My child has many challenging autism behaviors. How do I deal with them?


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Discussion: Oftentimes parents will identify particular problems (temper tantrums, perseveration or self-absorption) that they want to remedy, typically because it is embarrassing or disruptive. “There are six steps to take that usually solve these issues,” notes Dr. Greenspan.

  1. You always want to be doing Floortime, because it establishes rapport and goodwill between you and the child.
  2. “If the child is verbal,” says. Dr. Greenspan, “you should have problem solving discussions and practice things ahead of time.” If the child is non-verbal, use make-believe to practice transitions.
  3. Equally as important is to always empathize with the child’s feelings.
  4. Take the challenges step by step. Make the steps small.
  5. When you need to set limits, be firm but gentle and engage in lots of negotiation.
  6. “Lastly,” remarks Dr. Greenspan, “when setting limits, always do more Floortime, and increase the amount of Floortime proportionally to the limit setting.”

“Particularly for obsessions, focus in on the child’s activity and practice interacting around it,” Dr. Greenspan says. “Put the emphasis on making small gains and using the behavior interactively.”

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