Ten Strategies for Managing Challenging Behaviour in Children with Autism In Toronto

Parenting a child with autism in Toronto  involves experiencing a whole new array of unique joys and challenges. This also comes with the responsibility of managing challenging behaviours.

Here we will explore ten strategies that work with some of the challenging behaviours displayed by neurodivergent children and distinct ways that parents and caregivers can effectively manage them.

1. Get To The Bottom Of The Issue
Before addressing challenging behaviours, it’s crucial to understand the reasons behind them. Sensory sensitivities, communication difficulties, or changes in routine can all act as triggers. Identifying these triggers gives the parent a starting point for a strategy on how to handle the outburst. 

2. Keep A Consistent Routine

Stick to the routine. Children with autism seem to do their best in structured environments. Work to build a consistent daily routine that will offer predictability and familiarity. This will help to reduce anxiety and tamper the likelihood of challenging behaviours emerging.

3. Make Use Of Visual Supports

A picture can communicate more clearly than words sometimes. Incorporate visual supports such as charts, visual schedules or social stories. If you sit down with your child and explain the steps through colourful imagery, it provides another pathway for the instructional information to be processed. You can help reduce stress and anxiety in a neurodivergent child in this way. Additionally, visual aids act as a tangible way to communicate expectations and transitions.

4. Reinforce Positive Behaviours
A little (non sweetened) reward can go a long way. Make use of  positive reinforcement to get the behaviours you’re looking for. This can be as little as a hug, a high five. or favourite sugar-free snack. By celebrating and rewarding positive actions, you will create positive cognitive pathways that will one day become automatic. By making use of  repetition, you can slowly shape a more positive behaviour pattern over time.

5. Choice Is A Wonderful Thing
By allowing your child to have options, you balance out the power dynamic in the relationship. So give you child  choices within reasonable boundaries. By providing a neurodivergent child with some autonomy, in a controlled framework, you are empowering them. This can help to  reduce frustration, and ultimately more cooperative behaviour.

6. Implement Social Stories
Daily interactions can come in the form of an informative map. These social stories help to explain expectations, boundaries, and provide an optimal way to navigate certain situations. Neurodivergent children incorporate social stories to help them make sense of their world. This understanding  fosters more adaptive behaviour.

7. Teach Alternative Coping Strategies

There is always a better reaction than frustration. You can help your child by teaching alternative coping strategies to replace tantrums or challenging behaviours. Make use of a  timer or stopwatch to  help to defuse a potentially incendiary challenge the child is facing, and give them a chance to pause before reacting to the frustration they are feeling. Art can be cathartic. And getting outside is a great way to nip explosive behaviour in the bud before it spirals. Providing children with alternative ways to express themselves and manage stress is crucial for behaviour modification.

8. Communicate Clearly
Always try to be straightforward, direct and avoid sarcasm, especially in written form. By making use of clear and concise language you can better communicate expectations to your child with autism. Often a neurodivergent child will struggle with ambiguity, so by simplifying the message you can enhance understanding and reduce confusion.

9. Collaborate with Professionals

We have an experienced staff at Monarch House that is ready to help. You can also engage with professionals, such as behavioural therapists or occupational therapists for extra guidance. With a combined front of various professionals you can work on providing a tailored strategy for managing challenging behaviours.

10. Prioritize Self-Care

Remember to make time for you. Be sure to recognize the importance of self-care for both parents and caregivers. It can be emotionally taxing to manage challenging behaviours and maintaining personal well-being is essential for you to sustain yourself as well.

Through understanding, consistency, and positive reinforcement parents and caregivers can build a plan to manage challenging behaviour in children with autism. It’s a multifaceted approach that allows professionals to shoulder some of the load with consistency to the plan. By implementing these strategies, you can create an environment that supports the child’s needs, fosters positive behaviour, and promotes overall well-being within the family unit.