Behavior is Communication

In early January, we shared a Tuesday’s Tip titled “Behavioral Resources.” Were you able to snuggle up on a recliner and go through those resources? If not, here is the link again.

Have you ever wondered about the purpose of a challenging behavior, or any behavior for that matter? Experts agree behavior has four primary purposes:

  • Access to attention
  • Access to tangible items or preferred activities.
  • Escape or avoidance of demands and activities.
  • Sensory stimulation

David Pitonyak is a behavioral specialist and director of the consulting practice Imagine. He has dedicated his career to understanding and supporting people who exhibit so-called “difficult behaviors.” According to Pitonyak, “suppressing behavior without understanding something about the life the person is living is disrespectful and counterproductive. Difficult behaviors are a reflection of unmet needs. They are meaning-full. Our challenge is to find out what the person needs so that we can be more supportive.”

Pitonyak’s work is full of these insights. We encourage you to peruse his many resources as well as the others listed below—you will be profoundly impacted!

Print Resources

All Behavior is Meaning-full
Importance of Belonging
Notes for Parents
Ten Things You Can Do to Support a Person with Difficult Behaviors

Video Resources

How PBIS Can Prevent Problem Behavior at Your School
Lunch and Learn: Why on Earth Does My Child Do That?
Rethinking Challenging Kids—Where There’s a Skill There’s a Way
The Power of a Teacher