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3.4. Describe how to support individuals to understand their behaviour in terms of: events and feelings leading up to it, their actions, the consequences of their behaviour.

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This page is designed to answer the following questions:

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Supporting individuals, particularly those with autism or communication difficulties, to understand their behaviour involves a structured approach that helps them connect their actions with preceding events, their feelings, and the consequences that follow. This understanding is crucial for self-awareness and the development of self-regulation skills. Here’s how this can be achieved:

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Identifying Events and Feelings Leading Up to the Behaviour

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Begin by helping the individual recognise the events or situations that precede certain behaviours. This can be facilitated through reflective conversations after the individual has calmed down from any distressing incident. Using visual aids, such as emotion cards or timelines, can help them articulate the events and identify specific emotions they experienced before the behaviour occurred. For those with more significant communication challenges, observing and gently suggesting possible triggers based on known preferences or dislikes can be helpful. The goal is to build awareness of triggers and the feelings associated with them.

Discussing the Actions Themselves

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Once the preceding events and feelings are understood, the focus should shift to the actions taken by the individual. It’s important to discuss these actions in a non-judgmental way, using neutral language. Role-playing or drawing can be effective methods for individuals to express their perspective of what happened, especially for those who may find direct discussion challenging. Encourage them to describe what they did and explore alternative actions that could have been taken. This step helps individuals understand the link between their feelings and their actions.

Exploring the Consequences of Their Behaviour

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Discussing the consequences of their actions is crucial for understanding the impact of their behaviour on themselves and others. This involves looking at both immediate and longer-term consequences. Use concrete examples to illustrate how their behaviour affected their environment, relationships, and their own well-being. For example, if the behaviour led to a disruption of a planned activity, discuss how this made them and others feel and what was missed as a result.

Developing Coping Strategies

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With an understanding of the sequence of events, feelings, actions, and consequences, the next step is to develop coping strategies for managing emotions and reactions more effectively. This could involve teaching specific calming techniques, such as deep breathing or counting, and problem-solving skills to handle triggering situations differently in the future.

Consistent Reflection and Support

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Supporting individuals to understand their behaviour is an ongoing process that requires consistent reflection and support. Regularly setting aside time to discuss recent events, behaviours, and outcomes can reinforce learning and help the individual make more positive choices in the future. Positive reinforcement for recognising triggers, expressing feelings appropriately, and choosing alternative actions can strengthen this learning process.

Summary

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Supporting individuals in this way fosters greater self-awareness and self-control, empowering them to manage their behaviour more effectively. It’s essential that caregivers and support workers approach these discussions with patience, empathy, and a focus on positive development, ensuring the individual feels supported and understood throughout the process.

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