Positive Behaviour Support part 6


The Importance of Self Control

The most common misconception is that as a staff member you have or can take control over the student. In this case, if you lose control over a student, you would normally try to gain it again, for example by grabbing the student or forcing contact. 

Nobody really can have control over another human being. A student must be in full control of him or herself in order to lend even part of their control to someone else. 

Common strategies to regain control of oneself include:

  •  Refusing or saying no in a demanding situation if you have difficulties foreseeing the consequences of saying yes.

  • Taking a few steps away from other people; when under stress our need for personal space increase.

  • Creating a distance to the other people by hitting out, throwing things or screaming to keep them away.

  • Shutting off mentally in order to be less affected by those around you.

  • Running away.

  • Biting your hand or arm so you can focus on pain and ignore other impressions.

  • Using threats or taunts to be acknowledged.


All these behaviours are positive, forward-looking strategies to regain or keep self-control. In many contexts, they are however considered challenging behaviour because the staff feel they lose control for a short while. If staff react forcefully or confronting in these situations, dangerous, violent situations that the student often are blamed for.


No Fighting, No Biting, No Screaming: How to Make Behaving Positively Possible for People with Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, Bo Elvin

Reflective Task:


Think about a time, intentionally or unintentionally, you have tried to take a students control and the outcome has been challenging. Looking back and think of ways you could have made the student feel in control.

St Ann's School
Headteacher: Gillian Carver

Springfield Road, Hanwell W7 3JP
Google Maps / StreetMap

Phone: 02085676291 
Fax: 02088404664


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