This paper describes a single case study where the serious self-injurious behaviour of a seven year old male diagnosed with autism was reduced through teaching expressive and receptive communication skills.
A functional behaviour assessment suggested self-injurious behaviour was multiply controlled, therefore The Picture Exchange Communication System was introduced to teach appropriate requesting of tangibles, a visual timetable was introduced to ease transitions, and the exchange of a help symbol was taught to request adult assistance. All interventions were consistent with the Pyramid Approach to Education.
Self-injurious behaviour significantly reduced as a result of the intervention.
Teaching appropriate communication skills can lead to a reduction in challenging behaviour. When the function of an inappropriate behaviour is to gain access to reinforcement, the acquisition of appropriate requesting skills can reduce inappropriate behaviour. Inappropriate behaviour associated with transitions might be reduced by introducing a visual timetable to help the individual understand the structure of their day.