Anxiety is a part of everyone’s life. We fear business deadlines, public speaking, social situations…sometimes to the point where we meet criteria for diagnosis with an Anxiety Disorder. 60-70% of people diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder are also diagnosed with Anxiety Disorder. They may not fear deadlines, but may fear nail clippers, haircuts, swimming pools, intersections, ice machines, and more. Additionally, many of our students develop rigid and intense dislikes of things like throat-clearing, clapping, greetings, singing, etc.
But learners don’t simply become tense. Instead, they may physically resist, cry, scream, throw themselves on the floor, run away, and more. Left untreated, inability to cope with these stressors can become debilitating. Students are unable to go to the mall without a ton of supports. Parents are afraid to take their children to birthday parties. Quality of life is significantly limited. The vast majority of people respond to signs of student stress by offering some sort of comfort. Professionals may recommend having a student squeeze a stress ball, count to 10, take some deep breaths, take a sip of water, chew on a tube, swing, or engage in some other activity intended to calm the student. These procedures are largely ineffective.
In this workshop, I will explain why traditional methods fail in teaching students to cope with stressors and will teach you an alternative approach that has produced dramatic improvements with dozens of students.
CE’s are available for BCBA’s and BCABA’s.
By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:
- Explain why traditional approaches to calming tend to be ineffective
- Identify potential target stressors for their students/children
- Arrange and conduct a “calm count”
- Gather data on progress