Some sensory behaviors can actually work to your benefit. Hold the phone. Craytown I know. But let me clarify. These behaviors are obviously extremely reinforcing for your student because they do it all the freaken time. If the behavior is not dangerous, so for disruptive sensory behaviors – let your student work for engaging in the behavior. This will start to teach the concept of discrimination we talked about earlier this week. Teaching our students when it’s appropriate to engage in the response and when it is not appropriate. And you’ll get a little work done in the meantime.
Obviously this activity is reinforcing so might as well maximize on that, right? I have had kids work for tearing paper, beads, play dough, ‘talking time’ (scripting) etc.
Another play on this intervention – designate a specific spot as the ‘sensory spot.’ A certain chair, corner of the room, or part of the carpet where these sensory behaviors are allowed – pending it is not a dangerous behavior of course. Remember, we all do sensory behaviors. We twirl our hair, bite our nails, grind our teeth, etc. Not all of these behaviors are bad and our children with autism tend to just have more extreme versions of these behaviors. We don’t need to necessarily get rid of them but rather teach discrimination on when these behaviors are appropriate. We can teach our students to make them more discrete so they are not disruptive and do not cause the child to be ostracized. Some of these behaviors may limit social opportunities and inclusion.
This post is part of Summer Series: Reducing Problem Behavior. Click here to see more in this series!