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Identifying behaviour



Identifying behaviour when there is a lot going on, can be challenging for most. Sometimes it can feel like it's not one specific 'thing', more a series of events from the time the morning begins or the car trip, going into the supermarket or having friends over.


A behaviour specialist may examine the topography of the behaviour, so as to narrow down the specific behaviour or 'target' behaviour needing attention, support and change.


The topography means describing the behaviour, what is going on, what is happening when the behaviour occurs, who is present. Once the behaviour has been defined, then data would be collected on how long the behaviour lasts, how many times it occurs, examining all that is happening when the behaviour occurs, before, during & after. A behaviour specialist may then operationalise the target behaviour. This requires removing the emotion & at times bias or stereotyping from behavioural descriptions & looking at the behaviour through an objective lens.


E.g. A typical description: Every time Jack throws a tantrum, all day, every day. An operationalise definition:


At 7.05pm Jack is asked to go into the bathroom for his bath. Jack is sitting in front of the Playstation and picks up the remote control throwing it at his sister who said to Jack "it is your turn". Jack raises his voice loudly for 45 seconds & stops when Jack's mother says

"Ok Jack 5 minutes more, then your bath". After 5 minutes more Jack begins to scream

loudly at his mother.


Defining a behaviour is the first step & key to effective behaviour support & change programs.



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