Monday, March 3, 2014

Autism Discussion Page: Copying Others! When, What, and How!

Children often copy other's behaviors. Sometimes this can be a wonderful thing, while other times the behavior is not one that needs to be repeated. A great article has been written at Autism Discussion Page about why children copy the behavior and how we can protect them.  A snippet is included below. Please visit Autism Discussion Page on Facebook to read the rest of this great article.

We have discussed how many children on the spectrum often listen, observe, and then copy the behavior of those around them when trying to “fit in”. This is commonly used by all children when trying to learn “what to do” to fit in. We watch what others are doing, then watch the reactions that those actions get from people around them. From this information we determine how we should act. The child watches what the other children are doing. If it is getting good reactions from others, then they try to copy that same behavior. All of us do that when we are in new situations for which we do not know what is expected. We first watch, then follow along.

Unfortunately, many children on the spectrum do not know how to appraise the context of a situation to understand what behavior to copy and which not to copy. Since they do not pick up on the unwritten rules, invisible context, and thoughts and feelings of others, they do not understand the intent and social meaning of the behavior they are copying. They simply copy and imitate, without much awareness of the social meaning. If it gets them a favorable reaction, or avoids an unfavorable reaction, then it is the best they can do.

However, copying behavior without understanding it can lead the child into unintentional trouble. They often copy the behavior of the wrong children and get themselves in trouble. They often do not understand what is “good behavior” and “bad behavior”, but copy that which helps them “fit in”. This can get them into real trouble. Why do they copy the behavior of the problem children instead of the good children? 

Head on over to Autism Discussion Page now to find out the Why and more.

Heather S. works with children with behaviors on a daily basis and finds this article to be a wonderful resource.

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