Why does my child with Autism use different behaviours?

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Why does my child with Autism use different behaviours?

Before we start, let’s look at some terminology;

Behaviour: Any action that is observable. ‘Behaviours’ could be positive or negative.
Function of Behaviour: The reason your child is doing a particular behaviour.


There are four main functions of behaviour: SEAT

Example Behaviour*

Why does my child do it?

When does my child do it?



Hand flapping, self biting.

The behaviour feels good to do e.g. a stim.

Anytime, particularly when under or over stimulated.



Running away, biting, throwing.

The behaviour gets rid of something unwanted e.g. interactions or activities.

When something is too hard, easy, scary, or boring.



Saying “hi”, hitting.

The behaviour provides access to people and/or interactions.

When they want social interaction / any kind of attention.


Tangible (item you can touch)

Pointing, screaming.

The behaviour provides access to preferred items or activities.

When they are wanting an item or activity.

* examples are not exhaustive


What next?

Our Behaviour Consultant can support you to discover why your child might be using particular behaviours. They can also discuss what you can do at home to minimize unwanted behaviours, and increase desired ones.

Please contact Acorn Autism for more information.