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Developing Effective Self-Management Skills in ABA Programs: Strategies and Techniques

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) offers valuable tools for fostering good self-management abilities. Cooper et al. (2020) define self-management as “the personal application of behavior-change tactics that results in a desired change in behavior” (p. 683). ABA has been shown to be helpful in teaching learners how to utilize interventions to impact their own behavior. This crucial step enables learners to develop their independence in a range of circumstances. Increasing autonomy can result in stronger self-esteem and a better quality of life overall.

By breaking down complex behaviors into smaller, more manageable components, ABA assists learners in recognizing the reasons and effects of their actions, as well as developing and implementing behavior change procedures. In this post, we will look at ABA strategies that promote solid self-management skills, as well as how you can apply these strategies to build self-management skills for your learners in a variety of settings, such as daily life, the workplace, and schools.


Understanding Self-Management Skills
ABA Techniques for Developing Self-Management Skills
Steps For Teaching Self-Management Strategies
Setting Goals and Tracking Progress
Self-Management Example
Function-Based Self-Management Strategies
Using Social Stories to Teach Self-Management Skills
Ethical Considerations When Teaching Self-Management Strategies
Research Related to Teaching Self-Management Strategies
References and Related Reading

Understanding Self-Management Skills

Self-management skills include a range of strategies that enable learners to utilize behavior-change interventions to help them change their own behavior and achieve their goals. These skills act as a toolkit for overcoming obstacles in life. The ability to respond appropriately to triggering situations, use problem solving skills, and monitor your own behavior are at the heart of self-management. Success and independence are fostered by having these vital skills.

Self-awareness is a key component of good self-management. Self-awareness is the ability to understand your own thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Self-aware people are able to identify their triggers, accept their limitations, and recognize areas for personal growth. With this knowledge, they can adapt their strategies to address problems as they arise, enabling them to realize their maximum potential.

The ongoing monitoring of thoughts and actions is another crucial aspect of self-management. By observing their actions and emotions in the present, learners can identify coping strategies, ways to motivate themselves, and triggering situations to avoid. This ongoing self-reflection enables learners to make timely course corrections and cultivate habits that support their personal growth and development.

Learning self-management techniques, however, may provide additional challenges for some people, especially autistics and those with attentional impairments. These learners usually struggle with motivation, impulsivity, and poor problem solving skills. As a result, they may rely on external monitoring and intervention from others to navigate their daily lives effectively.

Dependence on external support for self-management can, unfortunately, lead to potential stigmatization. It may inadvertently label learners as incapable or hinder their autonomy and self-esteem. Thus, it becomes crucial to empower learners with the tools and guidance to develop self-management skills on their own terms.

By promoting self-management skills, ABA programs offer learners a pathway to navigate life with increased autonomy, confidence, and competence. Learners are better prepared to prosper academically, socially, and professionally as these skills become mastered, enabling them to overcome potential stigmas and embrace their special talents.

Self-management abilities are a crucial component of success, independence, and personal development. Real-time self-monitoring and self-reinforcement are the cornerstones of the capacity to create objectives, prioritize tasks, and make deliberate decisions. For learners facing challenges in developing these skills, ABA programs provide a supportive and tailored framework to nurture independence and resilience. Emphasizing the importance of self-management and breaking free from dependency on external monitoring, ABA empowers learners to flourish and showcase their true potential without stigma or limitation.


ABA Techniques for Developing Self-Management Skills

Teaching self-management skills is an important part of a successful ABA program. Although learners will have a range of skills they can learn, all learners have the ability to develop some basic self-management skills. ABA techniques for developing self-management skills typically involve breaking down complex behaviors into smaller, more manageable pieces. This allows learners to build prerequisite and component skills at their own pace.

In ABA programs, various types of self-management strategies are taught to help learners develop skills in regulating their own behaviors, thoughts, and emotions. These strategies empower learners to become more independent, make better decisions, and achieve their goals. Here are some different types of self-management strategies commonly used in ABA programs:

  1. Self-Monitoring: Self-monitoring involves learners observing and recording their own behavior or progress toward specific goals. This can be done through the use of journals, checklists, token boards, or electronic tracking tools. Self-monitoring enhances self-awareness and allows learners to identify progress toward their goals.
  2. Goal-Setting: Goal-setting involves learners setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals for themselves. ABA programs help learners break down larger goals into smaller, manageable steps to increase the likelihood of success.
  3. Self-Reinforcement: Self-reinforcement is a technique where learners reward themselves for achieving their goals or engaging in positive behaviors. This can be in the form of self-praise, giving themselves a small treat, or engaging in a preferred activity as a reward.
  4. Self-Instruction: Self-instruction involves learners using self-talk to guide their actions and make decisions. They may use cues, prompts, or reminders to prompt themselves to follow through with their intended behaviors or strategies.
  5. Time Management: Time management skills are taught to help learners organize their daily activities efficiently. ABA programs may use tools such as visual schedules, timers, or calendars to assist in managing time effectively.
  6. Problem-Solving: Learners are taught problem-solving skills to handle challenging situations. ABA programs may teach learners to identify the problem, generate possible solutions, evaluate the options, and implement the best solution.
  7. Emotional Regulation: ABA programs help learners recognize and manage their emotions effectively. Techniques such as asking for help, accessing tools to regulate sensory needs, or taking breaks are taught to manage emotional reactions.
  8. Self-Evaluation: Self-evaluation involves learners assessing their own performance and progress toward their goals. ABA programs encourage learners to reflect on their behaviors, identify areas of improvement, and adjust their strategies accordingly.
  9. Environmental Modifications: ABA programs may suggest environmental changes to support self-management. This could include creating an organized workspace, altering the level of light, or reducing distractions to promote focus.
  10. Cognitive Restructuring: Cognitive restructuring helps learners identify and challenge negative or unhelpful thoughts, replacing them with more positive and adaptive thinking patterns. Utilize elements of ACT to guide the learner in connecting his thought with his behaviors.

These self-management strategies are tailored to the learner’s needs and goals, making them valuable tools for promoting independence and success in various aspects of life.


Steps For Teaching Self-Management Strategies

There are many teaching strategies that can be effective in teaching self-management strategies. These are skills like any other you have taught your learners. That being said, these are higher-level, more complex skills than are often targeted in ABA programs. According to Erhard et al. (2022), the steps to teaching self-management strategies include:

  1. Identify the target behavior. The first step is to identify the behavior that you want the learner to develop. This could be a specific behavior, such as raising their hand before speaking in class, or a more general behavior, such as staying on task.
  2. Break down the behavior into smaller steps. Once you have identified the target behavior, you need to break it down into smaller steps. This will make it easier for the learner to learn the behavior. For example, if the target behavior is raising their hand before speaking in class, you could break it down into the following steps:
    • Look at the teacher.
    • Raise your hand.
    • Wait until the teacher calls on you.
  3. Teach the learner the steps of the behavior. Once you have broken down the behavior into smaller steps, you need to teach the learner each step. This can be done by modeling the behavior, providing instructions, and providing feedback.
  4. Provide positive reinforcement. When the learner performs the desired behavior, provide them with positive reinforcement. This could be a verbal reward, such as a praise, or a tangible reward, such as access to their favorite activity.
  5. Gradually teach the learner to provide his own reinforcement. Once the learner masters the steps of the desired behavior, you can gradually transition who monitors and reinforces his behavior. Teach the learner to provide reinforcement only once he meets criteria.

It is important to note that teaching self-management strategies takes time and effort. It is also important to be patient and consistent. With time and effort, you can help the learner develop the skills they need to manage their own behavior.

Here are some additional tips for teaching self-management strategies:

  • Make sure the learner is motivated to learn the behavior.
  • Break down the behavior into small, manageable steps.
  • Provide clear and concise instructions.
  • Teach the learner to provide positive reinforcement only when performs the desired behavior.
  • Be patient and consistent.
  • Fade out the reinforcement gradually.

With these tips, you can help the learner learn the self-management skills they need to succeed.


Setting Goals and Tracking Progress

Setting goals is a critical component of self-management, as it provides individuals with a clear sense of direction and purpose. ABA techniques for goal-setting typically involve breaking down larger goals into smaller, more manageable steps. This allows individuals to focus on making progress one step at a time, rather than becoming overwhelmed by the larger goal.

Here are some tips for setting goals and tracking progress:

  1. Start with small, achievable goals. When first starting out, it is important to set small, achievable goals for the learner. This will help them to build confidence and motivation. For example, a goal for a learner who is struggling to stay on task might be to stay on task for 3 minutes during a reading activity.
  2. Break down goals into smaller steps. Once the learner has mastered a small goal, you can break it down into smaller steps. This will make the goal seem less daunting and more manageable. For example, the goal of staying on task for 3 minutes can be broken down into the following steps:
    • Sit at the table with the book.
    • Open the book.
    • Look at the pictures.
    • Read the first sentence.
  3. Use visual aids to help the learner track their progress. Visual aids can be helpful for autistic learners who may have difficulty tracking their progress without them. For example, the learner could set a visual timer for 3 minutes when he first sits down.
  4. Provide frequent feedback. It is important to provide the learner with frequent feedback on their progress. This will help them to stay motivated and on track. For example, you could praise the learner each time they meet the goal and prompt them to access the pre-determined reinforcer (note: you should develop a plan to fade this prompt to promote independent self-reinforcement).
  5. Be patient and consistent. It takes time and consistency for learners to develop self-management strategies. Be patient with the learner and provide them with the support they need to succeed.

Here are some additional tips for setting goals and tracking progress:

  • Make sure the goals are relevant to the learner’s interests and needs. The learner is more likely to be motivated to achieve goals that are relevant to them.
  • Get the learner’s input when setting goals. This will help them to feel ownership of the goals and be more likely to be successful.
  • Set goals that are challenging but achievable. If the goals are too easy, the learner will not be challenged. If the goals are too difficult, the learner will become discouraged.
  • Review the goals regularly and adjust them as needed. As the learner progresses, you may need to adjust the goals to keep them challenging.
  • Celebrate the learner’s successes. This will help them to stay motivated and on track.

By following these tips, you can help autistic learners set goals, track their progress, and learn self-management strategies.

Tracking progress is also essential for effective self-management. ABA techniques for tracking progress may involve regular check-ins with the BCBA or a teacher, or the use of self-monitoring tools such as journals or calendars. By tracking their progress, learners can identify areas where they are making progress, as well as areas where they may need additional support or guidance.


Self-Management Example

Learner’s of all levels of abilities can develop some basic self-management strategies. Here’s a real-life example to help demonstrate the potential for teaching these skills (the names have been changed to protect confidentiality).

John was a 6-years-old autistic boy who used an AAC device to communicate. Although he had many skills, he was an active boy who struggled with keeping appropriately engaged at home. When he was bored, he would throw toys down the basement stairs, climb on the counters in the kitchen, and hurt his siblings.

I worked with John in the community and introduced self-management strategies in the local library. I made several play schedules that included 8 different activities using the app Choiceworks and taught John how to choose one of the schedules.

When we arrived at the library, I placed the iPad, his token board with 4 tokens, and 2 mini M&Ms on the table. John learned to open the Choiceworks app and choose the schedule he wanted to do that day. When the schedule was open, he began the schedule by touching the icon for the first activity. The app told him which activity to do. Here’s the sequence he learned to complete:

  • Touch the first activity t(i.e. puzzle)
  • Go to the shelf to get the materials he needed
  • Bring the activity to the table (or play in the designated area)
  • Complete the activity
  • Clean up the activity when finished (or when timer sounded)
  • Return the activity to the shelf
  • Return to the table
  • Move the icon to the “all done” column on his schedule
  • Give himself a token
  • Touch the next activity on the schedule. If the activity was open-ended (i.e. trains), he started the timer associated with the activity and would play until the timer signaled the end of the activity
  • Once all 4 tokens were on his token board, he took all the tokens off and ate 1 mini M&M
  • Begin the next activity
  • Once he completed all 8 activities and filled the token board a second time, he ate his final M&M

John learned to use similar schedules at home, improving his ability to stay appropriately busy doing activities he enjoyed. This story shows how self-management strategies can help autistic learners stay engaged and avoid problem behavior, even if they have deficits in other areas. By providing learners with visual schedules, positive reinforcement, and self-monitoring skills, we can help them learn how to control their own behavior and live more independent lives.


Function-Based Self-Management Strategies

Function-based self-management strategies are a type of self-management intervention that is based on the results of a functional behavior assessment (FBA). FBA is a process of identifying the function of a problem behavior. The function of a behavior is the reason why the behavior occurs. Once the function of the behavior is known, a self-management intervention can be designed to address the function of the behavior.

There are a number of different function-based self-management strategies that can be used. Some common strategies include:

  • Self-monitoring: Self-monitoring is a strategy in which the learner tracks their own behavior. This can be done by keeping a record of the behavior or by using a checklist. Self-monitoring can help the individual to identify the times and situations when the problem behavior is most likely to occur.
  • Self-evaluation: Self-evaluation is a strategy in which the individual evaluates their own behavior. This can be done by comparing their behavior to a set of criteria or by asking themselves questions about their behavior. Self-evaluation can help the individual to identify the times when they are successful in managing their behavior and the times when they are not.
  • Self-reinforcement: Self-reinforcement is a strategy in which the individual rewards themselves for engaging in desired behavior. This can be done by giving themselves a verbal reward, such as a pat on the back, or by giving themselves a tangible reward, such as a small toy. Self-reinforcement can help the individual to increase the likelihood that they will engage in desired behavior in the future.

There is a growing body of research that supports the use of function-based self-management strategies. In a review of the literature, Blake Hansen and colleagues (2014) found that function-based self-management strategies were effective in reducing problem behavior in children with emotional and behavioral disorders. The researchers also found that function-based self-management strategies were more effective than traditional self-management strategies that were not based on FBA.

The effects of function-based self-management strategies are likely due to a number of factors. First, function-based self-management strategies are tailored to the individual’s specific needs. This means that the strategies are more likely to be effective in reducing problem behavior. Second, function-based self-management strategies provide the individual with the opportunity to take control of their own behavior. This can help the individual to develop self-efficacy and self-control.


Using Social Stories To Teach Self-Management Skills

Autistic learners and learners with other developmental disorders often engage in a variety of challenging behavior. This occurs for several possible reasons, but is most often due to a deficit in adaptive ways to get their needs met (i.e. functional communication). To learn more about identifying why a learner engages in a particular behavior, read our post: Functions of Behavior in ABA: Complete Guide. When creating a plan to address challenging behaviors, professionals must teach adaptive alternative behaviors to take the place of maladaptive behavior. These behaviors must result in the same reinforcer that maintains the challenging behavior. Social stories may be one way to teach these replacement behaviors.

Social Stories were created by Carol Gray, author of The New Social Stories Book, to teach learners with autism how to respond in different situations. These short, simple stories help learners understand expectations and learn coping skills. A Hard Times Board provides one format for accomplishing this by combining Social Stories with Functional Communication Training (FCT) . Let’s take a look.

Hard Times Board

A Hard Times Board pulls apart a behavioral event and clearly delineates each component of the Competing Behavior Pathway in a way that learners understand. Including learners who have the verbal ability in identifying each component improves buy-in and compliance in utilizing strategies.

Competing Behavior Pathway

Competing Behavior Pathway

The competing behavior pathway provides a visual depicting the ABCs of challenging behavior and includes an appropriate replacement behavior. It provides a roadmap for changing behavior. Learn more about identifying the function of challenging behavior in our post: How to Conduct and Document an Initial Assessment for ABA Services.

Turning the Competing Behavior Pathway into a Social Story

Include learners in the process of creating the social story whenever possible. Learners who feel ownership of the plan are more likely to utilize the interventions in the plan. Although it may be difficult, it’s worth the effort and provides the best outcomes for the learner.

Consider the age and developmental ability of the learner to determine what their role will be. For very young learners (i.e. preschoolers), their involvement may be more limited, but they can help choose images for the story. For learners in early elementary school (i.e. kindergarten and first grade), have them help choose the pictures and strategies that might work for them. As they become older, include them in the whole process to the best of their ability.

Components of a Hard Times Board

When you take the components of a Competing Behavior Pathway and put them into a social story, you create a Hard Times Board. How much information you include in the social story will depend on the individual learner’s needs and abilities. The basic components include:

  • Triggers
  • Can’t Dos
  • Can Dos

Take a look at this example where a teacher uses a Hard Times Board to help one of his students:


Helping learners identify when they are likely to engage in a particular behavior helps them understand when to use coping skills. Learners often are not aware of what triggers challenging behavior. When creating a Hard Times Board, guide the learner into recognizing situations during which the behavior frequently occurs.

Choose your words carefully so that you avoid sounding accusatory. This is a problem solving activity, not a time to point out the learner’s faults. Use phrases such as:

  • I’ve noticed that you seem upset when X happens
  • Sometimes when X happens, it looks like you feel pretty mad
  • What are some things that make you angry?
Can’t Dos

Tie the information about triggers to some of the learners’s challenging behaviors by creating a list of behaviors that they shouldn’t engage in. Again, be careful to avoid statements that blame or point fingers. Try phrases like:

  • What are some things you can’t do when you’re mad?
  • I’ve noticed that when you’re angry sometimes you do X. I know you don’t want to hurt anyone, so let’s add that to the list of Can’t Dos.
  • What are some things that you sometimes do when you’re mad that make you feel sad after?
Can Dos

This section is the most important one as it provides those appropriate alternative behaviors. Many learners need help identifying more appropriate responses to their triggers. Some learners may suggest alternatives that are inappropriate. Guide them in creating a list of coping skills that are likely to lead to success. Use statements such as:

  • Since one of the things that makes you upset is being asked to do something hard, let’s add “asking for help” on the Can Dos list.
  • I like that you’re coming up with ideas, but playing on the iPad when you’re angry probably won’t change the situation. What if we add X to the list instead?

Not every Hard Times Board needs to contain all 3 components and your learner may ask to add something else. If the learner says she doesn’t want her triggers listed on the board, respect her wishes. The only component that is non-negotiable is the Can Dos section. Without the coping skills, there’s no point in the social story.

These social stories can be used with individuals from preschool to adulthood, but must be adjusted according to the individual’s developmental needs. Let’s look at some examples:

This first example is a social story developed with a preschooler who often engaged in aggression when he heard unexpected loud noises or when the classroom became too overwhelming.

This Hard Times Board contains 2 plans, 1 for at home and 1 for when the learner was in the community or at school. the young teen that helped create this plan often escalated when discussing his challenging behavior and felt strongly that having his behaviors or triggers listed would not be helpful. In addition, he loved superheroes and wanted a picture on the board to remind him to act like a superhero when he felt mad.

Finally, this social story was created with a 21-year-old woman with autism and developmental delays who also became upset when discussing her behaviors. She came up with all of the components with only a little guidance and was allowed to include coping skills that might be inappropriate (watching TV or going on the computer) because she was an adult. Over time, we were able to point out to her that the other coping skills benefited her more.

Encountering resistance

Many learners refuse to talk about their challenging behavior. For others this discussion triggers more challenging behavior. Don’t be discouraged if you need to guide the conversation or work through speed bumps along the way.

Rather than using a direct approach with these children, try having an indirect conversation during a preferred activity or while driving in the car. Sitting face-to-face for these conversations can be particularly difficult. Find creative ways to bring up the topic and tell the learner you just want to write down some of their ideas.

Dealing with inappropriate suggestions

When you include learners in developing a plan for responding to triggers, you inevitably encounter suggestions that are inappropriate to include. This might be things like “watch TV” or “send everyone else away.” You do not need to include these on the child’s plan. The child needs your guidance to select appropriate replacement behaviors.

Always acknowledge their ideas, but be prepared to gently direct them to more appropriate ones. For example:

The learner you’re working with states that when he gets mad watching his favorite show on TV will calm him down. While this might be true, it also might reinforce him reporting that he’s mad and is not an appropriate coping skill. You can simply state something like “Hmm, that is one idea. I like that you’re coming up with ideas, but when you’re mad isn’t the best time to watch TV. You could listen to music. We could include music in your plan.”

Teach Replacement Behavior with a Social Story

It’s not enough to simply help the learner write the plan for the Hard Times Board. You must also teach the learner to use the strategies in the social story. There are 4 steps to teaching your client to use a Hard Times Board effectively: practice, prompt, reinforce and fade.


During times when the child is at baseline. Ideally include this practice in the learner’s schedule and follow it with a preferred activity (for more information about using the Premack Principle, read our post: Premack Principle: A Guide to Using the First/Then Rule. Read the social story and have the learner choose one of the “Can Dos” listed to practice.


Once the learner has had sufficient opportunities to practice, present the Hard Times Board when the learner engages in precursor behaviors. Do not read the entire social story during this time. Present the board and prompt the learner to choose one of the coping strategies. If the learner chooses a coping strategy, provide reinforcement in the form of social acknowledgment and access to the coping skill.


As the learner begins to utilize the coping strategies in their social story independently, provide reinforcement. This reinforcement should be of value to the individual learner. As with all tangible reinforcement, pair it with social praise. At this stage, you should reinforce only independent use of the coping skills. When you need to provide a prompt to the learner (either in the form of presenting the social story or a verbal prompt to choose a coping skill), reinforcement should only be in the form of access to the coping skill.


Over time, begin to thin the schedule of reinforcement for independent use of the coping skill and reinforce remaining exposed to triggers without maladaptive behaviors on a denser, richer schedule.



Effective self-management skills are essential for success in all areas of life. ABA offers a powerful and evidence-based approach to developing these skills, through the use of techniques such as goal-setting, self-monitoring, and reinforcement. By breaking down complex behaviors into smaller, more manageable components, ABA can help individuals to identify the triggers and consequences of their behaviors, and to develop strategies for modifying their behavior. Whether you are looking to improve your own self-management skills or are seeking to help someone else, ABA offers a systematic approach that can lead to lasting change.


Ready for more help and support? Check out the Dojo at the Master ABA Academy! Our members get access to courses, downloadable resources and weekly Office Hours where they can get answers to their questions.

Ethical Considerations When Teaching Self-Management Strategies

The table below presents some important ethical considerations when teaching self-management strategies. The table includes specific action steps to help you ensure you practice in an ethical way.

ConcernDescriptionAction Steps
Autonomy and Individual ChoiceTeaching self-management strategies requires empowering learners to make decisions about their behaviors and goals. Ensuring autonomy and respecting individual preferences are essential to prevent coercion and promote self-determination.– Involve the learner in setting goals and selecting self-management strategies.
– Offer a range of options for self-management techniques and allow the learner to choose based on their preferences.
– Avoid imposing strategies that contradict a learner’s values or cultural beliefs.
Informed ConsentLearners should be fully informed about the purpose, procedures, risks, and benefits of learning self-management strategies. Obtaining informed consent is crucial to ensure that learners are aware of their participation and can make informed decisions.– Clearly explain the purpose, process, and potential outcomes of self-management training to the learner.
– Provide ample time for the learner to ask questions and seek clarification before giving consent.
– Document the informed consent process for future reference.
Generalization of SkillsTeaching self-management strategies in controlled settings may not always guarantee successful generalization of skills to real-world situations. Ensuring skills are transferable to various contexts is essential for meaningful and sustainable behavior change.– Plan and incorporate practice opportunities in different environments that closely resemble real-life situations.
– Use role-playing and scenario-based exercises to simulate diverse situations where self-management skills can be applied.
– Collaborate with caregivers to reinforce skills in natural settings.
Cultural Sensitivity and DiversitySelf-management strategies should respect and align with diverse cultural values, practices, and beliefs. Ethical considerations require practitioners to be sensitive to cultural differences to avoid imposing interventions that may be inappropriate or ineffective.– Take cultural competency training to understand and appreciate diverse perspectives.
– Consult with cultural experts or community members to ensure the appropriateness of self-management strategies.
– Adapt interventions to align with cultural norms and preferences.
Potential for HarmAlthough self-management strategies aim to improve behavior, there is a possibility of adverse effects if implemented without careful assessment and consideration. Ethical practice involves minimizing the risk of harm and promoting the learner’s well-being.– Conduct thorough assessments and analyses to identify potential risks and benefits before implementing self-management strategies.
– Use positive reinforcement and non-coercive techniques, avoiding aversive interventions.
– Monitor progress regularly and adjust strategies as needed.
Assessment and Data AccuracyEthical concerns arise when inaccurate or insufficient data influences the selection and evaluation of self-management strategies. Ensuring accurate data collection and interpretation is essential for making informed decisions about interventions.– Use reliable and valid assessment tools to measure behavior and progress accurately. – Train staff to collect data consistently and reliably to reduce errors and biases.
– Regularly review and analyze data to make data-driven decisions about self-management strategies.
Inclusion and AccessibilityAll learners, regardless of their abilities, should have access to self-management strategies. Ethical considerations require practitioners to ensure that interventions are inclusive and accessible, accommodating learners with diverse needs and disabilities.– Conduct a thorough assessment of the learner’s abilities and needs to tailor self-management strategies accordingly.
– Provide alternative formats or communication methods for learners with communication challenges.
– Collaborate with specialists to adapt strategies for diverse populations.
Training and Competence of PractitionersTeaching self-management strategies requires knowledge, skill, and expertise from practitioners. Ethical concerns arise when learners are not adequately trained, as it may compromise intervention effectiveness and the learner’s well-being.– Ensure practitioners undergo appropriate training in self-management techniques and ethical practices.
– Engage in continuing education to stay updated with the latest developments and best practices in self-management training.
– Seek supervision and consultation for complex cases or unfamiliar situations.


Research Related to Teaching Self-Management Strategies

Below is a table summarizing research articles related to teaching self-management strategies. The table includes important action steps to help you put these ideas into practice.

TitleSummaryAction Steps
Self-Management Skills and Applied Behavior AnalysisThis article in the “Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder” discusses the relationship between self-management skills and applied behavior analysis (ABA) in the context of autism. It examines the importance of teaching individuals with autism self-management skills to enhance their independence and adaptive behaviors. The article provides insights into various ABA-based interventions that target self-management skills, leading to improved behavioral outcomes in individuals with autism.– Educators and therapists should incorporate applied behavior analysis (ABA) techniques to teach self-management skills to individuals with autism.
– Develop individualized self-management intervention plans based on functional behavioral assessment.
– Implement strategies that focus on increasing independence and adaptive behaviors in individuals with autism.
Effects of Aligning Self-Management Interventions with Functional Behavioral AssessmentThis article explores the impact of aligning self-management interventions with functional behavioral assessment (FBA) in the context of education and children with behavioral challenges. It highlights the significance of tailoring self-management interventions based on the results of FBA, leading to more effective behavior management strategies. The study emphasizes the importance of individualized approaches in fostering positive behavior changes in children.– Conduct functional behavioral assessments (FBA) to identify the root causes of challenging behaviors in children.
– Align self-management interventions with the specific outcomes of FBA.
– Implement individualized self-management plans that address the unique needs of each child.
The Effects of Function-Based Self-Management Interventions on Student BehaviorIn this research published in the “Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders,” the authors investigate the effects of function-based self-management interventions on student behavior. The study explores how incorporating self-management strategies that align with the functions of behavior can lead to positive behavioral outcomes in students. The article highlights the significance of function-based approaches in addressing challenging behaviors and promoting students’ adaptive behaviors in educational settings.– Identify the functions of challenging behaviors in students through functional behavior assessments.
– Develop self-management interventions that align with the identified functions of behavior.
– Implement and monitor the effectiveness of function-based self-management strategies in improving student behavior.
Improving Social Skills and Disruptive Behavior in Children with Autism through Self-ManagementThis study, published in the “Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis,” examines the effectiveness of self-management in improving social skills and reducing disruptive behavior in children with autism. The authors present a self-management treatment package that aims to enhance appropriate social behaviors in unsupervised environments. The results indicate the potential of self-management strategies in fostering social development and reducing disruptive behaviors in children with autism.– Implement self-management strategies, such as self-monitoring, to improve social skills in children with autism.
– Utilize reinforcement techniques to encourage positive social behaviors in unsupervised environments.
– Generalize the use of self-management skills across various social situations and settings for long-term improvement.
Effects of Self-Management Training and Reinforcement on the Transfer of Improved ConductThis research in the “Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis” investigates the impact of self-management training and reinforcement on the transfer of improved conduct in the absence of supervision. The study explores how self-management interventions can lead to sustained positive behavior changes even when external supervision is not present. The findings highlight the potential of self-management strategies in promoting independent and maintained conduct improvements in individuals.– Provide self-management training to individuals to enable them to regulate their behavior independently.
– Use reinforcement strategies to support and maintain positive conduct improvements.
– Evaluate the generalization and long-term effects of self-management interventions on behavior, even without constant supervision.
Training Parents in Behavioral Self-Management: An Analysis of Generalization and MaintenanceThis article in the “Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis” focuses on training parents in behavioral self-management to promote generalization and maintenance of behavior changes in children. The study demonstrates how teaching parents to implement self-management techniques can lead to sustained positive outcomes in children’s behavior. The research emphasizes the significance of involving parents in the behavior management process to enhance the effectiveness of interventions.– Train parents in behavioral self-management techniques to implement with their children.
– Monitor and assess the generalization of behavior improvements across different settings.
– Provide ongoing support to parents to ensure the maintenance of positive behavior changes in children.
Teaching Children with Autism Appropriate Play in Unsupervised EnvironmentsThis study published in the “Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis” explores a self-management treatment package designed to teach children with autism appropriate play skills in unsupervised environments. The research demonstrates the efficacy of self-management strategies in fostering independent play skills in children with autism, enabling them to engage appropriately with peers and toys in various settings. The article highlights the importance of empowering children with autism to self-manage their behavior to promote social development.– Implement a self-management treatment package to teach appropriate play skills to children with autism.
– Use visual supports and reinforcement to encourage independent play in unsupervised settings.
– Generalize play skills across different environments to facilitate social interactions with peers.
Using Social Stories to Teach Social and Behavioral Skills to Children with AutismThis article in “Focus on Autistic Behavior” investigates the use of social stories as a method to teach social and behavioral skills to children with autism. The research demonstrates how social stories can be an effective tool in promoting positive behaviors and social understanding in children with autism. The study emphasizes the significance of individualized and context-specific social stories in facilitating skill acquisition and behavior management in children with autism.– Develop individualized social stories that target specific social and behavioral skills in children with autism.
– Use visual supports and narratives to help children understand appropriate behavior in various situations.
– Continuously assess the effectiveness of social stories in promoting positive behavior changes and modify them as needed.


References and Related Reading

Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2020). Applied behavior analysis. Merrill.

Erhard, P., Wong, T., Barnett, M., Falcomata, T. S., & Lang, R. (2022). Self-Management Skills and Applied Behavior Analysis. In Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder: Assessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment (pp. 957-973). Cham: Springer International Publishing.

Hansen, B. D., Wills, H. P., & Kamps, D. M. (2014). Effects of aligning self-management interventions with functional behavioral assessment. Education and Treatment of Children, 393-406.

Hansen, B. D., Wills, H. P., Kamps, D. M., & Greenwood, C. R. (2014). The effects of function-based self-management interventions on student behavior. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders22(3), 149-159.

Koegel, L. K., Koegel, R. L., Hurley, C., & Frea, W. D. (1992). Improving social skills and disruptive behavior in children with autism through self‐management. Journal of applied behavior analysis25(2), 341-353.

Ninness, H. C., Fuerst, J., Rutherford, R. D., & Glenn, S. S. (1991). Effects of self‐management training and reinforcement on the transfer of improved conduct in the absence of supervision. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis24(3), 499-508.

Sanders, M. R., & Glynn, T. (1981). Training parents in behavioral self‐management: An analysis of generalization and maintenance. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis14(3), 223-237.

Stahmer, A. C., & Schreibman, L. (1992). Teaching children with autism appropriate play in unsupervised environments using a self‐management treatment package. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis25(2), 447-459.

Swaggart, B. L., Gagnon, E., Bock, S. J., Earles, T. L., Quinn, C., Myles, B. S., & Simpson, R. L. (1995). Using social stories to teach social and behavioral skills to children with autism. Focus on Autistic Behavior10(1), 1-16.

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