Empowering Autistic Individuals to Develop Flexibility Around Obsessive Behavior, Fixations, and Rituals
This presentation will be in English.
Becoming “stuck” with rigidity is a normal and often challenging part of the human experience. Many autistic people report having difficulty navigating situations that involve challenges with sensory input, rules, routines, and rituals that may diverge from what the general culture perceives as “normal” or “appropriate.” Despite how common these reports are, surprisingly little research has been done on procedures for supporting autistic people in managing these challenges. Fortunately, well-researched procedures from applied behavior analysis (ABA) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) can be used as effective supports. For example, graduated exposure, positive reinforcement, and defusion training can be combined to empower autistic people to navigate, and even find joy, in otherwise challenging situations. This presentation will review the small existing literature, present data from ongoing studies, and provide practical suggestions for practitioners on how to support autistic people without resorting to coercion or forced compliance.