Every thing we do in life and everything we say affects someone else. It is a behaviour. We all have behaviours, some of them other people will find challenging or at the least irritating, but other people wont be affected by them at all. I believe that all behaviour is a form of communication, and once you can translate it you can then understand it and then you can cope with it. I cant change or manages a person’s behaviour, the individual has to do that, but I can learn to understand it, so that it becomes less of a challenge.
A scenario for you. A young woman of 16 is sitting and watching what you are doing, she is calm and there is no sign of threat, then she picks up a full 2 litre bottle of juice and throws it at you, then runs away, laughing, and goes into her bedroom. Would you say that is acceptable behaviour? I wouldn’t, and it did happen to me.
Now I tell you about the young woman. She is in care after being taken from her parents care due to a situation of neglect. She has Foetal Alcohol Syndrome and a learning difficulty. Does this make the behaviour acceptable? I think not, but I can understand her a little bit more now, and maybe I’m not quite as angry as I was.
Now I tell you a little of what I was doing. I was in the kitchen making sandwiches for lunch, the young woman was watching me, and chatting to me. The telephone rang, so I answered it. Does this make her behaviour acceptable? Again I say no, the behaviour was in no way acceptable and will never be. But considering her level of understanding and my lack of thought. At that point the young lady understood that I was now ignoring her, she wanted my attention, she has learnt that throwing things at people gets their attention, and if she runs off, they will follow. To her it is a game, she does not comprehend the dangers of throwing things at people.
Once you start to see things from a different perspective you can begin to change your attitude to behaviour and consider other ways of dealing with situations. I knew from that point on that if I was talking to this particular person and the telephone rang, I either explained to her that I needed to answer it or I ignored it. The young lady then learnt That I respected her, and did not ignore her, if she wanted my attention, throwing things was not the right way to go about it. She has then managed her behaviour because I facilitated the change.
All neuro-typical people can adapt and change their attitudes and behaviours quite easily, if they want to. People who are not neurotypical, can have a lot more trouble in making those changes, but with help, understanding and a lot of patience, they may be able to make small changes.
If you would like to know more or if you ever encounter challenging behaviours and want to learn some strategies to help call me or email me.