Domain: Restricted Patterns of Behavior, Interests and Activities
Restricted patterns of behavior, interests, and activities serve a purpose for persons on the autism spectrum.
1. Restricted patterns of behavior, interests, and activities serve a purpose for persons on the autism spectrum. **When displaying such behaviors or activities, the individual with autism is not purposefully misbehaving, but exhibiting some anxiety, or trying to communicate.
- Define a time, place and duration for the behavior
- Use the interest as a reward for completing tasks
- Help make the connection from an interest to a job
- Find an environment (group, club) where the interest is valued and explored. This will provide social practice.
2. Tantrums: Unfortunately for individuals with autism and their families, ‘tantrums’ and destructive behaviors are common, especially among children. This is very important in autism, as it is unlikely that any behavior which causes difficulties for families and professionals is intended maliciously or vindictively. There is virtually always some other, unidentified, cause which provokes challenging behavior. It is worth noting that in most cases (although not all) individuals do not enjoy ‘being challenging’. It is important to remember that ‘tantrums’ and similar behaviors are not rejections. They are not emotional blackmail or warfare aimed at those close to the individual. They are the natural reactions to various stimuli. Natural if you have autism that is. Disruption of routine or structure is only one trigger of such behavior.
- Understand there may be underlying issues
- Recognize if the behavior is serving as a way of communicating
- Teach replacement skills through direct instruction
- Set up structure and routine supported by visuals
- Decide if the behavior is harmful or not and then ask “to whom”
- Use interests as rewards