In last week’s post, we discussed the idea that Behaviour = Communication. That if you look really closely at behaviour, you’ll see that it is telling you something. And quite often, it can be something environmental that causes a person to communicate with us through behaviour.
Let’s take a person on the autism spectrum for example. If an environment is not catering for their needs and their ability to feel safe, we’ll often see behaviour telling us so. If the environment doesn’t provide enough structure or certainty, if language and communication is being misunderstood, if social expectations are causing stress and uncertainty, or if sensory support is not available in the way that it needs to be, we may see behaviour telling us that things just aren’t right. Unfortunately though, the behaviour that we see can sometimes be misconstrued as the person simply being ‘naughty’, ‘annoying’, ‘obnoxious’, or ‘defiant’.
And that challenge is to look further than our first thoughts of behaviour simply being annoying and frustrating, and consider what the underlying message that is being communicated might be.
When we look for the reason behind the behaviour (or, what the behaviour is communicating), we place ourselves in a much better position to support the person rather than to simply ‘manage behaviour’. Instead of ‘behaviour support’ we can think of it as ‘person support’. And when we support the person, we enable positive communication, and greater well being for all.
Written by Elissa Plumridge