Chantal: Okay. Helen for New York asks, how do you control tantrums of the child with Autism, who is language deficit, when out at parks and supermarkets. Now I know you don’t know where the tantrums are coming from in a question like this, but how do you consider dealing with tantrums when you are out in public?
Dr. Pratt: You know, I think when you’re out in public and child has a tantrum, if you can all get out of the situation, then I would do it. Because at that point, you’re just in a situation where you’re, again you’re in a crisis mode. And…and…and the child, calming the child down when they’re in the presence of a lot of people may be really difficult. Just other people’s reaction may have a tendency to bring the behavior on stronger. So I think in those situations, you just have to think about how…how am I going to alleviate the situation and minimize as much as I can.
Chantal: Because you’re right, when you’re out in public to, safety is the number one issue.
Dr. Pratt: Right…yeah. An you know the other thing…I mean I’ve been in situations where I’ve seen people fight with kids in public and try to suppress their behavior. And it really becomes, I think really umm, a demeaning situation for the family and for the individual themselves. Because people don’t understand often times. I mean I always hope there’s greater community awareness, but I know that still, many folks don’t understand the kids and what families are going through when they have, when they see behavior problems.
Chantal: Right. And it is embarrassing when you’re out in public and something like that happens, but…
Dr. Pratt: Right. I mean, I think that in those situations, instead of thinking how am I going to control? How am I going to teach the child a lesson, at that point, the question should be is, how am I going to minimize this situation? And you know, try to make it the least as possible. One of the things that becomes important and also when you look at behavior is, there is something called a chain of behavior or behavior chain. And what a behavior chain is that there are usually kind of signs that you see that a child is having some anxiety.
Kids really seldom, although sometimes they will, really seldom go from zero to a thousand in terms to their behavior. At, but instead often times you will get some warning signs that something is going to come on. So the ideal in this is to start identifying what those settings…what those warning signs are, what those behavior chains are. Like I was in a classroom recently with a child and you know, first of all, what he started doing was a lot of self talk and then he started doing angrier self talk and then he raised his fist and then he pulled his hair and then he agressed. And in my mind when he was at that point, when he was talking under his breathe, that’s the point when I would have intervened, instead of waiting for the behavior to get out of control.