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Behavior Basics and Autism

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  1. Behavior Basics and Autism Presented by: Tracy M. Gale, Psy.D., HSPP and Karrie Veteto, MOT,OTR, BCBA

  2. Defining Autism Spectrum Disorder Autism is a complex developmental disability that is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain, impacting the areas of social interaction, communication, and behavior.

  3. Autism Spectrum Disorder Autism Spectrum Disorder is characterized by severe and persistent differences in two primary areas of development: Deficits in social communication and social interaction skills The presence of stereotyped behavior, interests, or activities

  4. Autism is a Spectrum Disorder • Wide variety in the severity of symptoms • Wide variety in the intellectual abilities of individuals with ASD • DSM-5 descriptors • Level 1—Requiring support • Level 2—Requiring substantial support • Level 3—Requiring very substantial support

  5. Additional Symptomology • Difficulty expressing/modulating emotions • Difficulty reading the emotions of others • “Theory of Mind” deficits • Strong moral code and sense of justice • Literal thinking and interpretation • Perfectionism • Difficulty generalizing • Sensory issues • High pain threshold • Difficulty reading social cues and innuendos • Difficulty with pragmatic language • Apparent difference in verbal fluency • Difficulty expressing/modulating emotions • Difficulty with social interactions

  6. Additional Symptomology • Difficulty with simple social skills: • Turn Taking • Listening • Following Direction • Waiting • Eye Contact • Understanding Cause and Effect • Joint Attention • Shared Enjoyment • Imitation • Sharing • More Complex Social Skills (Adolescent): • Understanding Sarcasm • Conversational Communication • Understanding Indirect Language • Recognizing Ulterior Motives • Emotion Management (All Emotions)

  7. Everyday Issues • Transitioning from High School to Adulthood • Employment • Understanding Sexuality • Romantic Relationships • Platonic Relationships • Independent or Semi-Independent Living • Self-Care • Safety Issues • Bullying

  8. Impact of ASD • Diagnosis impacts the entire family • Emotional reaction to diagnosis • Numerous therapy appointments • Financial stress • Marital stress • Difficulty in parent-child relationships • Reduced parental efficacy • Sibling relationships

  9. Addressing the Impact • Self-care • Support groups • Individual or family therapy • Sibling education and involvement • Identifying resources • Social outlets “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation.” Audre Lorde

  10. Defining Behavior • Behavior is everything that we DO • Jumping, hitting, clapping, yelling, moving, stomping, crying, pinching, etc. • Behaviors must be: • Observable • Measurable • Reliable

  11. Functions of Behavior • Every behavior that we “do” has a purpose (or function). • If we want to change a behavior, we need to make sure that we are addressing the correct function of the behavior. • We should not assume that behaviors are happening for a certain reason. Instead, we need to pay attention to certain details of the behavior to figure it out.

  12. Identifying Functions of Behavior • Remember your ABC’s • A= Antecedent • This is an event that happens right before a behavior and makes it more likely that a behavior will occur. • Example • B= Behavior • C= Consequence • This is an event that occurs immediately after a behavior and makes it more likely that a behavior will occur again • Example

  13. Functions of Behavior 1. Attention 2. Escape/ Avoidance 3. Sensory 4. Access • Behaviors may (and usually do) have more than one function!

  14. Addressing Behaviors • Reinforcement (doing something to make something happen again in the future) • We want to make sure we are reinforcing the behaviors we want to happen and not reinforcing the ones that we do not want to happen. • Be consistent! • Give clear and concise directions. • Say what you mean, and mean what you say.

  15. What do I do if my child has behavioral issues? • Behavior Analyst/ Behavior Counselor– to help identify functions, create and implement interventions, caregiver education • Especially important to seek out if you are dealing with severe behaviors, aggression, self-injurious behaviors, or any other behaviors that are unsafe! • Parent Support • Occupational therapy– to address sensory issues and daily living skills

  16. ESC Services • Autism Family Resource Center • Diagnostic clinic • Behavioral support • Family education and support • Respite care • Camp R.O.C.K.S. & Camp Ability • Augmentative communication • OT/PT/SLT • Assistive technology • Transition services

  17. Contact Information Tracy M. Gale, Psy.D., HSPP Manager of Autism and Behavioral Services tgale@eastersealscrossroads.org 317.466.1000, ext. 3013 Karrie Veteto, MOT, OTR, BCBA Behavior Analyst kblagra@eastersealscrossroads.org 317.466.1000, ext. 2464