All Behavior is Communicating Something

Categories: Interventions

Everything you do, everything I do, and everything your students do happens for a reason. All of our behaviors are communicating something. Some behaviors may be trying to communicate wanting access to something. Access to attention, items, activities, sensory stimulation, a break. Other behaviors may be trying to communicate wanting to escape or avoid something. Maybe it’s to escape or avoid work, social situations, a sensory experience, or transitions.  

Sometimes behaviors are successful. The behavior is followed up by want the individual wants. I say a funny joke and everyone laughs. I go into my bedroom and close the door I get to be alone. I scratch my head and get sensory relief of an itch. Behaviors that are successful continue to occur. Behaviors that aren’t successful may stop. 

It’s important to think about behavior from this perspective because it empowers us as educators and parents to help teach our kids the skills they are missing. When a child engages in a negative behavior, it can seem easier to think “the child is naughty,” “the child is lazy,” “the child doesn’t want to work.” Those thoughts let us off the hook. We are done. But if we see a negative behavior and think “that child is communicating that he needs a break” or ” that chid wants peer attention.” We now can take action. We can teach a different way to get access to that same thing. 

Once you start to figure out what behaviors are communicating, you can make a plan for what to do next. You can develop a behavior plan that is function based and works towards teaching missing skills. Check out my YouTube Video from my Mini Video Training Series for more info. 


Want to learn more? We are midway through our FREE Behavior Change Masterclass and there is still time to join! Click below to enroll now!


  1. very informative

  2. Great to hear! Thanks for reading 🙂


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