With longer holiday breaks just ahead, parents have asked what they can do to prevent behavioral regression in their child with autism. The following tips from John Wilson, BCBA, supervisor at the Y.A.L.E. School’s Audubon campus, will help moms, dads and other caregivers promote and maintain their child’s positive behavior at home.
- Catch them being good. Be sure to notice when your child is doing something RIGHT and let them know it.
- Do it often. Clinicians at The Y.A.L.E. School recommend reinforcing a child at least four times for each time the child is corrected. That means if you are correcting behavior five times an hour, you need to be reinforcing positive behavior every three minutes, or 20 times an hour.
- Mix it Up: Be sure to use general praise, (e.g., “nice job,” “thanks!”) as well as behavior specific praise that describes what you are reinforcing, (e.g., “Nice job picking up your toys and putting them in the basket.”)
- Use what works: Many students on the autism spectrum do not value praise or social reinforcement. You have to reinforce your child with what matters to him or her, not what matters to you. Get creative.
- Try to keep it natural: Consider what the natural reward would be for the behavior you are trying to encourage. When ever possible, move from contrived reinforcers (e.g., gummie bears, stickers, tokens) to more natural rewards.
DID YOU KNOW: There are more than 100 ways to say “good job” http://www.fullspectrumlearning.ca/1/post/2010/09/100-ways-to-say-great-job.html