September 2016: Behavior…6 Realistic Strategies for Therapy Sessions and Life
You may not think that behavior modification falls within the skill set of a speech language pathologist. I have found a few strategies that have worked during my therapy sessions over the years.
I have found that making a connection with my clients, providing structure, and creating a vocabulary goes a long way with changing negative behaviors. A lot of literature states that anger is a symptom caused by a different feeling. No one is angry without a reason. Anger can be caused by disappointment, regret, and insecurity. Anger can be used to push people away. If you provide clear structure, clear consequences, and also include opportunities to have positive interactions with the individual. You will usually see the anger decrease.
The positive interactions are important because having a bond with another person is one of the most important components. When it comes down to it no one can be controlled. We all have our own ability to make decisions. If you provide rules and structures the child has to buy in to those rules and make the decision to follow them.
I have a son. Right now he is a toddler and there are times when I want him to just do what I say. Harvey Karp, MD, states that toddlers have primitive brains. These brains are still learning and interpreting both their environment and language. I choose to pick my battles. Patience is key. Sometimes you just need to wait out the tantrum. Sometimes the tantrum is a symptom of another factor like lack of ability to communicate, or feeling sick, hungry, or tired. Knowing your child and having a routine (at all ages) is also an important part of structuring behavior. Having clear expectations and clear consequences.
I use these strategies in life and also in my therapy practice. I will include my strategies to get almost every child to participate in a therapy routine.