Stimming, or self-soothing behaviours, seems to help some children with autism to manage emotions and cope with overwhelming situations. However, stimming can also affect children in negative ways such as hitting, kicking, or biting that can quickly translate into injury.😭💢
There are ways on how you can reduce their need to stim. You can start with these 3 simple tips!
📌Change the child’s environment
If a child finds the environment too stimulating, he/she might need a quiet place to go, or just one activity or toy to focus on at a time.
📌Don’t try to stop stimming altogether
Aim to reduce the frequency and duration of stimming.
📌Redirect the stimming
Each time you see your child stimming, redirect his attention to something else so that he doesn’t get into the habit of doing so.
If your child is struggling with stimming, asking for a professional’s help is wise. ABA Therapy is also one way that can help the child cope effectively. ABA professionals will analyze your child’s behaviour to determine when the stimming starts. Then, they suggest modifications that can help remove stimming triggers. They may also offer stim alternatives that won’t stand out or harm your child or others.
If you wish to learn more about ABA therapy, get in touch with us to see how we can help you!
A huge part of using ABA therapy for autism is its focus on social interactions and communication skills. A child with autism will typically have difficulty socializing with peers and also with communicating wants or needs. ABA is perfect for these deficiencies.
Here are 5 good reasons why ABA Therapy can benefit children with autism:
💙 it can be an individualised and customisable treatment
💙 it includes a detailed and thorough programming
💙 it develops independence in children
💙 it includes parents and family members in the child’s therapy program
💙 it allows for fun, engaging teaching methods
Share with parents who need to see this today and help them take that first step in making that positive change in their child’s life.
If you have questions about ABA Therapy or home sessions, feel free to message us today.
Therapy may not always be therapeutic if it’s not addressed to the right individuals. This is why therapy comes in many forms. In Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA), treatment can be arranged in different settings—each with their own strengths and drawbacks. This is what we want to flesh out in this blog.
At AutismSTEP Singapore, we prefer certain set-ups but we also want you to know the options available to you. We hope that the knowledge you will gain can help you in making your decision as you seek the right interventions for your child.
ABA is Effective
Before we discuss what to expect in ABA sessions, let’s understand why ABA therapy is important.
ABA is the leading evidence-based therapy for autism spectrum disorder. It is known as the best practice treatment for autism as recommended by the American Psychiatric Association. The interventions used have been studied through extensive and credible scientific research. This revealed that ABA is effective in helping children with autism in a variety of ways from reducing challenging behaviours, improving self-care and life skills, and supporting the child’s social and communication skills to help them improve their overall quality of life.
Basically, the purpose of ABA therapy is to change behaviours by either increasing or decreasing specified target behaviours. The role of an ABA therapist or BCBA is to observe the child in multiple environments.
In this blog, we will look into the different environments a child can be subjected to during therapy. We will discuss how individual therapy, group-based therapy, home-based therapy, and centre-based therapy play a role in ABA therapy.
As the name suggests, individual therapy is delivered in a one-on-one environment. With the focus of each session set only on one child, interventions can be tailored to him or her. Activities can be matched according to the child’s developmental stage and special needs. Such an arrangement allows the ABA therapist to be more thorough in understanding the specific challenges that a child has.
In addition, individual sessions give the child more opportunities to interact with the therapist than in group interventions. It can enhance expressive language, be it in words or actions.
Furthermore, sessions can also be catered to the child’s pace. So it can be sped up if a child can handle more focused and intense interventions, or it can be slowed down if clients need time to adjust.
Individual sessions are also convenient because these can be arranged at a time that is most conducive to your child’s schedule. It can even be arranged rather quickly, if needed.
Group Based Therapy
A group intervention is delivered as a uniform programme for an entire group of children. This approach gives the child an opportunity to engage with other children in a group setting.
Group interventions allow children to learn the group’s rules and develop social skills. It provides opportunities for them to learn adaptive behaviours by participating in group activities. Since it is conducted with a large group, it is more efficient and cost-effective than an individual group session.
In a group setting, parents also get to meet other parents, which can lead to peer support and information sharing.
There are also certain drawbacks with therapy done in a communal setting. As they say, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”. The same can be said for larger groups because the level of intervention may not be the same or as intense for each child in an individual therapy.
A behavioural therapist will be responsible for everyone in the group, taking data on each child, and managing a multitude of variables. Hence there’s more to oversee.
A group therapy also has to be set at specific times for everyone to follow. It’s possible that there may be less opportunity to fit it into one’s personal schedule.
One of the disadvantages of a group setting is that a child may learn negative behaviours from other children. Based on the research done by psychologist Albert Bandura, there is what we call observational learning. Children learn and imitate behaviours by watching and listening to others. He and others have demonstrated that humans have a natural inclination to engage in observational learning.
A group setting may widen a child’s social skill, but it may take away some of the focus. So it pays to know your child’s needs, their level of development, and the change you want them to achieve to know if a group therapy is the way to go.
Children with autism can also participate in a center-based ABA program. These sessions can take place in the school, community, and in a more exclusive clinical environment for one-on-one therapy.
Centre-based therapies can be effective because they provide structure and control. While these are possible in a home setting, therapists can also enforce a structured routine in a centre-based setting by controlling the environment and distractions. They can even create mock situations to teach skills such as taking turns, paying attention, and following instructions. As these skills are enforced, the child can also familiarize with the environment and routine of specific tasks.
However, there are also limitations to centre-based therapies. The targeted behaviours that parents seek help for are often specific to the home, hence it may not be addressed with centre-based interventions. It is common for children’s behaviour to vary in different environments. These changes in behaviour are particularly obvious in environments outside of the home, especially among children with learning difficulties, autism, ADHD, anxiety, social difficulties, etc. Therefore, the problem behaviour the child exhibits at home may not be observed when they are out of their comfort zones.
Home Based Therapy
Centre-based settings are developed to target behaviours within those settings, while home-based ABA
interventions are typically used within the home. But the skills developed can also be applied to other settings.
ABA therapy that is designed for the home allows skills to be targeted in their most natural environment in which they are most likely to occur. For instance, the program can help a child clean up toys in their playroom or perform basic self-care tasks (e.g. eating, bathing, hygiene). These are developed using items and circumstances that the child is most likely exposed to everyday. Even social skills can be honed with siblings using games that are already owned by the family.
AutismSTEP Singapore stands by this model because it allows children to learn skills where they feel comfortable and secure. Home-based learning is beneficial for those children who consistently fail to respond safely around other children and need a more controlled environment with less unpredictable factors to deal with. ABA therapies may be most effective when taught in a natural environment instead of a simulated one.
In-home therapy also facilitates parent or caregiver training, which is a necessary component of any ABA program. This arrangement provides better and more opportunities for parent and caregiver training. It helps reinforce the ABA interventions and increase the chances that the child will maintain the desired behaviour.
Depending on the needs of the child, the parent, and the availability of the applied behaviour analyst, in-home ABA services can replace or complement center-based interventions.
How will you know which is the better option?
These 4 ABA programs each have their pros and cons, and in between, there is always a hybrid option to consider. There are various options to help children grow and develop. Regardless of what path you choose to take for your child’s treatment, it’s crucial that you choose a reputable company that has certified ABA therapists and BCBAs on board. ABA therapy can do wonders if experts are at the wheel and the team working with the child is consistent and persistent.
If you’re keen to know about our home-based individual therapy, you can call us so we can discuss our programme with you. AutismSTEP Singapore offers a customised therapy session. Get in touch with our team today and see how we can help your child move forward.
Caring for a child with autism will be inherently challenging, and if you are in this position right now, we want to remind you to hang in there! You’re doing great!
Always remember that you are your child’s hero. Your understanding and patience are the loudest expression of love. Remember, autism is not a choice, but your acceptance is.
Share this with someone who needs to see this reminder today.❤️
If you have questions about ABA Therapy or home sessions, feel free to message us.
The way you phrase your sentences can also create a world of difference in the way your child responds.
For children with autism, make sure that you use the right verbal cues, so you can get a favourable response that will also help the child grow. One way to do it is to offer choices.
Providing choice-making opportunities has demonstrated successful outcomes to manage problem behaviour. Choices indicating personal preferences can also function as powerful reinforcers. ⭐
Have you been having a hard time dealing with your child’s temper, tantrums and meltdowns? You may read our most recent blog “9 Ways ABA Therapy Techniques Can Help Manage Your Child’s Tantrums.”
If you have other questions or concerns, feel free to message us today.
It helps to keep an arsenal of items that can help children cope with their emotions in a safe and positive manner.
If you are to prepare your own toolkit and customise it to suit your child’s preferences, what can we find in it? 💕
If you have questions about ABA Therapy or home sessions, feel free to send us a message now.
#AutismSTEP #autism #meltdownkit #ASD #autismsg #autismtherapy
Caring for a child with autism presents unique challenges and stress. But certain strategies, like setting simple goals, can help you avoid tantrums and meltdowns. 😭
A visual schedule is a systematic technique that enhances learning and communication for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It helps a child know what the rhythm of their day is. By establishing structure and predictability, a day’s progress may be less stressful for the child, inevitably reducing the likelihood of tantrums.
Share this with a parent who might find this useful. 💕 If you have questions about ABA Therapy or home sessions, feel free to send us a message now.
“I was desperately looking for help online one particular night when I realised my son started to show all the red flags of Autism symptoms. I called the hotline the next morning and spoke to Liyuan. I was grateful that he picked up my call and answer all my queries and I can still remember his calming voice as I was very upset and crying inconsolably.
I’m relieved that I manage to seek help from AutismSTEP and hearing my 3 years old son’s beautiful voice was something that I had been looking forward to. He was a non-verbal kid before he started ABA with AutismSTEP. And I’m grateful that he shows tremendous improvement after 1 year of therapy with Hilwa and Edmund.
Now he can engage in a short conversation with us, play with his little sister, answering phone call, enjoy going to childcare, and even help out with house chores. I will definitely recommend AutismSTEP to people who might need help.”
Age of child when intervention started: 3 years & 3 months
Length of Intervention: 15 months
Get started on your own success story. Visit ABA with https://www.autismstep.com/home-program to learn more. Or if you have questions about ABA Therapy and home sessions, feel free to send us a message today.
Meltdowns, tantrums, and aggression may all be part of raising a child on the spectrum. While these can be difficult to manage at times, having the right strategies can significantly improve his/her ability to regulate emotions in the future. As a parent, you know your child best and should, therefore, it helps that you read up on safe and effective ways to help your child cope.
Common Reasons Why Tantrums Occur
For children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), temper tantrums may be triggered for a variety of reasons. With limited communication skills, they may engage in tantrums as a way of expressing or acting out when they are confused, afraid, anxious, or stressed about something.
A tantrum may also result when a preferred object or activity is removed. But you should also be quick to assess because a tantrum could be a response to pain, discomfort, or other medical issues.
Whether in a classroom, when receiving specialized ABA therapy, or even at home, the reason why a child is having a tantrum is important in order to develop a plan to minimise it from happening.
Tips for managing and preventing tantrums:
1. Determining the antecedent(s)
The first step to learning how to manage tantrums is determining what led up to the behaviour. Knowing how escalation occurs can be very helpful. The usual symptoms may include more than normal stimming, or rocking, asking to leave an environment, or simply bolting to escape. If you understand what triggers your child, it helps you to stop a meltdown before it happens.
2. Use a schedule to structure their time
Transitions can be a struggle for children with autism, and they respond best when they know what to expect. So, to reduce a child’s tantrums and meltdowns, you need to prepare them for what’s to come.
Schedules establish a predictable environment where a child can feel safe. It also helps them to better understand expectations and when preferred activities will occur. For instance, you can say that play time comes after bath time. You can also use schedules as a way to tell them that they can have what they want after doing something they don’t want to do. When they know what to expect, it allows a child to engage more successfully in activities and prevent tantrums.
Schedules come in many forms depending on the abilities of your child. You can use a visual schedule if they struggle reading or respond better to pictures than written words.
3. Make transitions special
Always remember that kids with autism can struggle with:
- Disengaging from the current task
- Switching attention to the new task
- Re-engaging attention on to the new task
Transitions are not particularly easy for children with special needs, but a transition object or toy can help ease some of the stress. It should only be used during specific transitions, like going from home to school. By making transitions special, your child will be more excited about a new setting or activity, which can help them prepare for what’s coming next.
Always remember that transitions can take a lot of practice before you see improvement! It may not happen overnight, but consistency and positive reinforcement can really help to build positive behaviours over time.
4. Prime the child about what’s to come
Priming is an intervention that prepares a child for an upcoming activity or event with which they normally have difficulty. When they know what’s going to happen next and are offered some suggestions of what they can do or say, it makes them less likely to engage in tantrum behaviours. Priming is most effective if it is built into the child’s routine.
5. Offer choices
Tantrums usually happen when the child feels like they don’t have a choice. These choices can be small, such as letting a child decide what toy he wants to play with, to larger decisions like when to do activities or what kind of food to eat. Offering choices between two items or activities helps the child understand that they are given some control over what is happening.
6. Break down tasks
Avoid giving too many instructions or complicated tasks because this can be frustrating for a child and it may lead to tantrums. Trying to break down tasks into easy components is an ABA technique called Task Analysis. But you can apply it when preventing tantrums because it allows you to give instructions for small tasks one at a time. Skills that require a task analysis typically consist of multiple components that comprise a larger skill (e.g., washing dishes, putting on a coat). This practice teaches your child self-help and other adaptive skills which also reduces temper tantrums.
7. Arrange their environment
Environmental manipulation can help prevent tantrums before they even begin. For example, if your child has the tendency to swipe things off the table when you tell him to do his homework, clear all unnecessary items first before telling him to do so. By removing distractions or items that cause problem behaviour, you can help your child complete more challenging activities without triggering a meltdown.
8. Reward each small success along the way
Giving positive reinforcement is one of the main strategies in ABA which can aid you in reducing tantrums. It is a great way to encourage desired behaviours, especially if you do it more often.
When a behaviour is followed by a reward, a child is most likely to repeat it. Keep rewarding your child with praise and encouragement. For example, you can say ‘Well done!’, give your child a high five or a big hug, or put a sticker on your child’s reward chart. Over time, this encourages positive behaviour change.
9. Give Frequent Breaks
Most of us get frustrated especially when we’re stuck in tasks that we find challenging, and children with ASD are no different. Let your child take breaks often, especially when they’re doing a non-preferred activity. Provide frequent breaks to minimize stress around problem situations. By doing so, you can prevent problem behaviour before it occurs. However, we will taper the frequency of breaks down once the child is accustomed to doing the task.
By following these practices, you can minimise the likelihood of a tantrum. Remember to do them before a behaviour occurs, not during or directly after a tantrum or meltdown.
If you are currently dealing with a tantrum situation at home or in the school setting, contact an ABA therapist and discuss the options available for you. Call AutismSTEP today at +65 6456 9950. We provide personalised, focused, and home-based interventions for your child. Our ABA therapists are well-equipped to assess the underlying reasons behind your child’s tantrum and teach them other adaptive behaviours.
If we want to help a child with autism progress through his or her current struggles, we need to address them on their level. The process will entail a lot of patience and understanding. Remember that each child will learn, but not in the same way.
So, hang in there! This journey isn’t easy for your little one either, but the fact that you’re doing something about it will show some improvements later on. ✨
If you have questions about ABA Therapy or home sessions, shoot us a message today. 💕