ASD & Challenging Behaviours


As such, assessment of, and intervention for challenging behaviours has shifted to a functional analysis framework and a positive behaviour approach, focusing on:

  • Identifying the purpose served by the challenging behaviour
  • Addressing potential triggers
  • Teaching the individual alternative and more acceptable and adaptive behaviours and skills.82

Interventions to address challenging behaviours generally fall into the following main behavioural approaches:

  • Antecedent-based interventions: these include modifying the environment or the child’s routine to increase predictability, including cues to signal changes in activity to facilitate adjustment to change, and enriching the child’s environment to increase positive stimulation and reduce boredom and stress.
  • Reinforcement based interventions: these include contingent or differential reinforcement.
  • Consequence-based interventions: these include response interruption and redirection, response blocking, and a range of negative consequences contingent on the occurrence of the problem behaviour.
  • Skill-based interventions: in such interventions, the child is taught ways to better communicate their need rather than resorting to problem-behaviours.
  • Mixed interventions: in such approaches, a combination of antecedent, reinforcement, consequence and skills-based interventions are used.

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