Behavior Therapy for Autism

A five-year-old boy with autism

Peter Lewis has been witnessed being violent, non-compliant behavior and often throws tantrums at the slightest provocation. This was a struggle for his parents, whom I helped to regulate his actions. While enforcing skills such as playing football and walking stably, he demonstrated physically violent conduct.

Physical Attack

As I squeezed his hand, Peter showed an offensive conduct and took him outside in the front yard to play football. Realizing this, I left him alone and, as he watched, continued to the pitch. This lasted for 3 minutes or so before he calmed down. I demonstrated a few skills with the ball and saw him smile. I determined that he was now ready to come to the yard.

I called him to the yard in a friendly manner and passed him the ball. I was determined to teach him some few skills that I had demonstrated before. The first skills I taught him was to pass the ball precisely in my direction. Realizing he could not, Peter became aggressive again, this time hitting me whenever I gave him an instruction.

This lasted for about five minutes. Honestly, I was getting irritated. Upon this, I asked him to imagine that he was like his favorite player in a big match and I was the commentator of the game. Realizing this, he stopped being violent and went for the ball and demonstrated what I had taught him. I acted as a commentator as he kicked the ball, this made him smile.


After learning how to kick the ball in a precise manner, I told Peter that it was time to learn some dribbling skills while I would commentate. However, he became non-compliant and even sat on the ground. This lasted for about five minutes I had to intervene by trying to drag him. This did not work.

Luckily, two of his friends entered and I instructed them to act like they were fans and asked them to cheer on as Peter played. It is upon this that he stood up, perhaps feeling like he was some star. He stood up and went ahead to show what he had learned.

There was need to create some makeshift goal posts, but when I asked for Peter's cooperation, he was non-compliant. For about another five minutes. Forcing him up would not work. I devised a song which I asked his friends to sing. "More goals, better star," the song went. I explained to Peter that one became a better star by scoring more goals. He agreed to set up the goals and practice how to score. I told him that if he scored a goal, I would give him a pin pop that I had carried. He was excited.


Everything continued well until Peter's elder brother, aged 8, entered and started playing along. This time round Peter threw himself to the ground, and started crying and throwing his feet and arms in the air, he did not want his bother playing. I told him that he would be removed from the pitch if he was not ready to play with others.

This lasted for about three minutes as I quickly figured what to do. I asked his brother to go into the goal post and act as a goal keeper. I then called upon Peter in order to teach him a 1-2 technique of passing the ball before dribbling near the goal post and scoring. I had talked to his brother to allow goals, as a way of rewarding Peter's efforts.

Peter was happy about the whole idea of passing the ball, playing the 1-2 technique, dribbling and eventually scoring the goal. I rewarded him with a pin pop once more for scoring a goal with a goalkeeper in the goal post.

In the whole experience, I realized that using force to make Peter perform various activities was not the solution to his behavioral problems. On the contrary, the technique of motivation, both positive and negative, negotiating and convincing him in a friendly tone is what is required. I explained to the parents to look out for the activities he loved doing and use those as a way of controlling his behaviors.

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