Parenting Tips: How do I manage my child’s challenging behaviors at home? - Autism Partnership Singapore

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Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are neurodevelopmental impairments characterized by difficulties with communication, socialization, and rigid and repetitive behaviors (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).

Although not part of the diagnostic criteria, it is common that children with ASD often display challenging behaviors.

These are inappropriate behaviors that children face which often interfere with their daily living, ability to learn and impact their quality of life.

These behaviors can be wide-ranging, it includes challenges as varied as non-compliance to doing everyday tasks, refusing to eat a certain food, behaving inappropriately in public or intolerance to changes in their routines.

It can be challenging for parents and caregivers to manage their child’s behaviours, and it often causes stress to the families.

The first step to managing behaviours is to first understand why these behaviours occur.

The A-B-C to understanding your child’s behaviours:

A- Antecedents:
These are what we call the ‘triggers’ that lead to the child’s behaviours

B- Behaviours:

These are the behaviours the child display in response to the trigger (E.g. Tantrums, Aggression, Non-Compliance)

C – Consequence:

This is what the child gets from displaying the behaviours. This will also determine whether the child is likely to repeat the same behavior or not.

To better manage and address a child’s challenging behaviours,
here are 3 steps to do so:

Step 1: Identify the disruptive behavior that your child is displaying

Every child is different, so are their behaviours. Examples of disruptive behaviours can include tantrums, aggression (hurting themselves or others), excessive repetitive behaviours (self-stimulation), non-compliance or inattention.

Step 2: Find out possible reasons causing your child to behave this way

As much as we want to solve our child’s behaviors problems, we first need to understand why our child is behaving this way. Some are biological while some are learned.
For example:

BIOLOGICAL • Tired • Hungry • Unwell
LEARNED • For avoidance • To gain access to something • To get someone’s attention • For boredom • Frustration when they unable to communicate or when refused from something that they want

Step 3: Addressing these behaviours

Once we have identified the possible reason(s), we can look at how we can address these behaviours through these two strategies.

"IN THE MOMENT" What can we do in the moment when the child is displaying these behaviours?
"PROACTIVELY" Looking at what are some meaningful replacement skills we can teach the child to help reduce the problem behaviours.

Speaker Biography:

Edith Kho (Senior Case Supervisor)

Edith Kho (Senior Case Supervisor)

Edith Kho holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Sydney, Australia. She started working with children at Autism Partnership Singapore in 2012. Her role includes working on a child’s behavior, communication, play, social and self-help skills in a one-on-one and group setting. She has also provided shadow-aide support for children transiting into mainstream schools.

Presently as a Senior Case Supervisor, Edith oversees The Mandarin Overseas Accelerate Program in Singapore. She works closely with the consultants to design individualized curriculum for the children and conducts parent training supervision.  Edith also been active in presenting talks to the local community, in raising awareness for Autism.

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