... quoted from the Autism Discussion Page, a very useful resource.
Understanding Challenging Behavior Part 2: Core Deficit Assessment
Understand the core deficits of the disability to interpret the function of behavior!
For most of us, the often extreme reactions we see in children on the spectrum can look
bewildering to us. We are taught to look at the observable triggers of
the behavior, and the observable effects that the behavior has, in
order to understand the “function” that behavior serves. However, what
we see on the observable surface is not enough to understand the
function the behavior serves. We often are quick to punish, or
extinguish, a behavior, before understanding the adaptive function the
behavior serves the child.
It is important to understand the
core deficits of the disability to understand the true functions the
behavior serves (what the behavior is communicating). You have to
understand the (1 sensory challenges (sensory defensiveness, overload,
arousal issues), (2) cognitive deficits (inflexible, black and white
thinking; difficulty shifting gears; limited ability to evaluate
consequences; poor empathy, etc.), (3) emotional deficits (poor
frustration tolerance, limited emotional regulation, emotional overload,
etc.), (4) social difficulties (difficulty reading social cues, reading
effects their behavior has on others, etc.) (5) communication issues
(difficulty expressing thoughts, feelings, and perspectives) and (6)
medical/biological issues (digestive, allergies, weak immune system,
etc.) in order to understand the “adaptive function” that drives the
behavior. Once we understand the “core deficits” of the disability, the
behavior is much easier to understand. In addition, once this function
is identified, then we can provide the proactive supports needed to
lessen the stressors driving the behavior, and teach more acceptable,
alternative behavior to serve the same function.
child is having problems at home, or school, make sure those who are
designing strategies for changing the behavior, understand your child’s
unique vulnerabilities, and core deficits, that will help explain the
behavior. Until you understand how the child experiences the world, you
will often misinterpret what the behavior is communicating. The two
links below will take you to two documents that will help you indentify
and understand some of the core deficits (vulnerabilities) that must be
understood. The first (Fragile World on the Spectrum) gives a summary of
the different areas of vulnerabilities and strategies to support them,
and the second document, “core deficit assessment” scale, you can use
to help identify the your child’s specific vulnerabilities. If you
understand these vulnerabilities, then you can accurately interpret why
certain events result in such extreme reactions from the child.
Understand first, before trying to change behavior. This is a simple
check list that is meant to identify areas of vulnerability. It is not
an all inclusive list, but a summary of common deficits that will lead
you to look more closely into each areas of concern.
Fragile World on the Spectrum
Core Deficits Assessment Scale