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Parents Q&A: Child’s Challenging Behaviors

We often receive concerns of parents about their child’s problems in related to behavior, language and social aspects. Today we have invited Autism Partnership’s Senior Case Supervisor, Teri Mok, to answer 2 of the concerns raised by parents.

1) My daughter hurts herself when we criticize / scold her. For example, she will hit her head with an object, twist her finger and bite her lips. What can we do to stop this?

As a parent seeing your child hurting herself is a heart broken experience. Before we start interfering this disruptive behavior, we need to analyze the behavior. Here are some of the factors you might need to think of:
  1. Why does she do that? What is(are) the reason(s) behind?
  2. When does this behavior occur?
  3. After this behavior occurs, what are your reactions? When the child does not behave like this under the same situations, what are your reactions (does she get)?
After we have all the answers for the above questions, we then design a reactive plan, which is a plan guiding us how we handle the behavior after it occurs, and a proactive plan, which is a plan to teach the child a replacement skill when the disruptive behavior does not occur.

For this case, the child hurts herself when someone criticizes her. The possible reason might be release of frustration and escape from the scolding situation.

Then, the reactive plan might be physically stop the child to engage the behaviors for now. The proactive plans are:
  1. To teach her to increase her tolerance towards the criticism and scolding situations systematically.
  2. To teach her some appropriate stress management skills to cope with the undesirable situations such as take a deep breath, drink a glass of water, go to calm down corner or think of something happy.
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2) My son likes to sit by the window and stares at the sky and road. He can do it for 30 mins if I do not interfere him. How can I apply ABA to help him?

It sounds like he really likes looking out of the window! First, you need to find out:
    – Why he looks out the window?
    – What is he looking at?
    – What do you want your child do if you pull him away from the window?
The possible reason for your child engaging in this behavior might be because he does not have other things he likes to do/play or he does not know what to do.

Then below are the ways you can try to help him to not only sit and stare outside the window:
  1. Prepare some fun toys or activities to play with him when you pull him away from the window.
  2. Prepare the activities or toys which serve the same or similar function(s) as he stares out the window.
  3. Expand his interests towards vary age appropriate activities or toys.
  4. Increase exposure to different activities.
  5. Provide plenty opportunities to expose to the new/neutral toys/activities.
  6. Assign things for the child to do.
  7. Teach play skills

Information provided by: Ms. Teri Mok (Autism Partnership Senior Case Supervisor)

Ms. Teri Mok’s related event (Simultaneous interpretation with Ms. Christy Lai):
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