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When we see a behaviour, there is an underlying reason for why that behaviour is occurring. Whether or not it’s an appropriate behaviour, it’s letting us know that the person is asking for help or support to get what they need. Behaviour is a way to communicate a need or want in response to the environment.

So how do we look past the behaviour to find out what the need or want is?

We can use a variety of methods that show the reasons for the behaviour once we begin to analyse and look much deeper beyond what we see. To do this effectively, you need to chart the behaviour and look closely at what might be the triggers or causes.

We developed a ‘Behaviour Communication Analysis’ that aims to look at what’s happening at the time of the behaviour and assess the many factors that come into play as a result. This format allows you to look closely at the behaviour while it’s occurring, think about the potential triggers or causes for the behaviour, and work out why the behaviour occurred in the first place. We can explain it further by the looking at the following categories:

1. Look at the Behaviour (in the moment) – jot down the behaviour that you see:
what is happening? what is in the environment? who is there?

2. Interpreting the Behaviour (potential triggers)
what happened earlier? who has the person had contact with? what environments has the person been in?

3. Analysis of the Behaviour (the purpose or function)
what might the behaviour be communicating?

We have provided a sample of an analysis that shows more clearly how you might assess a behaviour and get a better picture of the underlying reasons:

Only after it’s clearly set out in a format like this, can you begin to see what types of support are needed and how to plan to provide these supports.

Try it and let us know what you think!

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