Strategies for Reducing Challenging Behaviors

Autism Nov 01, 2021

In today’s blog, we will be continuing off our most recent post on understanding the causes of challenging behaviors, and will be talking about how to create strategies you can use in each situation to help minimize the likelihood of challenging behaviors occurring in the first place.

One strategy for individuals who have difficulty communicating with others would be to use pictures and illustrations of actions or events to explain something about to take place, such as a social story. This can help set clear expectations of what you’re asking them to do or what is about to happen. These pictures may be best for individuals who tantrum when going from one place to another, when going to new places or seeing new people, or when someone doesn’t have a consistent daily routine or there is about to be a significant change to their routine. To learn more about social stories, check out our blog on them here.

Another effective approach is to give the individual the things they want before the challenging behaviors have a chance to take place. For instance, if someone likes getting attention from you, try to remember to give them plenty of positive attention while they are doing the things you want them to do. As busy parents, it can be easy to let your child play alone when they are content, but if they start to engage in challenging behaviors, you have to respond. When you can remember to give them verbal praise, tickles, hugs, or other forms of attention while they are doing the things you want, this can reduce the likelihood of them engaging in the challenging behaviors in the first place. Similarly, if you are able to give the individual access to the items or activities they like when they are engaging in desired behaviors, this can minimize the chances of them engaging in challenging behaviors to access those same items.

The third strategy to help decrease the frequency someone may engage in challenging behaviors is to teach them more appropriate ways to communicate. When working to decrease challenging behaviors, it’s very important to understand why each behavior is occurring and teach a form of communication that serves the same purpose. Some great examples of this include asking for a toy or snack, asking for a break or for something to stop, and asking for help with a difficult task. There are a number of ways someone can effectively communicate, even if they are non-verbal. Some effective forms of non-verbal communication can include pointing or bringing you to what they want, using a speech-generating device, utilizing a picture exchange communication system (PECS), and using sign language.

In this post, we talked about three great strategies that can be used to help reduce how frequently challenging behaviors may occur, and some potential situations to implement each of them. These strategies just scratch the surface, as everyone is different and what works for someone may not work for another, but they can provide some helpful insight!

Thank you for reading! We hope you found this post helpful and enjoyable. Make sure you follow us on social media for more tips and tricks and stay up-to-date on what’s new with Golden State.