Educational Psychologist working in all areas of SEN support and intervention. Specialist in Autism and/or Challenging Behaviour
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.
It is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways. Some people with autism are able to live relatively independent lives but others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support. People with autism may also experience over- or under- sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours. (National Autistic Society)
While it might be difficult to understand why a person behaves in a particular way there will always be an underlying function. Behaviour can have many causes including biological, social, environmental, psychological, or even as a means of communication. The function of some behaviours do not rely on anything external to the person and instead are internally pleasing in some way, they function only to give the person some form of internal sensation that is pleasing or to remove an internal sensation that is displeasing (e.g. pain). Broadly speaking, behaviours serve two functions; they either get a person something or get a person out of or away from something. When a behaviour gets a person something this is called positive reinforcement and when a behaviour gets a person away from something or results in an item being taken away from them this is called negative reinforcement.