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It's all about behaviour - Why are you doing this to me again?

Updated: Jul 30, 2021

Understanding the behaviour of your children is a proactive strategy for change. There is a reason for every behaviour. We need to first understand why they do what they do in order to further encourage appropriate behaviours and decrease problem behaviours while ensuring their needs are met. It is important to teach our children ways to appropriately express themselves through etiquette behaviours.


The functions of behaviour refer to the reason of a behaviour resulting in the consequence the child wants. The functions of behaviour include:


1. Social positive consequence

  • Getting attention or access to something

  • Gain control from environment

  • Communication with others

2. Social negative consequence

  • Escaping or avoiding someone or a task/activity

  • When being ignored

3. Automatic positive consequence

  • Stimulating the senses (without social attention)

  • Self-stimulation (esp in ASD children)

4. Automatic negative consequence

  • Attenuating pain (without social attention)

  • Anger release


By understanding the functions of behaviour, we can then prevent problematic behaviour by proposing intervention and teaching a functionally equivalent replacement behaviour that is socially appropriate to achieve the same consequence.



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