
Teaching your child to ask for a break is very important. If your child is feeling pressure or beginning to feel frustrated having a visual Break Flashcard can help remind the child to ask for a break. Alternatively, the child can hand in the Break Flashcard for a Break. A break flashcard can be paired with a choice board. The choice board can have choices the child can choose for their break. Choices can be a drink of water, music, a sensory break or quiet time. Download Free ABA Resources, Break Cards here from Able2learn.
4. REWARD POSITIVE BEHAVIOUR
Principles of ABA Therapy can be used with children and adults with Autism in a classroom, at home and in the natural environment. . Behaviour analysis is a scientifically validated approach to understanding behaviour and how it is affected by the environment. Rewarding positive behaviour can help reinforce the wanted behaviour. If you want your child to sitting quietly, reward them when they are sitting quietly and reinforce them with praise. You can download Able2learn Free Suggested Praises. Token Boards are often used in ABA Therapy and can be used to for positive reinforcement. Download one of our free Simple Token Boards made by Able2learn or a Visual Token Board.
It is important to use positive reinforcement. Don’t take away a token board for bad behaviour. It will only cause more stress and anxiety.
5.USE POSITIVE WORDS
The advice I am about to give you makes sense to the intelligent. Funny enough when you are in the situation it is easy to forget. Many times I find myself using negative words. I have trained myself to be more positive. The results have been incredible. I will say “ Good printing on the lines” instead of “ Don’t print outside the lines. “ Walk on the side walk” or “ Cars are for roads” instead of “ Don’t walk on the road” Remember back to when you were a child, wasn’t it tempting to do what you are not supposed to do? A child with autism is not any different. Never make that mistake. Try not to use the word “ Don’t “ or “ Can’t “ and rephrase the sentence in a positive manner. Download the list of praises here.
This is the most important if not the most difficult advice I can give you. You need to stay calm. If you get frustrated or get angry you are not helping to de-escalate the situation. In fact, you may make it worse. In ABA Therapy , therapists are often taught to be calm in any situation. Parents – it is no different for us.
To recap, use positive reinforcement, praises, flashcards, social stories and choice boards by applying the principles of ABA Therapy. Download free ABA Resources at Able2learn. Good luck on your journey and don’t forget to share your progress and thoughts!
Download our FREE life skills visual recipe in autism cooking.
Download our Free Social Story with Yes or No Questions
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