Understanding Crisis Behavior

Some individuals with Aspergers or HFA may engage in crisis behavior that interferes with their learning, puts themselves or others at risk, prevents them from participating in various activities, or impedes the development of relationships.

Crisis behavior can range in severity from low productivity to meltdowns that involve aggression, self-injury, or property destruction.

Stressed teen girl screaming, shouting

Many individuals unfamiliar with Aspergers may believe these types of behaviors are intentional and malicious. However, it has become well known that problem behaviors often serve a function for the individual engaging in the behaviors. Additionally, deficits in the areas characterized by Aspergers may impact behavior.

Here are the characteristics associated with Aspergers or HFA and how it may lead to crisis behavior:

Developing Social Skills

The topics discussed in this blog are often inspired by questions from readers.  This week’s topic of developing social skills is in response to such a question from a parent.

Child playing with toy animals

As you develop social skills, it would be helpful to identify the specific skill[s] that you and he/she feels would be most beneficial.  For instance, does he/she struggle in initiating conversations?  If so, then two strategies might be helpful that you can work on at home. 

Life on the Spectrum: Time and Chance in All

This is the first installment in a weekly column that aims, in various ways, to advance the following argument:

Our increased knowledge about autism has profound implications, so in addition to discussing problems that specifically affect autistic individuals, we should explore what the mere existence of the autism spectrum can teach us about a wide range of social, cultural, political, and even philosophical issues.

Depositphotos_54247341_s-2015

Autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning it affects each person in a different way. That being said, there are certain overriding traits that unite those of us on the autism spectrum. . .

Moving on…When Childhood Friends Out Grow Each Other

kgfamily            I don’t know if telling this story will date me, but I guess it doesn’t matter that I grew up in the sixties. I remember as a child, that song/story of Puff the Magic Dragon. The special friendship he and Christopher Robbins had together, but then the boy grows up and Puff hangs his head and cries. (Or was the Tom Dooley and Winnie the Pooh? LOL) Anyway, my kids have been best of friends since the beginning of time and long before that. They have a sort of love for each other that I pray every day never ends. They even have a secret language and I often hear them babbling away together and cracking each other up with their private jokes. My son looks at his sister and her funny little ways and I can see it in his eyes that she brightens his day and he her’s.

His Challenge Became his Triumph! An Encouraging Story of Autism.

This is a re-posting, by request, of an amazing young man with a jaw-dropping talent that otherwise would have gone unnoticed if not for his supportive Mother. Be sure and ‘vote’ for Grant Manier in a on-line Wells Fargo contest that would allow Grant the funding to continue his Eco-Art! It just takes less than a minute: Vote Here

by: Jennifer Allen/Aspergers101.org

Grant Manier’s (pronounced maun-yay) life began as an unsolved puzzle. With his mother and father divorcing school life was a challenge as his elementary teachers and fellow classmates quickly grew tired of his ‘unusual’ behaviors. To cope with the school room triggers, Grant retreated to his own world of art which included tearing paper. The steady long ripping of the paper soothed him and lessened the stressors of loud sounds however teachers soon became tired of the interruption of outbursts and deemed Grant a distraction that was unsuitable for the mainstream classroom.

Grant's Eco Art

 

Enter someone who completely changed the direction of this young mans life. Grant has an amazing Mom that turned this story (and her son’s future) around with some  aggressive moves. She knew something was different with her son and definitely wasn’t working in the neuro-typical world she grew up in so she removed Grant from the school setting, decided to home-school her son and began the path of learning who he is and how they together could find a way to put this puzzle together once and for all. She knew her son had a form of High-Functioning Autism called Aspergers Syndrome.

I first met Julie Coy Manier through a mutual friend and upon talking with her over the phone, I quickly learned this quicksilver of a mom first loved her son and second held nothing back on his behalf!

Using Art to Facilitate Skill Building

Eszter Kiss, a Provisionally Licensed Counselor employed by the West Virginia Autism Training Center at Marshall University, recently presented “Adding Color to Cognitive Behavior Therapy,” at the WV Counseling Association. The presentation centered on the use of art as a tool to facilitate communication of thoughts and behavior for individuals with ASD. Specifically, Ms. Kiss uses this technique to support college students diagnosed with Asperger’s Disorder.

The autism community has long recognized that many living with ASD can better communicate their inner experience through writing or art. For several reasons, an oral expression of their cognitions or emotions can be extremely difficult for those on the spectrum. College students diagnosed with ASD often need a process through which to express and receive abstract information. Ms. Kiss’ presentation highlighted one such process.

Resilience

Punishment in ABA

While the word “punish” often conjures up bad thoughts for parents and professionals, punishment and reinforcement are key when looking at behavior change through ABA. Punishment in ABA decreases the chances of a particular behavior will occur again, as opposed to reinforcement which increases the likelihood of behavior.

Mother and  son

Let’s look at the behavior analytic definitions of punishment specifically:

Positive Punisher

  • Positive punishers may occur naturally in one’s environment. A child pets a strange dog and gets bit on the finger causing pain. After this occurs, the child does not pet strange dogs. That is considered a positive punisher because the bite/pain (presented stimulus) decreased petting strange dogs (outcome).
  • A parent can use positive punishment as well: siblings are fighting; mom yells “stop it right now!” and the kid’s reaction is to end the fighting. Mom provides the stimulus of yelling, which decreases future occurrence of fighting.

Negative Punisher

  • A negative punisher would be when the removal of a toy ends the fighting between two children. This removal decreases chance of it happening in future.
  • “Time out” is also considered a negative punishment. When used correctly, it removes all reinforcement from the immediate environment resulting in a decrease in future occurrence of the punished behavior.

Mnemonic Devices

You might already use mnemonic techniques in your life. If you have five things to get at the grocery store: sugar, tea, apples, rice and soup, you might create and visualize STARS remember your list.

Detail of elementary school art class

In classrooms, mnemonics is a memory enhancing instructional strategy that involves teaching students to
link new information that is taught to information they already know.

Mnemonic devices are patterns of letters, sounds, or associated ideas that aid people in remembering information. Keyword, pegword, and letter strategies were the mnemonic devices used in the studies included in this meta-analysis.

These mnemonic techniques use acoustically linked proxy words to connect two pieces of information. For example, students were given the keyword “rainy day” and told to think of a frog sitting in the rain to remember that the scientific classification for common frogs is ranidae.

The following are some examples:

The Power of Conversation

Before I started this blog I was in a place where I felt alone and had nobody to relate to. Since then I have met so many amazing people and families. I have had the opportunity to talk with and meet many people who were in the same place I once was when this journey began. I love sharing my story and feel honored to have many share theirs with me along the way. Often times I get phone calls from friends or professionals who think that I should meet a certain family. It touches my heart in so many ways, and I am so lucky to have that opportunity.

However, not everyone is in this situation, I know I never used to be. Important interactions with others are not always planned out. Unless we put our phones down, pick our heads up, and share our stories we will never know all the amazing moments and conversations that could have been.

I don’t put a sign on anyone’s neck, nor do I shout form the rooftops what is going on in my house. Okay so maybe with the exception of this blog. Lol! The point is that you never know what someone’s situation of life experience has been, so be sure to walk through life with your eyes wide open.

The other week we were at a kids’ play place and I noticed a dad intensely following around his child. I recognized his behavior in myself, that dad on high guard with his child used to be me. At one point our children were both in the same area so I put down my phone and walked near them, mostly just to make sure that both kids were going to be okay together. While I do get to relax and stay seated more in public spaces now, I know my children, and felt the shift was necessary.

SODAS Method: Choosing Disclosure

In a previous blog we defined full disclosure of your disability, and accommodations. Often times individuals will have more than one disability, but only one of them may be a concern in the workplace. What I mean by this is that one disability may stay hidden while the other one is visible.

SODAS Method Choosing Disclosure

As I have worked through the disclosure process with my clients they frequently only want to let one disability be known. To work through this we often use the SODAS method, which stands for: Situation Options Disadvantages Advantages and Solution.

The following is an example of the SODAS method: