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Supporting Behavior

Understanding and Supporting Behaviour

Behavior is one of the ways we communicate our emotions, our wants, needs, likes, dislikes and how we might be feeling. Sometimes our behavior may come across as appropriate depending on the situation, whilst other times, our behavior can be perceived as challenging and difficult to understand. Our behavior may vary according to the way we may be feeling at the time, and this may be influenced by various factors beyond our control.

According to the National Autistic Society (NAS), Autistic children often display behaviour that we may find complex to understand and this may be a challenge for us. It is important to remember that behaviour always has a function, and there could many reasons why they are displaying dysregulated behaviour.

These reasons may include difficulty in processing information, unplanned / unstructured / unpredictable times, sensory processing needs – over or under sensitive to sensory stimuli, changes in routine, transition between activities, or physical reasons such as feeling unwell, tired or hungry.

Often when children are dysregulated, they are unable to recognise or articulate their needs or emotions at the time, especially if they are feeling anxious. As a result, they may zone out, shut down or become emotionally dysregulated and present with unexpected behaviour / behaviours that challenge. It is important to teach children to recognise their emotions and support them with strategies to help self-regulate but first we would need to identify why they are displaying this behaviour – we use the ABC Chart,  STAR Chart and the Iceberg (NAS) to help us. 

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