Showing Compassion for Autistic Children in ‘Beyond Behaviors’

autism

“1 in 59 children are now on the autism spectrum” (CDC) 

The Child Psychologist, Dr. Mona Delahooke, Ph.D., has just released an excellent new book which focuses on a positive approach towards autistic children. It is entitled: “Beyond Behaviors: Using Brain Science and Compassion to Understand and Solve Children’s Behavioral Challenges,” and is published by PESI.

Delahooke, boasts a long career spanning over 20 years, in which she has worked with countless autistic children, families and teachers, so following her advice is highly recommended. The ultimate goal of her book is to get people to adopt a “compassionate approach to challenging behaviors versus ignoring, discipline and punishments that add stress”. Naturally, many people are naturally compassionate, but even they would find the author’s suggestions extremely helpful, and that in turn, would benefit the child.

Autism Awareness Month

April is the month which is dedicated to Autism awareness, so this is a good time to look deeper into the subject, and to be mindful of the trauma which faces so many families across the world.

In her tome, Delahooke recommends trying to understand autistic children’s challenging behavior, prior to trying to change it. In fact, she advises readers to: “create a world that values, includes and celebrates all kinds of minds”.

Outdated Treatments

From Delahooke’s perspective, a large number of modern-day treatments are out of date, so to that end, she and advocates an approach which a more sympathetic towards disruptive behavior such as: resisting, yelling, kicking and screaming. – This is in stark contrast to making presumptions, and encourages parents, caregivers and teachers, to realize that a teenager’s or child’s behavior could just be their way of dealing with the terrible stress that overcomes them.

In a Dr. Drew Midday Live program on LA’s AM 790 KABC, which recently interviewed Leeann Tweeden, Delahooke stressed that: “With autism, we know there are unique differences for children in brain wiring. One of those differences is that there tends to be sensory over-reactivities. Children may hear things more intensely, or taste or smell things more intensely or experience movement in a different way. And when that happens, there could be a behavior associated with it, which is allowing the child to cope with the environment”. Taking into consideration all the research which has been conducted on autism, and all the video that autistic mothers have put on YouTube to show what a child goes through, this seems like a very plausible explanation.

Recommendations

Delahooke advises adults to: “proceed with respect and caution, along with helping children to try new things slowly by following their signals”. She notes that a large percentage of people are more content to teach an autistic child, rather than simply learn from them. Her book incorporates a good number of very useful diagrams, which makes things super simple to follow. Ultimately, Delahooke’s message is to look beneath the surface at the children’s condition – something which none of them chose to have…