Friday, August 3, 2012

Positive Reinforcement is an Integral Part of ABA Therapy

One of the biggest problems that school systems have with providing a proper education for children with autism spectrum disorder is that they tend to display negative behavior patterns. These patterns can include anything from verbal disruptions to repetitive motions, self harming actions, and more. Unfortunately, too many of today's schools handle these behaviors by applying standard punishments. Instead, schools should be turning to ABA therapy, which is the most effective proven treatment for children with ASD. With ABA therapy, positive reinforcement is used to help children naturally overcome behavior issues.
When treating a child with ASD, it is important for educators and school employees to understand that their brains function differently than most. When negative behaviors are met with punishment, these children do not perceive it as a negative thing. Instead, their minds simply recognize that they exhibited a certain behavior and that they were in turn met with attention. This can feed a negative cycle of behavior that is exceptionally hard to break. It is absolutely crucial that school systems learn as quickly as possible that negative behaviors cannot be met with attention. Unless the child is in physical danger, the behavior must be ignored.
ABA therapy is an intensive form of treatment for autism. There are many aspects to the treatment that help to make it effective, and one of the biggest aspects is that of positive reinforcement. Educators trained in ABA therapy are taught to encourage positive behaviors. When a child offers an appropriate response or behavior, they are rewarded verbally or physically and are given attention. When the response or behavior is negative or disruptive, it is ignored rather than punished. Over time, this helps the child understand that negative behaviors offer no benefit at all.
While this form of treatment might not sound appealing to many educators and parents, it is crucial that you stop to understand that children with ASD operate differently. Their brains do not perceive things the same way as others. Offering positive reinforcement for the right behaviors and ignoring negative behaviors helps them learn how to act in a social setting. Over time, these processes also help them learn how to act and react in new situations. All children must be taught how to act in a social setting, and by understanding that children with autism need to be taught in a different way, you can equip them with the skills needed to interact more appropriately with their peers and their elders alike.
Garrett Butch is the father of a 6 year old with autism and the founder of Maximum Potential Group.
Maximum Potential has developed courses that train parents and school systems how to work with children with autism. &
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