The Hope Source
autism self regulation

Behavior modification isn’t about controlling the behavior of others.
When it comes to “managing” or modifying the difficult or undesirable behavior of another, we walk a fine line between attempting to control the actions of another and guiding their behavior in a different direction. How do we guide someone else’s behavior? We use our own behavior as a means of facilitating behavioral change. We guide someone in modifying their behavior by modeling behavior that demonstrates we are able to manage our emotions and, thus, our actions in a challenging situation. It is in repeatedly observing our actions that model competency that teaches the less-skilled individual how to successfully manage his or her own emotional response to a stimulus. By teaching someone how to successfully and skillfully utilize their own inner resources, we are able to facilitate lasting change.
The best way to learn how to facilitate change in others is to first facilitate change within ourselves.
How do we react under pressure? At what times do we feel most challenged? To what degree do we allow ourselves to become overwhelmed by the stresses of life? What situations cause us to feel incompetent or unable to control our emotions? How do we self-soothe to get back to our baseline level of functioning? What works for us and what doesn’t?
Understanding what triggers us to react and behave a certain way and, subsequently, how we respond, is the only way to successfully model a desired behavior for someone else. Being non-reactive is not a natural state for most of us; we must consciously focus on maintaining and regulating our own emotional response to external circumstances and this must be practiced. By managing our own emotional and physiological responses to the behavior of another, we are able to embody a sense of stability, consistency and confidence that is much needed when someone else is exhibiting challenging behaviors.
Control thyself; That is the fundamental component of understanding our approach to behavioral modification. 🙂
written by Sarah Corey, MA 


Read more about our approach to ABA on our Resources page!

Autism Resources

episodic memory

The Purple Philosophy: Episodic Memory 

When a child experience success, they develop memories that they can retrieve when faced with similar situations. This is called Episodic Memory – one of our memories impacted by ASD.

When you have experiences that are meaningful, they become a part of you. And when something is a part of you, you can more readily access it to apply it to your past, present and future experiences. Episodic Memory gives you sense of self; It gives you roots.

When a behavior intervention has a strong Episodic Memory focus as its internal reinforcement, then generalization isn’t a problem. If you are able to retrieve meaningful past experiences and apply them to your current situation, competence increases, problem solving increases and anxiety decreases.

Can you imagine if you didn’t have strong Episodic Memory? EVERY experience would be NEW! And thus, quite scary.

Intervention must focus on helping an individual discover what is important (the treatment goal in this case) from an experience. Then, continue to help them relate, retrieve and reapply what they learned in SIMILAR experiences that they encounter. Over time, they will begin to build a sense of self and the competence to tackle any situation they encounter.

Want more information? Here’s a start:

  1. To read the most recent Purple Philosophy blog post, click here:
  2. For more information about episodic memory and how it relates to autism and the D12, click here:

The Purple Philosophy: What does regulation sound like?

Shhh. Don’t disrupt the mindful engagement!

When someone is regulated their mind and body is attending, organizing and processing environmental, emotional and cognitive information appropriately.

When someone is regulated, they will be more confident and competent as solving functional problems and adjusting to social demands.

We can observe this confidence/competence objectively; The body is still, the mind is focused and the heart is trusting in the partner or the process.

Objectively observing and determining the function of behavior is the foundation of ABA. In this field, the word behavior is often discussed in the negative – abehavior to be changed. But if we go further than that, we can see that a lot of behavior is a symptom of deeper deficits.

Behavioral symptoms, such as aggression, are LOUD and that is a good thing! If we can see or hear it, then we can find what is really happening with the individual.

Most of the time, what we identify as a behavior is really feelings of incompetence to overcome a challenging situation causing anxiety and fear. Anxiety and fear lead to fight or flight behavior.

It is critical to not simply change or suppress this loud behavior before understanding it.

If we build confidence and competence in overcoming challenges, the “behavior” will become regulated – engaged, attentive and quiet.


%d bloggers like this: