- "Ahhh!! What's that?" it this is unexpected enough, the will want to investigate and reassure Mommy "It's OK it's only a shadow"
- (For bedtime) Invade their territory. "Ok I get the Elmo blanket, you get the blue one" the child has to stop squawking to correct you.
- Melodrama, "Oh no!!, Did that fall down again, I have to fix it, will you help me?"
- Exaggerate an injury. When I was 13, I was home with my older brother who was having one of his infamous tantrums. I ignored him and sat in front of the TV with a bowl of ice cream. I ate it fast enough to get "ice cream nose". I started yelling Ow, Ow...... and was actually bent over until the pain stopped. When I locked up it was quiet and my brother was watching me tilting his head and asked "Are you OK Paw-la?". Tantrum forgotten.
- Fake an allergy. I once convinced a child to use his words when at the first sign of upset I yelled "OH MY HEAD!, I'm allergic to whining" The kid would rather speak then listen my overacting.
Sometimes all that is needed is a distraction.
Please note I am by no means dismissing the role played by sensory issues in influencing the problem behaviours of ASD children. This post is meant as a reminder to be aware of the behaviour component that is always there as well. If you'll excuse the Dr. Phil quote, "a behavior starts for one reason and continues for another reason". An outburst or other inappropriate action that results in an offer of ice cream to calm him/her down is much more likely to recur. After that, what incentive does the child have to use functional methods? It is important to have ongoing discussions with your therapists etc of the child's actions AND the reactions of everyone in contact with him/her. This way everyone becomes aware of the ways they may be unconsciously encouraging or escalating a behaviour, that while starting for sensory reasons, is still achieving a significant benefit.