Most children exhibit some form of negative behaviour during theirearly development for example, whining, crying, tantrums, andaggression. Usually, children will grow out of these behaviours anddevelop more effective means of communication as they develop languageand learn from others how to behave.
For some children with autism and other developmental disabilities,these behaviours may persist if their language is delayed and they mayengage in challenging behaviour to obtain the items or attention theydesire.
Many negative behaviours are taught to children through accidentalreinforcement provided by adults in one way or another, for example,paying attention accidentally to problem behaviour, promise of treats ifthe behaviour stops or unintentional or unavoidable removal of demands.
Put simply, a child may want a candy bar at a store and may begin towhine and tantrum to get the candy bar. The caretaker may begrudginglygive the child the candy bar to stop him from making a scene and mayeven reprimand the child but still give the child the candy bar, thebehaviour will therefore likely occur again in the future.
A further example: at school a child may not be receiving the amountof adult attention that he may like to receive and he has learnt thatwhen he hits other children the teacher or other adults are quick toattend to him. For this child, despite adult reprimands, the child getsattention which may function as reinforcement for his behaviour.
The great news is that new behaviours can be taught and your childcan learn how to access what they want through appropriate behaviour. Tolearn more about how this can be achieved please contact us for further information.