Mona Delahooke Ph.D. Advocates Compassion for Autistic Children in 'Beyond Behaviors'

Wednesday, April 10, 2019 General News
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Based on working with autistic children, families and teachers for over 20 years, Dr. Mona Delahooke urges a compassionate approach to challenging behaviors versus ignoring, discipline and punishments that add stress.

LOS ANGELES, April 10, 2019 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- In sync with Autism Awareness Month (April, and should be every month),

Child Psychologist Mona Delahooke, Ph.D., advocates understanding challenging behaviors of children on the autism spectrum before trying to eliminate them in her new book, "Beyond Behaviors: Using Brain Science and Compassion to Understand and Solve Children's Behavioral Challenges" (PESI, March 2019). In a recent blog post, Moving Beyond Autism Awareness and Acceptance, Dr. Delahooke urges everyone to "create a world that values, includes and celebrates all kinds of minds."

With 1 in 59 children now on the autism spectrum (CDC), Dr. Delahooke believes that many current treatments are outdated and recommends a more compassionate approach to disruptive behaviors (kicking, screaming, yelling, resisting, etc.). Instead of making assumptions, teachers, parents and caregivers should consider a child's or teen's actions may be a coping mechanism for stress.

During a recent Dr. Drew Midday Live with Leeann Tweeden interview on AM 790 KABC in Los Angeles, Dr. Delahooke emphasized, "With autism, we know there are unique differences for children in brain wiring. One of those differences is that there tends to be sensory over-reactivities. Children may hear things more intensely, or taste or smell things more intensely or experience movement in a different way. And when that happens, there could be a behavior associated with it, which is allowing the child to cope with the environment."

Dr. Delahooke's new book "Beyond Behaviors" raises important questions about how challenging behaviors of children on the autism spectrum are understood, managed and interpreted. The author recommends that adults; "proceed with respect and caution, along with helping children to try new things slowly by following their signals."

"Many of us are more comfortable with teaching an autistic child, as opposed to learning from him," explains Dr. Delahooke. Helpful diagrams are found throughout the "Beyond Behaviors" book to illustrate the author's concept that the challenging behavior is just the "tip of the iceberg", and why it's important to look beneath the surface at the causes.

Because no two people are alike on the autism spectrum, Dr. Delahooke encourages everyone to handle challenging behaviors with human connection and care versus punishment (time outs, negative consequences, isolation). The wrong approach can actually make matters worse.

In "Beyond Behaviors" Chapter 7 "Behaviors in Autism and Neurodiversity: Handle With Care", Dr. Delahooke provides helpful case study examples with recommendations. Topics covered include:

  • The importance of appreciating versus judging individual differences.
  • Why we should understand that challenging behaviors may be a child's way to feel safe versus acting out intentionally.
  • Why we should first appreciate behaviors for how they are protecting children versus immediately asking them to stop.
  • Why we should stop placing blame on autistic people or pressure them to conform.
  • Why when we presume competence, our priorities shift from behavioral compliance to promoting growth, communication, and self-advocacy.

Throughout "Beyond Behaviors", Dr. Delahooke emphasizes, "It's important to encourage people to appreciate neurodiversity rather than seek to change the child's behaviors to look more 'typical'." And if you are a parent with a child who is emotionally stressed, Dr. Delahooke encourages you to honor your instincts, speak up, and find alternatives when needed.

NEW BOOK "Beyond Behaviors: Using Brain Science and Compassion to Understand and Solve Children's Behavioral Challenges" (March 19, 2019)

MEDIA CONTACT Liz Kelly, 310-987-7207

ABOUT Mona M. Delahooke, Ph.D. (Los Angeles, CA) is a pediatric psychologist, keynote speaker and Author ("Beyond Behaviors", Number 1 Amazon Bestseller in Developmental Psychology books) with 30 years of experience specializing in supporting children and families. Dr. Delahooke is a senior faculty member of the Profectum Foundation, an organization dedicated to supporting families of neurodivergent children, adolescents and adults, along with being a trainer for the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. Dr. Delahooke's first book, "Social and Emotional Development in Early Intervention: A Skills Guide for Working with Children" (February 2017), describes a contemporary, neurodevelopmental approach useful for all childhood professionals. Dr. Delahooke's work has been seen on KTLA, Psychology Today and the Atlanta Journal Constitution.


SOURCE Mona Delahooke

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