Neurodevelopmental help: Understanding and responding to behaviours

Behaviour is the way in which we act or respond to a situation or event that occurs. We can all respond to something positively. For example, smiling and laughing to show our enjoyment and pleasure. Equally we can show that we may be feeling less enjoyment for something, even feeling slightly anxious or distressed. We may then show behaviours such as avoidance, annoyance or sometimes anger. As adults we have had much more practice than children and young people in managing our responses and regulating ourselves.  

Behaviour is not a neurodevelopmental presentation. It is often a symptom of something else. For example, feeling anxious about a change to a routine or a transition to something new, people missing communication attempts that may be subtle or being overwhelmed by sensory information.

As adults we often notice behaviours such as distressed, passive or unexpected behaviour as we can sometimes find these more challenging to manage. It is important to understand why this type of behaviour occurs and what may trigger it. It is equally important to notice the calm, settled and engaged behaviours that children show as this helps us to create environments and interact with children and young people in ways to encourage these responses.

The resources on this page are to try and help adults supporting a child or young person to understand the reasons for their behaviours. The resources include leaflets, video clips, webinars and courses that you are able to attend. They all provide support and can be accessed when they may be needed.

Useful websites

Behaviour as an indicator of distress

Behaviour and autism

Videos and webinars

Courses to attend

Services to contact

0-19 Team

Early Help

  • Children's portal (currently unavailable)


Referral for Neurodevelopmental Assessment Pathway

This page was last updated on 9 December 2022

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