Do you want to learn more about parenting strategies that are truly effective? This lesson will help you discover a variety of strategies that can help you to better help your child with autism spectrum disorder.
This is Lesson 6 in the online article series here on the blog: Reflections on Applied Behavior Analysis known as ‘Effective Parenting Tips for Raising a Child with ASD.’
The parenting series helps you to learn about effective strategies that are based on credible research and also recommended by professionals. These strategies and tips found throughout the series will help parents to help their children improve behaviors and learn new things to improve the child and the family’s quality of life.
Previous lessons that have been covered in this series for parents of children with ASD include:
- Improving Your Child’s Behaviors through Data Collection (Lesson 1)
- Strategies to Help Track and Improve Your Child’s Learning (Lesson 2)
- Effective Parenting is Based on Effective Scientific Concepts (Lesson 3)
- Using Experimental Design in Parenting (Lesson 4)
- Unwanted Effects of Certain Parenting Strategies (Lesson 5)
EFFECTIVE PARENTING STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE YOUR CHILD’S BEHAVIORS AND TEACH YOUR CHILD NEW THINGS
In this lesson, we will cover a variety of techniques and tips that are found to be effective at changing your child’s behaviors and helping them learn new skills.
We’ll discuss the strategy and give an example of how you can use each of them in your everyday life.
What it is:
When considering the meaning of this parenting strategy from a scientific perspective, the term positive reinforcement refers to how a behavior happens more often due to something being added or being experienced right after that behavior.
Positive reinforcement basically means that you give your child something tangible, interact with them in some way, or allow them to do a certain activity after they act a certain way. And then, that action happens more often in the future because of the “reward” or experience they have after the action.
An example of using positive reinforcement with your child could be how you approach wanting your child to clean up after lunch – you want him to put his plate in the sink and take care of any trash or food that is still out.
You allow your child to play on his tablet for 30 minutes after he cleans up after lunch. Your child is more compliant and cleans up after lunch more often because of this reward.
What it is:
Negative reinforcement is similar to positive reinforcement in that the strategy focuses on getting your child to do something more often.
The difference between positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement is that with positive reinforcement you are adding something and with negative reinforcement you are taking something away. Negative reinforcement is commonly occurring when something unpleasant, something a person doesn’t like, is removed or reduced.
An example of using negative reinforcement with your child could be that your child is able to leave the dinner table (somewhere he doesn’t want to be because he doesn’t prefer the food that is offered to him) after he takes 3 bites of what has been given to him.
Schedules of Reinforcement
What it is:
The idea of schedules of reinforcement refers to how often something will be “reinforced.” This could mean that you reinforce your child’s behavior every time they do the action or response that you are looking for or you only reinforce every other time or an average of a certain number of times.
One example (of the many different types of schedules of reinforcement) that you could use with your child is that you reinforce them for feeding the dog. Maybe you don’t give them something special every time they feed the dog but you decide to give them a reward after every 3 or 4 times they feed the dog instead.
Prompts and Prompt Fading
What it is:
A prompt is some sort of help or assistance that is given to someone so they can be more successful at the skill they are attempting. Parents give their children prompts in a variety of ways, such as helping the child do their homework or helping their child learn to tie their shoes or brush their teeth.
Prompt fading is when the parent gives less and less assistance so the child can learn to do the activity on their own.
An example of how you can use prompts and prompt fading in your everyday life with your child could be that you verbally explain and help them step by step through their homework assignment for math today. Then, each day your child is expected to do math homework, you give a little bit less help and expect them to do a little bit more on their own.
Modeling and Imitation Training
What it is:
Modeling is when you act in the way that you want your child to act. Imitation training refers to getting your child to copy, or imitate, what you do.
An example of using modeling and imitation training that you can use with your child is brushing your teeth. If your child struggles to brush his teeth independently, you can let your child watch you brush your teeth and then encourage him to copy what you do (being sure to focus on having him copy specific parts of brushing teeth including brushing different areas of the mouth).
What it is:
Shaping is a concept that can be used to teach your child a new behavior or skill. You do this by reinforcing behaviors that are closer and closer to what the ultimate goal is for your child.
You could use shaping to help your child improve communication skills. If your child is working on verbally speaking words and you want him to say “juice,” you can use shaping by reinforcing attempts that sound closer and closer to the actual word. You could give your child his juice when he makes the “j” sound. Later, you could give it to him when he starts making the sound “jew” and then you can work on getting him to say the whole word, “juice.”
Chaining & Task Analysis
What it is:
Chaining is when you have multiple steps to a larger, more complex behavior. These steps make up a task analysis that can be used to teach new skills.
Using a task analysis and chaining with your child can be very helpful in a lot of ways. For instance, you can identify the steps that your child should complete to clean his room. Then, you can reinforce his behavior when he completes certain aspects of this “chain” of behaviors. You could help him clean his room for certain steps in the chain and then lessen (fade) the amount of help that you give. Another way to use chaining would be to have your child complete the first step in the chain and then he gets rewarded. Later, he is expected to do the first two steps, then the first 3, and so on.
PARENTING STRATEGIES TO HELP YOUR CHILD LEARN NEW SKILLS
We have covered just some of the many parenting strategies found to be effective at improve a child’s behaviors and helping them to learn skills that support their quality of life and functioning in everyday life.
For other effective parenting strategies and tips, review the lessons found in the
‘Effective Parenting Tips for Raising a Child with ASD: Free E-Learning Series’
- Lesson 1: Improving Your Child’s Behaviors through Data Collection
- Lesson 2: Strategies to Help Track and Improve Your Child’s Learning
- Lesson 3: Effective Parenting is Based on Effective Scientific Concepts
- Lesson 4: Using Experimental Design in Parenting
- Lesson 5: Unwanted Effects of Certain Parenting Strategies