4. Results: What Happens Next?

When we think about “what happens next”, we are trying to work out what happens as a result of the person displaying challenging behaviour. We are thinking about what happens directly after the behaviour or what happens because the behaviour occurred.


As we do this, we are trying to work out what the person is trying to tell us/communicate to us (i.e. what is its “function”). It is important to remember that all behaviours have a purpose or meaning and are often used to communicate something of importance to the person.


To help to work out what happens after the behaviour is displayed, look at the information you have from the STAR charts and/or frequency charts and ask yourself: -


  • What happens directly after the person displays the behaviour? Does the person get attention? Are they given something they might like? Are they given more space to themselves?

  • Does the person seem interested in making something happen?

  • Does something STOP something from happening? Is there a specific task, activity or demand that is avoided?

  • Do other people react in a certain way to the behaviour? Is their reaction rewarding to the person and/or would it make the person be more likely to display the behaviour again?


Another tool you can use to help you identify the possible functions of the behaviour is called the "Motivation Assessment Scale" (see resource panel). This tool can help to identify what might be reinforcing the behaviour (e.g. escaping from something; stopping something from happening; getting attention; gaining something they want).

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