Monday, January 11, 2010

What is Replacement Behaviors?

Replacement behavior is a tool that parents deliberately teach their children. This tool is called a replacement because you are trying to exchange it for an unwanted behavior.

One of the many things that parents of children with Autism have learned is how to extinguish or get rid of a behavior. Unfortunately, during this process all children tend to substitute another behavior. As parents of children with autism know sometimes the behavior their child substitutes is worse than the original behavior.

Many parents have learned to substitute what is called a relaxation behavior for the unwanted behavior. Counting to ten if you child can or will count or even deep breathing are two relaxation behaviors. We have successfully used this with Dominoe in years past. It is also easy to teach and for everyone else to model.

Other parents use physical activity as a replacement behavior. This can be ideal for some children as it expends excess energy and makes them sleep better. That is true whether your child has a disability or not.

Substituting physical activity for an unwanted behavior also gives parents other perks. One of these is reducing the child with Autism’s frustration. Physical activity also gives the parent the opportunity to be up and moving around too. Dominoe and the aide used to move books from one room to another. She even liked it.

Another perk is moving around seem to give the child a chance to think of words to use instead of behaviors. A parent may have to prompt their child to do this but it does happen.

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