Tag Archives: behavior

Aggression? Not So Much Anymore!

1 Feb
 

Here are some little ideas if you have a child that displays aggressive behavior (see last post)

1. If transitioning from watching TV to taking a bath is difficult try setting a times, provide a warning, have a favorite toy your child can gain only when taking a bath.

2. If going to the grocery store creates problem behaviors try shortening up the trip to a few trips each week limiting the duration of time in the store.  Offer your child a preferred item during this trip.  One mother offered her child a wet wipe. He loved to wipe off the shopping cart as they went through the store.  This provided a fun activity and a distraction.

3. Provide warnings when activities are about to end or the child needs to transition from fun to something less fun – TV to taking a bath.

4. Provide a choice between two activities or items when you must denied the child – No you can not have the candy but I have a piece of gum for you or you can hold my keys.

Help your child transition, or invest in one of these!

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Biting? Hitting? Pinching? Aggression!

27 Jan

Physical aggression, such as hitting, biting, pinching, and hair pulling, can be common at an age when functional communication is limited. 

These aggressive behaviors can also be exhibited by individuals carrying a diagnosis indicative of impaired functional communication skills such as autism

But let’s start with the basics:

Such behaviors may serve a number of different functions for the child such as:

  • defending possessions 
  • avoiding an undesired activity 
  • expressing frustration (especially when they cannot express themselves with words)
  • getting attention. 

It is important not to allow the aggressive behaviors to work

  • Your child bites you because they don’t want to take a bath. Will you let him/her watch TV instead? 

NO! 

Do not allow them to bite and run! Biting will not prevent bath time! Give him/her the bath!! 

TIP:

Try to figure out situations that may trigger aggressive behaviors.  Prevent or make changes in the environment, routine or activity that seems to produce aggressive behaviors.

He needs a bath, no more cartoons!

He needs a bath, no more cartoons!

ie. If you’re in the grocery store, and your child tantrums because you say no to a bag of M&Ms. Do NOT give them the M&Ms. Avoid the candy aisle, avoid the cash registers with candy, and if that doesn’t work, don’t take them to the grocery store!

Attention: The Good & The Bad

27 Mar

Catching kids being bad is easy!  Catching kids being good is much tougher.

Though catching a child being good is where the money is!

Let’s try  changing our focus knowing that our children are motivated by attention.

Attention functioning as reinforcement can increase desired or “good” behavior if more attention is given for the “good” behaviors and less attention is given for the “bad” behaviors.

Tip:

  1. Pledge to compliment or acknowledge one desired behavior per half hour

DO NOT comment on the less desired/ “bad” behaviors.

Toilet Troubles: The Fear of the Seat

22 Mar

Trying to toilet train your child or student?

Often, we have a reinforcement system developed for when the child “goes” on the potty.

The big problem is you cannot get your child to sit on the toilet so you are unable to reinforce the use of the toilet!

The one place your child does not like to "go"

We need to:

–        Break the steps down

–         Reinforce those steps.

In this case, we should reinforce sitting on the toilet.

You have to sit before you can go, right?

Tip:

1. Use a highly motivating item and save this for sitting on the toilet.  The child should only have access to this item while sitting.

(I have had good success using a portable DVD player.  Many of our children enjoy certain TV shows or movies.  Purchase a DVD to be viewed only during sitting on the toilet.)

2.  If the child stands up, remove the reinforcing item. (Turn off the DVD player)

3.  Gradually increase the time your child will tolerate sitting on the toilet.

MORE TOILETING TIPS TO COME! (OR “GO”)

Is Santa Claus A Threat?

8 Mar

“The Easter Bunny is watching,” “I’ll have to tell Santa Claus,” or “When your father comes home…”

Santa Claus

He's always watching...

Do you ever find yourself using these strategy to change your child’s behavior?

Threats RARELY work in modifying a child’s behavior.

THREATS: consequences that rarely manifest. Threats are ineffective in controlling a child’s behavior.

Consequences need to be immediate to be effective
Tip:

Stop

Redirect

Reinforce


  1. Stop the threats and deal with the behavior immediately.  You could do this by firmly re-directing the child to an appropriate behavior – “You may sit over here and look at this book.” or “Go play with your toys in the other room.”
  2. When attention is the child’s motivation, you may have to walk away or remove the child from your presence.
  3. Once the child is engaged in appropriate behavior, take the opportunity to praise and provide attention for good behavior.

Excited? Nervous? Need To Bite Yourself?

3 Mar

Helping the Self Biting Child

Often young children and children with special needs engage in such behaviors.

I have a student who engages in biting himself on the wrist.

False Teeth

Need to bite?

There are a variety of reasons why he engages in this alarming self-injurious behavior.

When attempting to change a behavior it is important to understand what the function or purpose the behavior serves for the child.

To do this: a functional behavior assessment would  help determine the function of the behavior or the purpose the behavior is serving for the child.

This student engaged in this biting behavior for a number of reasons:

– Excitement

– Frustration with instructional demands

– A request denial

– Reinforced by the sensation

For this child, the behavior appears to be rooted in seeking sensory input at the site of the biting.

Now the challenge is to replace the self-biting with a more appropriate alternative behavior.

Here are a few ideas that were effective with this student:

  1. A beaded bracelet was worn and squeezed instead of biting.
  2. Wear sweat bands with rough velcro sewn on the inside.

These items served the same function as the biting.

This solution was more socially appropriate and less harmful than biting.

For another child, the function may be more orally rooted and the replacement behavior would be very different.

Terrible Tantrums Triggered by Talking?!

28 Feb

Do you have a child or a student who has tantrums or meltdowns every time they are told, “NO”?

Temper Tantrum Baby

He was told "No"

As parents and teachers of young children, we often over use this dirty two letter word.

The “No-No Tantrum” is very common.

We have parents that often report that every time they say “No”, their child will: scream, drop to the floor, and bang their head.

Often the word “No” has been paired with being denied something so many times that just hearing this word will produce a tantrum.

When that pattern is seen: “No” indicates to a child that a worsening condition is about to occur. Leading to a TANTRUM.

HOW NOT TO SAY “NO”:


1. Say what you want your child to do

    Instead of telling Johnny, “No, don’t climb on the table!” 

    Present it in the positive, “Johnny, feet on the floor”.

     

2. Combine this with a distraction or redirections

    Remove Johnny from the table in a firm, calm manner. 

    Refocus the child’s attention:”Let’s play blocks” or cars, ball, chase, etc.

    WARNING: Be aware if your child is attempting to gain your attention with this problem behavior.

    – The removal from the table gives attention, which is just what he wants! (Remember the pig from the previous post?)

    You will want to re-direct away from the problem

    Wait a brief period to gain compliance and then engage in attention giving.

     

3. Offer limited choices –

    Don’t just give into your child’s demands. 

    If the child wanted a different cup than what was offered, offer the same item or state that “we can put it away.”

    A tantrum may still occur but this does not mean you handled the situation badly.

    If your child wants more control in choice making, next time offer a choice between cups before the problem behavior occurs.

     

We do not mean to imply that you should never say no.

You must also teach what you expect of your child. Just try not to over use “no.”

Providing kind and firm discipline to teach acceptable behavior is the goal.

We can do this without over using the word “NO”.

Glaciers & Children Have Something In Common…

22 Feb

THE MELTDOWN

Ice melts from the heat. What melts your child?

Understanding why tantrums happen can help you figure out how to deal with the behavior.

There are usually 4 reasons we engage in certain behaviors:
1. gain a desired item
2. gain desired attention
3. avoid or escape a demand
4. automatic -It feels good or something internal triggers the behavior

Anger and tantrums are contagious and no parent or teacher does their best work when angry.

The first step is to calm down
breathe deeply, model emotional regulation for your child.

Do not try to “fix” a the tantrum situation with rewards.

Offering a child an item will teach him that tantrums are a good behavior for gaining something he wants.

Unless you enjoy tantrum behavior, DO NOT give rewards for tantrums.

This would be reinforcing tantrum behavior and a sure way to see this behavior increase in future occurrence.

TIPS:
1. Avoid talking through a tantrum :
• Usually a child is not listen when upset
• Words will likely add fuel to the fire. (Don’t burn your eyebrows off)
• Silence reminds us to stay calm

KEEP IN MIND:
If the child’s tantrum is to gain attention, you will have reinforced the behavior you want to eliminate!

2. Do not try to “fix” a tantrum causing situation with rewards.
Offering a reward during a tantrum = a sure way to get more tantrums!

Reinforcers: Mud, Money, & Motivations

16 Feb

“Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it. ”-Dwight D. Eisenhower

Don’t be afraid of using reinforcement!
Reinforcement is not bribery.

Bribery occurs when items/activities are offered to a child that is engaging in “bad” behavior to get that child to engage in “good” behavior.

Reinforcement is a process in which items/activities are offered to a child after being good to increase the likelihood that those behaviors will continue and occur more often in the future.

We all engage in activities were we receive reinforcement.

Ex: What controls an individual’s behavior for going to work?

Money is serving as the reinforcement for maintaining going to work.

This may be why individuals winning BIG at the lottery quit their jobs. Money no longer serves as a reinforcer for engaging in work behavior.

Tip:

– When trying to establish a new behavior or strengthen a weak behavior in your child, consider what may serve as a reinforcer or be delivered as reinforcement.

– Save that item or activity only for when your child engages in the desired behavior.

– When your child engages in the desired behavior, deliver the reinforcer immediately.

His reinforcer - MUD! He LOVES it!

Fishing For Appropriate Consequences

12 Feb

Why does one child ask nicely for something he wants while another child will tantrum for something he wants?

CONSEQUENCES

A consequence is what follows a behavior. It is these consequences that will increase or decrease the occurrence of a behavior.

HERE IS AN EXAMPLE:
Johnny wants the Swedish Fish candy that Daddy left on top of the refrigerator. Johnny asks Mommy for “fish” but Mommy is unaware that this candy is on top of the refrigerator. When Johnny is denied the candy he starts to scream and cry. This behavior still does not get Mommy to give him the candy.

Johnny takes it to the next level and begins to slap himself. Mommy provides attention for this behavior because she is concerned. She attempts to comfort Johnny who is now in a full rage. Comfort is not what he wants. He turns and bites his Mom.

Dad hearing the commotion, enters the kitchen and questions why Johnny is upset. Mom states that he wants “fish” but she doesn’t have any candy in the house. It is at this point that Dad takes the “Swedish Fish” down from the refrigerator and offers a handful of candy to Johnny, thankful he is calming down. That’s where the mistake happened!

Weeks later, Mom and Dad question why Johnny seems to tantrum and bite almost every time he wants something.

BEHAVIOR BREAKDOWN:

What happen before the behavior Johnny asks for candy and is denied
The Behavior Johnny tantrums
The Consequence Dad gives Johnny the candy

Tip:

1. When giving a child something he wants, attempt to deliver the item or activity with the occurrence of good behavior versus negative behavior.

2. Do not give into tantrum behavior if you want to prevent it from increase.
What should have happened: Mom and Dad waited for Johnny to calm down. Once calm, they asked Johnny what he wanted and prompted him to request using his words again. The swedish fish candy are now delivered paired with asking and not a tantrum or biting.

Scolded Fish

This fish gets a consequence for his bad behavior!