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Episode #059: 5 Proactive Behavior Strategies With Sasha Long of The Autism Helper

I often get requests for how therapists can help students who are engaging in problem behaviors that create a barrier for learning. In this interview, my colleague Sasha Long of The Autism Helper, shared her “Five Favorite Antecedent Strategies”. 

If you’re not sure what antecedent means, Sasha gives a great explanation. For the purpose of this list, antecedent means to be proactive. This is a list of best practices that when used to their fullest potential can help teachers, therapists, and even parents become proactive instead of reactive in the face of problem behavior. 

  1. Evaluate the Physical Environment. Remove elements of distraction or possible sensory overload. We might not always be able to remove it all together, but we can minimize or be aware to be of support to the learner.
  2. Routines. Kids and adults thrive off of routine and knowing what to expect. Be sure to include several grounding activities throughout the day. We’re all human and things come up but how can you plan ahead to maintain a routine even when there is a change in the day?
  3. Schedules. We often have schedules for the whole day but mini schedules are the secret sauce. Try to break down the steps into every group and activity. If you can associate each activity with a visual cue in the order it happens. Keep it simple and applicable to the receptive language skills of the learners.
  4. Visuals. We all use them, but, why are you using them? Take a look at the receptive language skills of your learners and figure out what kind of visuals they need. Make visuals a purposeful strategy as opposed to pictures used for the sake of taking up wall space. 
  5. Reinforcement of replacement behaviors. When you build up good behavior, you’re not going to need to be reactive. Provide praise when students are engaged in positive replacement behaviors. Find the good even if it’s small!

Our end goal when working with students and implementing this list to see an increase in communication and a decrease in problem behaviors. Sasha is a wealth of information. You can find out more about her and her work through her blog and podcast, The Autism Helper. 

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Today’s Guest:

Sasha Long, BCBA, M.A., is the founder and president of The Autism Helper, Inc. She is a board certified behavior analyst and former special education teacher. Sasha works full time as a consultant, writer, and behavior analyst. Sasha manages and writes The Autism Helper Blog, as a way to share easy to use and ready to implement strategies and ideas. Sasha also travels internationally as a speaker and consultant providing individualized training and feedback to parents, educators, therapists and administrators in the world of autism. She is currently an adjunct professor in the school of Applied Behavior Analysis at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Sasha received her undergraduate degree in Special Education from Miami University and has a Master’s Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

What’s Inside:

  • Proactive strategies for students who engage in problem behavior. 
  • What to do when problem behavior becomes a barrier to learning.
  • How to help students who engage in unsafe behavior during therapy.
  • What are Sasha Long’s Top 5 Antecedent Intervention Strategies?
  • How  to set up your therapy environment for the safety of your students.

Don’t miss Pyramid Educational Consultants’ Second Annual FUNctional Behavior Conference on April 4th and 5th, 2022! Pyramid’s international team of behavior analysts, and dually certified speech pathologists, led by Andy Bondy and Lori Frost, the developers of PECS, have created all new and expanded content that includes a broad range of practical information related to the field of behavior analysis. Day one will focus on content related to educational programming and program development. Day two of the virtual conference will present information related to behavior analysis and communication. Earn up to 8.0 BACB CEUs including one ethics and one supervision credit when you attend the full virtual conference. To learn more about attending the FUNctional Behavior Conference on April 4th & 5th, visit

Mentioned In This Episode

— @ABASpeechByRose
— The Autism Helper
— ABA SPEECH Your Autism Resource 

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