Managing Challenging Behaviours


From ConnectABILITY:

One of the first steps in dealing with problem behaviours is to try and figure out what is the “function” or purpose of the behaviour. In other words, what does your child get when he/she behaves this way? The purpose of any behaviour is to either avoid or to gain access to objects, activities, attention, or sensory stimulation.

Once you have a good idea about the purpose of the behaviour you can begin to deal with it by making the problem behaviour:

  • irrelevant (not important) – first, try to prevent it from happening, such as making changes to the environment, routines, tasks, teaching methods, and the timing of events
  • inefficient (to have no value) – teach a different and more appropriate behaviour that will serve the same purpose for your child, but will be simple for him/her to do instead
  • ineffective (not successful) – change the end results or the consequences so that it no longer helps your child to avoid or gain access to objects, activities, attention, or sensory stimulation

Remember – When attempting to change a problem behaviour, it may get worse before it gets better. Be patient and persistent when attempting to make change.

This link explains how to use ABC Functional Assessment cards. These are a great tool to gather and record the information needed to change behaviour. ABC stands for Antecedent (what happens before the behaviour), Behaviour, and Consequence (what happens after the behaviour).

How to Use an ABC Functional Assessment Card

ABC Card Template

Here are some more helpful links addressing challenging behaviours:

Introduction to Challenging Behaviours

Challenging Behaviours Tool Kit

Understanding Challenging Behaviours in Children With ASD

** Please note that every child and situation is unique. Families and educators are encouraged to consult with the child’s clinicians for specific advice.**


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