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Aggression in ASD PatientsResearch Paper

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Autism Intervention

The author of this report has been complete the project component of the author's case study in this brief report. There will be the creation and explanation of the intervention support plan that will be implemented to support behavioral change in the subject or subjects that are being addressed. There will be at least one behavior or interest of concern that will be singled out as necessary so as to make that behavior the priority in terms of resolution and better outcomes for the patients. While progress and forward movement can be slow and plodding for many ASD patients, it is important to keep trying and not give up because the child's future depends on it.

Application of Assessment Methods

When it comes to ASD patients, one of the "gold standard" tools that is used early and often, especially with child patients, would be applied behavioral analysis, or ABA for short. Rather than being a specific plan or intervention, it is instead the application of principles and in a specific way so that students with ASD maladies can be diagnosed properly and then treated. The facets of ABA can be used to address things such as language skills, self-help skills and play stills. Improper behaviors and patterns that can be shut down or at least minimized when it comes to the ABA would include aggression, self-stimulatory behaviors and self-injury (Applied Behavioral Strategies, 2016). As described by the assignment, there are also other considerations such as antecedent manipulations, positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, differential reinforcement and non-contingent reinforcement. There are also the principles of punishment and extinction.

With that in mind, any pool of kids that is entirely or partially made up of autistic students should be monitored. The case study that the author of this report will be using are ASD patients with aggression issues as they exist and move within a larger group of kids that are mostly non-ASD. Obviously, the primary focus will be on the children that are known (or are suspected) to be autistic as they are of a known diagnosis and the risks involved are clearly known. If there are situations where aggressive behaviors are manifested, then the principles of conditioning and reinforcement (among others) can be employed to reverse patterns and bad behaviors in general. This can work with ASD and non-ASD students like but the former is more likely to have aggression issues than the latter, all else equal. However, it should be noted that a slightly different touch and approach may sometimes be needed for ASD patients. Indeed, if the aggressive behavior is something severe such as the aforementioned self-harm or something else of an extreme or dangerous nature, then the type of intervention is going to be much more pronounced and advanced when a child that will not go to his or her desk when initially asked to do so. One major difference between ASD and non-ASD children is how much intervention is needed. With non-ASD children, intervening is generally not necessary unless the child is actively acting out. However, an ASD child needs intervention no matter the level of outburst or undesirable behavior. The worse the behavior that exists, the more intervention that is needed. Regardless, though, there should be at least 25 hours a week for most autism patients and about forty hours over two years. The timing of the diagnosis and other factors can sway that number either way. Since this case study deals with aggression and because aggression is something that can harm both the patient him or herself as well as others, it is important to err on the side of too much therapy and review rather than too little.

Implementation of ABA Techniques

As ASD students with aggression tendencies are observed and monitored, both within a mixed classroom situation and outside of it, there should be a spurring of what is truly on the mind of the ASD patient whenever possible. At the same time, there should be ABA-driven strategies that help steer the student away from the self-harm and aggression towards others including ones mentioned by the assignment. These include reinforcement, good modeling and creating a momentum of good behavior that helps to minimize the bad behavior. A huge part of creating and sustaining this momentum is the involvement and cooperation of the parent. While a teacher with ASD-related training can be of great help, any progress gained at school can go stagnant or be negated if the parent is not creating a similarly positive and therapy-conducive situation at home. When it comes to creating new behavior patterns, however, practitioners and parents alike need to be cognizant of what is known as the Premack Principle. This principle states that people (including children) will engage in less probable behaviors to be able to engage in behaviors that are known to be probable. For example, a child that is self-harming will quite likely have other behaviors that are antecedents or otherwise related to the self-harm. The same thing goes for good behaviors. Premack himself proved this by having an experiment where children were presented with the option to eat candy or play pinball. In one iteration of the experiment, the students had to eat candy to play pinball. In that instance, only children that wanted to play pinball in the first place were reinforced in doing so, as the candy was the reinforcement. The same was not true for children who wanted to eat candy and not play pinball. People who help treat and assist with ASD patients need to keep this in mind. Simple operant conditioning and the like is not all that complicated but it is more robust and complicated when speaking of ASD patients and people involved in the assistance or treatment of a child with aggression behaviors need to be mindful of the associated antecedents and related events that precede or follow aggression rearing its head (Barton, 2013). With that in mind, proper implementation of ABA techniques means that teachers or parents that witness aggression should notice what is happing before, during and after aggression surfaces so that the possibly reinforcing conditions can be identified and weeded out, or at least mitigated so that aggression is eventually lessened or eliminated. Indeed, preventing any and all precursors of aggression is not possible. However, what is possible is helping the student cope with it when it happens through modeling and showing what could and should be done instead. With enough repetition and positive reinforcement, aggression as a result of certain stimuli can be made extinct (Cosgrave, 2016).

Monitoring Systems Support for Behavior

An extremely important part of minimizing aggression for children in this case study and for minimizing undesirable behaviors with ASD patients in general is careful monitoring, review and interventions that occur in a timely manner. There needs to be constant surveillance of what ASD-stricken children are doing (or not doing) when they are in certain social situations. The people watching must have a trained eye and must know what to do when certain things start to happen or that occur to completion. There has to be a definition of why the event is relevant, a discrimination between what is important and what is not, the showing of examples of good behavior with the stricken children as well as the bad and the proper designing and application of interventions for the child that will lead to long-lasting and sustained improvements over time. The people that are involved in observing and intervening when it comes to ASD patients should be well-trained and have the credentials and experience that prove that they know what they are doing. Indeed, just because a person knows something is wrong with an ASD patient's behavior does not mean that they know how to properly react and adapt their approach in a way that helps the ASD child progress rather than regress. Similarly, parents must know the important role they play and they need to be taught on how to coach and help their child. When it comes to the aggression case study in this report, the parents and practitioners (e.g. teachers) alike need to know how to respond to aggression and the warning signs that indicate something is about to go wrong. The parents and teachers involved must be careful to follow procedure to the letter and use interventions when and as they are needed rather than taking shortcuts or otherwise betraying what the child needs. There needs to be a focus on instilling and properly using behavior-change agents such as associating and clustering good behaviors rather than bad ones, as defined and manifested by the Premack Principle and ABA in general. Finally, there has to be a definition of what is normal deviant behavior by children and how it is corrected, the same thing as it pertains to ASD patients and how to quickly and clearly define the difference. Of course, there are going to be growing pains. Newly diagnosed students that have an ASD disorder are… [END OF PREVIEW]

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