Children on the autism spectrum very often have developed a set of behaviors that help them to cope with the effects of their disorder. They may exhibit a variety of behaviors that assist them in understanding the world around them. These behaviors serve a variety of purposes including:
While these behaviors are functionally necessary, they can also be disruptive. Because these behaviors serve such a critical function for the child, the goal is to try and develop more functional and appropriate behaviors rather than to eliminate or extinguish the behavior.
Some common coping behaviors include:
To decrease the less functional and inappropriate behaviors one must try to increase the child’s ability to accept comfort or assistance from a significant adult and increase the child’s number of coping strategies. These strategies include seeking help, increasing use of language, taking a break, defining needs and including a diet of sensory input. To assist in increasing the coping skills the following ideas are recommended:
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"There are people that will impact you forever, and form a support system around your family. I would say the majority of those people we've met through Fraser."