Autism: Behavioral Training and Management
Behavioral training teaches people of all ages who have autism how to communicate appropriately. This type of training can reduce behavior problems and improve adaptation skills.
Both behavioral training and behavioral management use positive reinforcement to improve behavior. They also use social skills training to improve communication. The specific program should be chosen according to the child's needs. High-functioning autistic children may be enrolled in mainstream classrooms and child care facilities—watching the behavior of other normally developing children can provide examples for autistic children to follow. But other children are overstimulated in a regular classroom and work best in smaller, highly structured environments.
Consistent use of these behavioral interventions produces the best results. The child's functional abilities, behavior, and daily environment should be thoroughly assessed before behavioral training and management begins.1 Parents, other family members, teachers, and caregivers of the autistic child should all be trained in these techniques.
Many treatment approaches have been developed, including:
If you are interested in ABA or TEACCH, be sure to check to see if it is covered by your insurance plan. These treatments are not covered by all insurance plans.
For more information, parents can find a review of all the educational programs that work in the book Educating Children With Autism. Written by the National Research Council, the book is available through the National Academies Press at www.nap.edu/catalog/10017.html.
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