Unit 3: Self Management Support



  • Develop an understanding of the behavioral characteristics of ASD by evaluating several videos and articles.
  • Evaluate self management strategies for students with ASD by assessing the purpose and procedure for such a plan.
  • Assess the many reasons for particular behaviors in students with ASD by evaluating several assessment tools and their function.

Beginning Activity

The following video is of Peggy Halliday who is a board certified behavior analyst with a specialization in Autism. She is speaking about some of the many behavioral issues associated with ASD. While watching these videos think about the following questions:

  • List some examples of behaviors associated with ASD
  • What are the behavioral similarities and differences between typical students and those with ASD?
  • What types of perseverations might students with ASD exhibit?
  • Why do you think students with ASD have routines and rituals?

Behavioral Chracteristics of Autism Video (Halliday 2009)

Behavioral Characteristics

Individuals with ASD display many repetitive, ritualistic, and sometimes maladaptive behaviors. These behaviors include stereotypical behaviors (Repetitive movements, hand flapping, rocking), obsessive compulsiveness, Resistance to change, Ritualistic behaviors & routine oriented behaviors (getting dressed the same way each day, items have specific places and cannot be moved), limited interests in activities, and self abusive and/or aggressive behaviors. The following link provides examples of these behaviors:

Autistic Behaviors Article (Bright Tots 2004)

After reading the article think about the following:

  • Compare and contrast typical behaviors of students with those of students with ASD.
  • How might these behaviors interfere with daily functioning and education?
  • Based on your education, what might you try to minimize these behaviors?


“Self-Management for students with autism is important both as a management tool and as a means to enhance students’ quality of life by empowering them to control their own behavior” (Lee 2007). “Self-management interventions are an effective treatment for increasing the frequency of appropriate behavior of students with autism” (Lee 2007). Self-management—including self-monitoring, self-assessment, self-observation, self-recording, self-evaluation, self instruction, and self-reinforcement—is particularly well suited for its transportability and generalizability (Lee 2007).

Read the following article by Lee A. Wilkinson. Focus on pages 151-154. Self Management Article (Wilkinson 2008)

While reading this article focus on the following questions:

  • What is a Self-Management plan?
  • How can Self Management Plans help students with ASD?
  • What are the steps to designing such a plan?
  • What do you think are the pros and cons of Self Management plans? Why?
  • Is a self management plan something that can be used in your classroom/ Why or Why not?

Assessing why behaviors are occurring (motivation)

There may be a variety of reasons that students with ASD exhibit various behaviors. Below are some of the tools that my school uses to evaluate why our students (Students with Autism on the severe end of the spectrum) exhibit particular behaviors.

ABC Chart

This chart is used to gather data about behaviors. You write down any antecedent that happened before the behavior, what the behavior was, and what you did in response to the behavior. This data is typically collected for at least two weeks and evaluated to see if patterns exist. When a pattern is identified, the education team comes together to discuss and eventually implement a self-management strategy to assist the student in replacing this behavior with an appropriate behavior. For example, a student might be hitting another student and screaming around 11:30 each day. After viewing the data in the ABC chart the team determined that the pattern dealt with the time and the fact the student was hungry for lunch. The team then implemented visual icons for the student (who is non-verbal) to indicate he is hungry and provided him with a visual timer to show him how long he has to wait before lunch.

ABC Chart.jpg

Motivation Assessment

Motivation assessments are tools used by the educational team at my school to determine the reason students are having a particular behavior. We have found that most behaviors are for one (or sometimes more) of four reasons. These are for sensory input, to escape an undesired task, to gain attention, or to get something tangible. The motivation assessment is filled out by the teacher, clinicians, and behavior specialist individually then compared.

Motivation Assessment Scale

Name: _____________________________________________

Behavior: ___________________________________________


  • NEVER (0)
  • SELDOM(2)
  • USUALLY(4)
  • ALWAYS(6)

1. Would the behavior occur continuously, over and over, if this person was left alone for long periods of time?

               0	     1	            2	              3	            4	              5	               6 

2. Does the behavior occur following a request to perform a difficult task?

               0	     1	            2	              3	            4	              5	               6 

3. Does the behavior seem to occur in response to your talking to another person in the room?

               0	     1	            2	              3	            4	              5	               6 

4. Does the behavior ever occur to get a toy, food or activity that this person has been told that he or she can’t have?

               0	     1	            2	              3	            4	              5	               6 

5. Would the behavior occur repeatedly, in the same way, for very long periods of time, if no one was around?(For example, rocking back and forth for over an hour.)

               0	     1	            2	              3	            4	              5	               6 

6. Does the behavior occur when any request is made of this person?

               0	     1	            2	              3	            4	              5	               6 

7. Does the behavior occur whenever you stop attending to this person?

               0	     1	            2	              3	            4	              5	               6 

8. Does the behavior occur when you take away a favorite toy, food, or activity?

               0	     1	            2	              3	            4	              5	               6 

9. Does it appear that this person enjoys performing the behavior? (It feels, tastes, looks, smells, and/or sounds pleasing.)

               0	     1	            2	              3	            4	              5	               6 

10. Does this person seem to do the behavior upset or annoy you when you are trying to get him or her to do what you ask?

               0	     1	            2	              3	            4	              5	               6 

11. Does this person seem to do the behavior upset or annoy you when you are not paying attention to him or her? (For example if you are sitting in separate room, interacting with another person.)

               0	     1	            2	              3	            4	              5	               6 

12. Does the behavior stop occurring shortly after you give this person the toy, food, or activity he or she has requested?

               0	     1	            2	              3	            4	              5	               6 

13. When the behavior is occurring, does this person seem calm and unaware of anything else going on around him or her?

               0	     1	            2	              3	            4	              5	               6 

14. Does the behavior stop occurring shortly after (1-5 minutes) you stop working or making demands of this person?

               0	     1	            2	              3	            4	              5	               6 

15. Does this person seem to do the behavior to get you to spend some time with him or her?

               0	     1	            2	              3	            4	              5	               6 

16. Does this behavior seem to occur when this person has been told that he or she can’t do something he or she had wanted to do?

               0	     1	            2	              3	            4	              5	               6 

Completed by: _______________________________________________________ Date_______________________________


Transfer the numeric response for each item to the blanks below. Scores are organized into columns by type of motivation. Total each column of numbers (Total Score) and calculate the mean score (Total Score divided by 4) for each motivation. Determine the relative ranking for each motivation by assigning the number “1” to the motivation with the highest Mean Score, “2” to the motivation with the second highest score, and so forth.

SENSORY (1+5+9+13) ESCAPE (2+6+10+14) ATTENTION (3+7+11+13) TANGIBLE (4+8+12+16)

1. _____________ 2. _____________ 3. _____________ 4. _____________

5. _____________ 6. _____________ 7. _____________ 8. _____________

9. _____________ 10. ____________ 11. ____________ 12. ____________

13. ____________ 14. ____________ 15. ____________ 16. ____________

Total Score: Sensory _____________ Escape_____________ Attention_____________ Tangible_____________

Mean Score: Sensory _____________ Escape_____________ Attention_____________ Tangible_____________

Relative Ranking: Sensory _____________ Escape_____________ Attention_____________ Tangible_____________


References are available on design project main page: Students with ASD: Developing Socialization and Self-Management Skills


Students with ASD: Developing Socialization and Self-Management Skills

Jeff's Portfolio Page

ETAP 623 Fall 2009