Meltdowns are detrimental to everyone: the child, the parent, and the bystanders. What if consistent ABA reinforcement could reduce their frequency and severity? This article will discuss several important reasons why ABA therapy assists in avoiding meltdowns.
ABA Promotes Emotional Regulation
Working with an ABA therapist can assist your child in developing essential emotional self-regulation skills which in turn can reduce the likelihood of a meltdown. Ultimately, these self-control abilities are crucial to preventing meltdowns and promoting independence.
For example, teaching your child how to appropriately communicate their desires and lack of desires can reduce the need for meltdowns to get what they want and need. Additionally, developing effective communication skills and consistency in the application of behavioral strategies between you and your child is crucial when meltdown behavior occurs.
Yes, it’s true that as a parent, you can prepare in advance and assist your child in avoiding sensory overload and other “triggering” experiences. However, you can’t anticipate every possible scenario.
The reality is that meltdowns occur to children of all ages and to parents with the greatest of dedication. Don’t beat yourself up or believe that you’ve failed. Ultimately, you can’t control the responses of others. However, you can prepare for the possibility of meltdowns and equip yourself to respond appropriately when they do occur.
ABA Therapy Empowers Your Child To Learn Social Protocols
Remember the discouragement and frustration that occur within you when you’re asked to perform a new task without adequate instruction or guidance. Then, multiply that sensation by a hundred.
As you’ve experienced firsthand, your child is surrounded by a society that expects him/her to maintain sustained eye contact, engage in complex conversations, and pay attention to both spoken and unspoken communications. This can be unsettling and difficult. ABA facilitates the learning of social rules one step at a time.
Many children with autism have the potential to interact socially, but they require specific instruction in order to do so. They may not initially understand social conventions, but they can learn them through practice, and reduce the frustration that often accompanies meltdown behavior.
ABA Empowers Your Child To Identify And Communicate Emotions
One of the fundamental principles of ABA therapy is that all behavior is communication. Every time your child hits their head against a wall or falls to the ground, they are attempting to communicate something. Of course, you’d prefer that she communicate in a non-destructive manner, which is where ABA comes in.
ABA therapists assist children with autism by teaching them to recognize, describe, and express various emotional states. The process of labeling emotions is similar to the process of identifying them.
The most effective ABA therapists encourage children to practice skills like recognizing facial expressions, verbally describing emotions, and describing the feelings of others using context clues. These lessons teach a new vocabulary for expressing emotion that is healthier and less destructive than losing it all.
ABA Reinforcement Provides Immediate & Consistent Feedback
If you’ve observed an ABA therapist interact with your child, you know that the therapist will provide feedback on the child’s actions on a regular basis. For instance, if your child flails in their seat, the clinician will say, “Sit still.” When your child looks away for an extended period, the therapist will say, “Eyes on me.”
The outcome of these consistent, brief prompts is that the child learns what is considered appropriate personal behavior. This sense of order and structure is very beneficial to children, as it facilitates their understanding of the consequences of their actions. The child learns that if they do A, then B will occur. If I cry and scream, I will not receive what I desire. If I successfully complete my lesson, I always receive my reward.
Children are intelligent and effective; once they understand the effective behaviors that lead to what they want, they will choose those behaviors more often, which will lead to a solid foundation of safe, responsible behavior.
ABA Therapy To Prevent Another Meltdown
If your child is struggling with ongoing meltdowns, help is available. You can start a proven behavioral therapy program today and take the first step toward promoting healthy communication. ABA can’t prevent every meltdown, but it can teach your child effective self-regulation, which is invaluable lifelong knowledge.
Solstice Behavioral Health & Consulting is dedicated to assisting you and your child during this transition. With more than 20 years of providing support and training for families, Solstice Behavioral Health and Consulting in Shelton, Connecticut strives to become a bedrock for autism awareness and education. Solstice has created multiple programs and activities to help children and communities enhance their skills and develop their support networks. Contact our office at 203-900-4720 to see how we can help you and your family move forward together.