Autism Society records most keynote and concurrent sessions at their annual conferences. You can see and hear those recordings by purchasing full online access, or individual recordings.
Behavior is not always what it appears to be. A student who is adamantly refusing to start his work may be perceived as "non-compliant," but this student may be struggling with anxiety related to not comprehending the task. A student who is throwing chairs and screaming may be perceived as "oppositional," but this student may be overwhelmed by emotions that he doesn't understand or know how to express. This video illustrated presentation blends the perspectives of a Parent/ Educator and Psychologist in order to share a wealth of information and strategies related to identifying the deeper meanings of observed behaviors and developing effective interventions to support behavior change.
This presentation will use video to demonstrate strategies for identifying the information processing, attention shifting and reasoning challenges that may underlie the challenging behaviors associated with "work avoidance" and other situations both at school and at home. The video will also demonstrate practical strategies that can be used to support improved comprehension and cooperation within potentially difficult situations.
There are many times that individuals with ASD act out with behaviors that come from their lack of understanding and ability to regulate their own emotions. They also are not able to read the context of the situation or the emotions of others in order to respond in an appropriate way. Teaching these Individuals how to understand and recognize their own and others' emotions can lead to great improvement in their behavior.
We will share and give video demonstration of some tools to use to help teach about emotions. Beginning with the identification of simple emotion cards and trying to match those with faces and with their own remembered feelings. We can teach them to be an observer and look for emotions in others during their day. They can collect emotion cards as they identify and name the emotions in others and themselves and gain reinforcers for their expanding collection. We may watch video clips from television or movies and talk about the emotions and how they connect to the actions. We may use interactive computer programs such and MindReading and/or Transporters to practice looking at faces and identifying feelings.
Ultimately, we would like a feelings thermometer or chart which they use to keep track of how they are feeling. We can brain storm what activities help the individual maintain self control and have these activities on their card. At first they may need an adult to prompt them to look at their thermometer to see if they are getting out of control and to choose an activity that will help them remain on the positive side. We hope that they will use this visual to start developing self regulation. For some individuals, a social story about controlling their anger is helpful.
It is important that once they learn how to recognize emotions in themselves that they begin looking at others for signs of their emotions. This perspective taking can help them to get along in many situations and can improve their ability to make friends or even avoid negative situation.
The presenters will integrate the content related to supporting improved emotional regulation with the tools needed to look below the surface of behavior and identify the processing and reasoning challenges that can make life frustrating. The participants should leave the session with a wide variety of practical tools that they can immediately incorporate into positive proactive behavior supports that can be implemented at home, at school, and in the community.
Content Area: Behavior
Julie A. Donnelly, Ph.D.
University of Missouri, Columbia
Sheila Merzer, M.A., L.P.