Understanding Motivations for Behavior can be Helpful for Children with Autism

Posted in Health Psychology

COLUMBIA, Mo. –For many families, normal activities, such as going to a large family gathering or an amusement park, can be difficult to navigate with a child with autism, as the child may act out due to being overwhelmed by extra noises and stimulation. To help families deal with such situations, specialists at the University of Missouri Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders have been successfully integrating applied behavior analysis (ABA), the science of understanding why people behave in various ways and how understanding those motivations can shape behavior. SungWoo Kahng, associate professor of health psychology in the School of Health Professions, says that parents and caregivers can work with therapists to implement ABA-based activities at home to support the overall behavior treatment plan. “The question we get asked most often is, ‘Why is my kid doing this?’ Kahng said. “That’s exactly the kind of question ABA can try...

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