Understanding Anxiety and Challenging Behaviors in Angelman Syndrome
In this presentation, Kate Ahern discusses anxiety and challenging behaviors in individuals with Angelman syndrome. She emphasizes the importance of understanding the triggers and patterns of anxiety in order to effectively address and manage these behaviors. Kate suggests using visual supports, establishing routines, teaching emotional identification, and providing self-soothing choices as strategies to help individuals with Angelman syndrome cope with anxiety. She also highlights the use of social stories as a tool for teaching appropriate behaviors and promoting positive outcomes.
In this presentation, Kate Ahern discusses the topic of anxiety and challenging behaviors in individuals with Angelman Syndrome. Kate Ahern is an experienced special education teacher and assistive technology specialist who has worked extensively with children with complex communication needs, including those with Angelman Syndrome.
The Importance of Eye Contact
One of the key aspects of anxiety in individuals with Angelman Syndrome is their strong desire for eye contact. Eye contact provides a sense of security and acts as a secure base for individuals with Angelman Syndrome, just as it does for infants. Understanding this need for eye contact can help caregivers and educators provide appropriate support and intervention.
Strategies for Managing Anxiety and Challenging Behaviors
Kate Ahern suggests several strategies for managing anxiety and challenging behaviors in individuals with Angelman Syndrome:
1. Provide alternative ways to seek eye contact
- Use communication devices with a “look at me” button to encourage eye contact
- Practice taking turns pressing the button and making eye contact
2. Rule out medical reasons for behaviors
- Consider if pain or discomfort may be contributing to anxiety and challenging behaviors
3. Identify anxiety triggers
- Look for patterns and triggers that may cause anxiety, such as new or unfamiliar people or environments, unpredictable situations, changes in routine or transitions
4. Use visual supports and schedules
- Use visual supports, such as visual schedules and reminders, to help individuals with Angelman Syndrome understand and anticipate daily routines and activities
5. Teach emotion identification and self-soothing strategies
- Teach individuals with Angelman Syndrome to identify and express their emotions using visual supports and communication devices
- Teach self-soothing strategies, such as deep breathing or engaging in preferred activities, to help individuals manage anxiety
6. Replace negative behaviors with more positive alternatives
- Identify the function or purpose of challenging behaviors and provide alternative, more appropriate ways for individuals to seek attention or express their needs
7. Create a supportive and respectful environment
- Ensure that caregivers and educators treat individuals with Angelman Syndrome with respect and understanding, avoiding disrespectful or dismissive behavior
8. Use social stories and video modeling
- Create social stories or videos that explain and demonstrate appropriate behaviors and coping strategies for individuals with Angelman Syndrome
Understanding and addressing anxiety and challenging behaviors in individuals with Angelman Syndrome is crucial for providing effective support and intervention. By implementing strategies such as providing alternative ways to seek eye contact, using visual supports and schedules, and teaching self-soothing strategies, caregivers and educators can help individuals with Angelman Syndrome manage their anxiety and improve their overall well-being.
- Title: Understanding anxiety and challenging behaviors in Angelman syndrome
- Author(s): Kate Ahern
- Author(s)’ affiliation: None
- Publication date: 2017-12-23
- Collection: 2017 FAST Educational Summit