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If you’re wondering how you might deal with your autistic child or student and the anxious behaviour that they’re showing you, we suggest stopping and thinking about what the behaviour might be trying to tell you.

At Creating Connections Australia, we have a mantra that we remind ourselves of every day… ‘Behaviour is Communication’.

What’s the behaviour telling me?

Is there a need for more certainty and predictability in their day or in the activity that they’re doing?

Is there a need to ease social expectations or social pressures?

Is there a need to provide more support through changing from one activity to another?

Are they experiencing too much sensory stimulation? Or are they not receiving enough sensory activity or input for what they need?

Is there some form of communication misunderstanding or breakdown happening that may not be obvious?

Or are they simply having difficulty with keeping the feelings in their body balanced (or maybe they don’t know what to do with the feelings that their body is having)?

Behaviour Communication Analysis

The best way to work out what might be being communicated to you through behaviour is through a Behaviour Communication Analysis. In simple terms, this is about;

Looking at the behaviour in the moment (what you’re seeing and hearing, who is there and what’s happening in the environment) and thinking about how often, where and when you see the behaviour.

Interpreting the behaviour and what might have led to it (thinking about what happened earlier, what might have caused the behaviour, and what environments has the person been in).

Understanding what function the behaviour might have – what the person is trying to achieve from their behaviour. (Perhaps they are wanting something to stop, they need more help, they’re avoiding doing something because they don’t understand what is needed of them, or they’re finding a way out of a situation that is completely overwhelming for them.)

Understanding the reason for behaviour allows us to plan for appropriate support

Once we begin to understand the reason for anxious behaviour, we’re much better placed to begin to support the person through it either by eliminating the cause or by supporting them in learning new skills.

Need more help?

For more help with understanding what behaviour is communicating, we recommend our Understanding & Supporting Behaviour digital workshop package that is filled with strategies, ideas and supports for helping you support your own child or student.

Written by Elissa Plumridge

You can watch the video HERE


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