Description: Self-management is the application of behavioral principles to ones own behavior. Components of self-management include the selection of goals for oneself, arranging one’s environment to make the likelihood of reaching the goals more likely, monitoring one’s own behavior to determine whether or not one is progressing toward the goals, and administering reinforcement to oneself. For example, an individual may set a goal to independently complete a task, such as preparing a meal, 7 times a week. The individual may increase the likelihood of achieving these goals by selecting meals that are relatively easy to prepare and by posting reminder notes. A simple data chart can be used to record the frequency of meal completion. When the goal is achieved, the individual may then access a favorite video game for 2 hours.

Research Summary: Self-management strategies have been widely researched in individuals with autism, most notably in increasing independence in social skills.

Recommendations: The uses of self-management strategies are effective ways to teach independence of skills to individuals with autism.

Selected References:

Systematic reviews of scientific studies:

Odom, S. L., Brown, W. H., Frey, T., Karasu, N., Smith-Canter, L. L., & Strain, P. S. (2003). Evidence-based practices for young children with autism: Contributions for single-subject design research. Focus of Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 18, 166-175.

Strain, P. S., & Schwartz, I. (2001) Applied behavior analysis and the development of meaningful social relations for young children with autism. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 16(2), 120-128.

Selected scientific studies:

Newman, B., & Ten Eyck, P. (2005). Self-management of initiations by students diagnosed with autism. Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 21, 117-122.

For additional information:

Ahmos, R., & Axelrod, S., (1999). How to teach self-control through trigger analysis (2nd ed.). Austin, TX: Pro-Ed. (ISBN 0-89079-771-4)

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