Teaching your child to get what they need

Our main goal is to help teach your child to get what they need without displaying challenging behaviour.

Let's first take a look at why our children behave the way we do.

  • Attention Seeking: Children behave to get focused attention from parents, teachers, siblings, peers, or other people that are around them.
  • Seeking Access to Materials: Children behave in order to get a preferred item or participate in an enjoyable activity.
  • Escape/Avoidance: Children behave in order to get out of doing something he/she does not want to do.
  • Sensory Stimulation: Children behave in a specific way because it feels good to them.

 

Once you have identified what function or functions are driving the behaviour, you can start to implement an intervention that will help decrease the problem behaviour and increase more appropriate behaviour.  Here are some example strategies for you to combat each type of behaviour:

 
Attention-seeking behaviour
  • Teach appropriate ways to gain attention e.g. “will you play with me?”
  • Teach alternative ways of interacting – telling jokes, conversation skills
  • Teach functional communication words e.g. “help”, “food”, “more”
  • Ignore inappropriate behaviour and reinforce appropriate behaviour
  • Use reward charts to earn access to an item
  • Reinforce all other appropriate behaviours

 

Access-seeking behaviour
  • Teach appropriate ways to request items/activities
  • Teach functional communication words e.g. “help”, “food”, “more”
  • Ignore inappropriate behaviour and reinforce appropriate behaviour
  • Use reward charts to earn access to an item eg I Pad or favourite toy
  • Reinforce all other appropriate behaviours

 

Escape-seeking behaviour
  • Teach appropriate ways to request a “No more” e.g.  “finished symbol”
  • Provide verbal prompts
  • Use Social Stories
  • Use Visual Schedules to show sequences of events e.g. “first X then Y” or “Now/Next”

 

Sensory-seeking Behaviour
  • Provide regular access to sensory breaks or activities e.g. incorporate them into their day (Can a brother or sister join them?)
  • Teach appropriate ways to request sensory breaks or activities
  • Provide access to “fidget toys” or “distractor” items
  • Use sensory breaks as a form of reinforcement/reward for appropriate behaviour
  • Provide sensory breaks/activities before structured times out e.g. shopping