Top 5 Tips from Network Autism: Behaviour Support

How can you provide behaviour support to students with autism? Check out the following five useful tips for professionals.

About Axcis and Network Autism

443_NetworkAutism_Logo_BOX ONLY_RGB_NAS-Purple_HigHRes-300dpi_24At Axcis, we are very proud to say that we are long-term supporters of the National Autistic Society. We have been their largest individual corporate sponsor for some years now. As part of our partnership, they have been able to develop Network Autism, which is funded entirely by Axcis sponsorship. It is a UK wide autism specific collaboration with international reach. It is a dedicated, supported space where all those seeking to develop and contribute their skills, knowledge and practice in the area of autism can come together to network and share good practice. The unique multi-disciplinary and multi-national nature of this space enables cross fertilisation of ideas and experience that over time could lead to the development of innovative practice and drive change across the autism sector.


We are thrilled to share these tips recently published on their website, written by Nadia Khan, Behaviour Coordinator at the National Autistic Society (NAS) Scotland.

Behaviour Support

1. Medical check-up

The first thing to do when an individual is engaging in new or increased amounts of behaviours that challenge is to ensure there is no medical cause for this. This should be conducted by a medical professional. Common causes of behaviours that challenge due to pain or illness in people with a severe learning disability, ASD, and or communication difficulties are: toothache, headaches, and constipation.

2. Identify the function of behaviour

There is always a reason why behaviours that challenge occur. We should aim to understand what purpose the behaviour serves to the individual. What is the individual trying to communicate? What need is the individual meeting by engaging in the act? The four functions of behaviour are:

  • escape
  • social attention
  • tangible reinforcement
  • self-stimulatory

3. Developing new skills

We should support the individual to develop socially appropriate skills to meet their needs without needing to engage in behaviours that challenge. Increasing an individual’s skills in general also helps to promote independence, self-esteem, and builds confidence.

4. Structure, routine, and consistency

It is important to have a structured routine both daily and weekly. This consistency should limit any anxiety caused by being unsure or unaware of what is happening. Routines help us to manage and understand our environment, and changes in these routines can lead to confusion and distress.

5. Support the individual’s communication

This may be through clinical support from a Speech and Language Therapist but may also be at home. Reward and encourage whatever means of socially appropriate communication the individual uses. Difficulties can arise for an individual when they are unable to communicate even basic needs and wishes. Remember that pointing, gestures, and eye movement are all forms of communication that should be supported and developed.


These top tips are meant only as a very general guide to what to think about. You can find more information on this subject below.

Useful Links:


Challenging behaviour

Restricted diets

Sensory world


Social care

Social stories

Tips for parents

Visual supports

Would you like to work with children with autism?

Leah and Ade met lots of students keen to work for Axcis.

Get in touch for a hassle-free chat with one of our friendly consultants if you’re interested in working with children with an ASD

At Axcis, we help thousands of people to find work with children on the autism spectrum. When you consider that 25% of students with a documented special educational need are on the spectrum, it is plain to see that there are plenty of positions available to teach or support such pupils in mainstream or special school environments. You don’t need to have experience to be considered – at Axcis, we look for personal as well as professional qualities which make you a great candidate for this sort of work. If you’d like to know more, why not register or get in touch with your local branch to see how we can help you?

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