Reduce Avoidance Behaviour in a Classroom

Using formal ABA procedures to reduce avoidance behaviour in a classroom setting could be debilitating.  The therapist needs to take care of learning needs of other kids and the teaching style of the teacher.  If you are a therapist for a student with autism and you are supporting him/her in a classroom, consider trying these steps.  They don’t need to be carried out in full and in a particular order. 

  1. Observe Avoidance Behaviour on presentation of work demand.
    E.g. Crying, Kicking, Hitting Table, Rocking, Looking Away, Biting Fingers, Picking Nose, Picking Cuticles, Asking for Washroom (Teacher Says, “You can wait.”)

  2. Ignore and pay NO attention to all these forms of avoidance behaviour.

  3. Teach the student and everyone else as if you do not notice anything different.

  4. Provide Simple Instructions for either 1-on-1 or Independent work.
    E.g. Take out a pencil.  Tell me about “Something”.  Write the sentence by yourself, I will check later.  Fill the blank.  Write down the answer.

  5. Praise his good behaviour no matter how small it is.
    E.g. Good listening.  I love your idea.  Nice sentence.  Good job doing math.  This is a correct answer.

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