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Why is Autism a Spectrum?

One of the mostly common questions parents with a child with Autism asks is what it means that Autism is a Spectrum Disorder. Essentially, it means that every child diagnosed with Autism is different. No two children have the exact same interests, strengths or weaknesses. Some children will develop into talented artists and musicians. Some will excel in math while…

Using Antecedent Modifications to Reduce Tantrums

When dealing with tantrums, it always helps to be proactive rather than reactive. Tantrums are unpleasant for everyone, including your child. It is always better to just to avoid them. Us behavior analysts have a fancy term for proactive strategies– antecedent modifications. Antecedent modifications are things that you do before a behavior occurs to make it either more likely or…

Know the Function of a Behavior When Delivering Consequences

It is natural for a parent to want to give their child a consequence for having a tantrum. This is never a bad idea. It will help make sure that it does not occur again. However, it only works if consequence matches the function of the behavior or the reason the behavior occurred. Parents often consider what a child does when deciding on a consequence. In contrast, a behavior analyst looks at why a child engaged in a behavior or the function of the behavior. There are five main functions of behavior: Social positive reinforcement in…

Understanding an Extinction Burst

Imagine the following scenario. It is is a hot summer day and you have a million errands to do. You have been running back and forth from store to store trying to get home in time to get your child off the bus. You are parched but there is no way you have time for to stop and get an…

How Do I Potty Train My Child With Autism?

If your child is like many of the dozens I have potty trained, you can probably relate to my friend Renée. Her son is just about to turn four and while most of her friends are carrying around posh new handbags, she is still stuck lugging around a diaper bag! Her son Benjamin has Autism. If you are reading this…