Behavioral Therapy For Autism Spectrum Disorders

Behavior Therapy

Behavior therapy is given on changing human self-destructive and unhealthy behaviors. Through this, phobia, panic disorders, anxiety, fear, post-traumatic stress disorder are treated.

In addition, this therapy is also used in personality development, controlling anger, relieving addiction to alcohol and alcohol.

Purposes of Behavior Therapy

  1. A permanent change in behavior by practice or experience
  2. Correction of the abnormal psycho-dynamics which are contributing to the illness

Behavioral Therapy For Autism Spectrum Disorders

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

The most-researched intervention for behavioral autism and used for more than 50 years. It is a structured, scientific approach that teaches play, self-care, academic, and social living skills.

It improves children with autism.

I also wrote a article on:

Verbal Behavior Therapy (VBT)

This type of therapy teaches non-vocal children how to communicate purposefully with other people. Children also learn how we use words functionally.

Read: Speech and language disorders

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral is usually recommended for children with milder symptoms of autism. Cognitive-behavioral therapy defines the triggers of particular behaviors.

I have already covered Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For ADHD Child in depth:

Behavior Therapy
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Table of Contents

The Major Assumption of Behavior Therapy

All behavior is learned. (Adaptive or maladaptive.)

Human beings are a passive organism that can be conditioned or shaped to do anything if correct responses are rewarded or reinforced.

Maladaptive behavior is replaced by adaptive behavior by particular positive and negative reinforcement.

Behavior assessment is focused more on the current behavior rather than n historical antecedents.

Treatment strategies are individually tailored. It is a short duration therapy. Therapists are easy to train but in experts in behavior therapy. And it is cost-effective. The total duration of therapy is 6-8 weeks. Initial sessions are given daily, but the later sessions are spaced out.

In behavior therapy, both the patient and therapist are equal participants.

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Behavior Therapy's use

  • Anxiety Disorders                                              
  • Psychosomatic Disorder                                 
  • Substance Abuse                                              
  • Personality and Character Disorder
  • Mood Disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Somatoform Disorder
  • Eating Disorder  
  • Dissociative disorder  
  • Psychosexual Disorders 
  • Childhood Disorders                                         

Technique use in Behavior Therapy

1. Systematic Desensitization

A complete relaxation state is provided to the patient to elicit anxiety.   

It consists of three main steps:

  1. Relaxation training- Jacobson’s progressive muscle relaxation, Hypnosis, Meditation or yoga, Mental imagery
  2. Hierarchy construction Desensitization of the stimulus.
  3. Indication-phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, certain sexual disorders

2. Flooding

 Directly expose the phobic stimulus to the patient in that escape is impossible. Use in specific phobia, stammering.

3. Aversion Therapy

In aversion therapy pleasant stimulus is becomes unpleasant in pairing with pleasant to the unpleasant stimulus, and by that, it is producing an unpleasant reaction in the body so the person will automatically stop that thing. 

Uses in 

  1. Alcohol abuse
  2. Smoking
  3. Paraphilias
  4. Transvestism
  5. Homosexuality

4. Increasing adaptive behavior

  1. Increasing adaptive behavior: generally rewarding event such as food, praise or gift,
  2. Negative reinforcement: adhere to a rigid schedule practice
  3. The token economy: given the token. 


  1.  Tics
  2.  Stammering 
  3. Thumb sucking
  4.  Nail-biting.

5. To teach new behavior

Indication– Rehabilitation of physically handicapped children with neurotic behavior, autism. 

  1. Modeling: patient observes someone else (maybe the therapist) carrying out an action
  2. Shaping: components of a particular skill, the behavior is reinforced step by step. 
  3. Chaining: the task is broken into a number of small steps. backward chaining,& forward chaining

6. Decreasing maladaptive behavior

  1. Extinction / ignoring: This includes activities like not looking at the patient, not talking to the patient,
  2. Punishment: The punishment should be administered following the undesirable behavior
  • Timeout: removing the patient from the reward 
  • Restitution ( over-correction) : restoring the disturbed situation much better than what it was before.
  • Response cost: When undesirable behavior occurs, an affixed number of tokens or points are deducted.

7. Assertiveness and social skill training

Given training to bring about change in emotional and other behavioral patterns by being assertive.& improve social manners like encouraging eye contact, speaking.

Following therapies can be a help to stabilize several mental health disorders must read next:

Still have any questions about behavioral therapy? Ask in the comments section!

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