by Torri Wright | January 8th, 2020
The age old break down of assumption can be applied here, however, this goes beyond a general reaction. When we make assumptions, we are imposing our perspective as another person’s and failing to be person-centered. We are also failing to see “why” the behavior is present and what is the function for that person. In other words, what do they gain with the behavior and what were they trying to get before the behavior? If we step back and look past the behavior and observe the person within their natural environment and see how they interact with the world, those around them and the responses to each of those details, we begin to form a narrative that allows us to develop a hypothesis of why the behavior is there.
Assumptions are limiting, often wrong, and a self-centered way to identify behavior. While, we humans, do this daily and rarely reflect on our assumptions, we do have the capacity to step out of that, if we can become reflective and observant. Part of this process requires us to think about our own processes and why we do things the way we do. Imagine what another person’s interpretation of that might be. While it may not matter what others think, it is important to acknowledge assumptions are made all day, when/why we are late, why we choose that particular font in an email, what kind of car we drive, who we are spending our time with, why we organize our documents the way we do, or why we have little movements or sayings. Those assumptions come from someone else’s experience, not from informed information, creating a false understanding, (assumption/judgment). Getting curious and stepping out of the direct interaction to take note of what is going on for the person are there things influencing their ability to maintain regulation? Are they struggling with environmental clutter (lights, sounds, smells), does their brain process totally different than mine and if so, what does that look like?
Asking questions allows us to investigate and gather information that begins to inform us of a bigger picture that takes away the notion of someone becoming dysregulated is a purposeful action. The more we observe all variables, the more solid our hypothesis becomes, leading to informed interventions and strategies.