Methods for Addressing Behavior Challenges In School

Dr. Purushothaman
October 7, 2013

Childhood is a time for testing boundaries and learning about the most appropriate behaviors and responses possible. Unfortunately, when someone is born with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders) it can leave them with an inability to automatically understand the types of behaviors that are acceptable or appropriate. Consider that many people with ASD have no natural instinct to imitate the behaviors that they see, and can even have no methods of communication. Often, these symptoms of ASD are mistaken for behavior challenges in school and at home.

Fortunately, there has been a great deal of information and research done about this somewhat diverse set of conditions, and today a student dealing with any form of Autism is not so easily viewed as simply presenting behavior challenges in school. Instead, they are seen as misinterpreting information or failing to understand a specific issue or event. This new view of students with ASD has come from the availability of specialized training for teachers, parents and educators.

For many years, students with Autism were sent to special education sections of their schools, but new federal mandates make it necessary for today's students to be in the mainstream as much as possible. This is to ensure that they are getting an equal education, and to make it certain that their behavior challenges in school are addressed and eliminated. Because of this, however, many educators are in dire need of the appropriate skill set to help such students to succeed in their classroom efforts.

Fortunately, there is now a nice array of Autism training that can be used in the home environment by parents and family members, and similar training that can be put to use in the classroom too. These programs are not designed merely to address the so-called behavior challenges in school, but to ensure that a student has mastered the skills necessary to succeed.

How do these systems achieve such complex goals? They are based on something known as ABA. This is Applied Behavior Analysis which is a specialized science that uses empirical (observable) data to analyze and then to improve socially significant human behaviors. This is not a treatment or cure for Autism, nor is it focused entirely on ASD at all. Instead, it is the basis for the systems used to train teachers and parents how to identify a student's challenges and then how to use appropriate techniques to alter their behaviors for the better.

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