Autism Spectrum and Social Skills Interventions Discussion

Answer the question: Explain the concept that all behavior serves a communicative purpose or is used to meet an individual’s need. How would you explain this to another service provider or parent? Why is it important for all team members serving a student with ASD to understand this concept?

Respond to each student discussion. Please do not mix the student discussion with the question.

(Pat S.)All behavior serves a communicative purpose. When a person refuses to look at another, communication is taking place The person might want to avoid the other person. When the eyes of a person meet the eyes of another person immediate communication takes place. When a functional analysis and a functional behavior assessment conducted will often reveal what the person wants to communicate (Ganz, 2014). Mimes are great examples of nonverbal communication. The gestures are behaviors that are communicating a message. Stories are inferred, and interpreted by typical behaviors associated with responses to behavior. A person opens a window because he is warm. A fly is swatted because the fly annoyed the person.

An individual with SD might have sensory issues that cause different needs to be satisfied. The need to feel pressure, to chew, to spin, and more may satisfy a sensory need unknown to the observer. Team members need to be aware of the many individual sensory need of the person with ASD. Due to the inability to express with words the individual might resort to aggressive behaviors to be sure the observer is aware that something is wrong. When the function of the behavior is known the team is able to devise a replacement behavior that is appropriate. The appropriate behavior will then be taught to the individual with ASD or CCN. After the replacement behavior is taught then the team can expect the replacement behavior to serve the same function the previous inappropriate behavior served (Ganz, 2014).

Ganz, J. B. (2014). Aided augmentative communication for individuals with autism spectrum

disorders. New York, NY: Springer Publishing.

(Kim C.) All behaviors serve a purpose to an individual with communication deficits. Each behavior is individual and may not be seen in another child. A behavior usually indicates that there is a need that is unmet or want that is not being fulfill. The idea is to discern what the foundation to the behavior is. As individuals working with students with communicative needs we have to consider each behavior is a message to us. It is important that all service providers understand that and work accordingly to help understand the child. An example of this would be a child wanting an object and not being able to communicate such, we give them one thing and it is not what they wanted they will become frustrated and begin throwing object, slamming things down on the counter or desk or yelling. We have to make sure that all members of the team are able to read the signals and cues given to us by the child to help them lessen their frustrations.

(Joan E)Behavior serves as a function of communication. Individuals who have challenging behaviors are trying to communicate what they want or need. It is the responsibility of all professionals involved with the child to determine what the functions of those behaviors are. In order to teach a person with ASD, a Functional Communication Training (FCT) and Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) may be done in order to look at behavior’s that may be occurring to gain attention, desire for escape from aversive activities or items, and self-stimulation (Gantz, 2014). It is essential for all team members to be aware of a student’s function of communication so that they can communicate and respond to that student. For example, if a student has sensory triggers such a loud noise and is taught to ask for a break, the team must be aware that the student is communicating that they are uncomfortable and need to take a break. As a case manager, I would explain to other service provider or parents that the student communicates in a specific way. I would collaborate with them to discuss what the behaviors indicate and how to address them through FCT.


Gantz, J.B. (2014). Aided augmentative communication for individuals with autism spectrum disorder. New York, NY: Springer Publishing.

Read “Meeting the Challenge of Social Pragmatics with Students on the Autism Spectrum,” located on the Indiana University Bloomington website.

Read “Social Skills Interventions: Getting to the Core of Autism,” by Foden, located on the Interactive Autism Network website.

Read “Social Skills and Autism,” by Kuster, located on the Austism Speaks website.