On the Spectrum: Can You Unlearn Inappropriate Behaviors?

There are two types of inappropriate behaviors. 

The first one is the awkward thing you do and hope that nobody will take notice. Perhaps you accidentally let out a burp at a business meeting after a particularly heavy meal. Maybe you find yourself giggling uncontrollably as you meet your future in-laws for the first time because you’re too nervous.

True, these are inappropriate behaviors, but they are involuntary. You have no control over them, and at best, you can learn to avoid some of the most apparent triggers in the future – such as skipping the heavy meal before the meeting. 

The second type of inappropriate behavior is the learned response you choose to go to, time after time, to handle a specific situation. You may not find it fully adequate, but you don’t have any other alternative to fall back onto. These inappropriate behaviors can be managed and even unlearned. Here’s how to take back control: 

Yes, it’s what dealing with autism is about

Did you know that replacing unwanted behavior with new and better-suited responses is precisely what the applied behavior analysis (ABA) is about? The ABA is one of the most helpful tools to support people of all ages with autism as it helps to teach new behavioral responses, using triggers, rewards, and training. The results can be life-changing, especially when it gives people with severely autistic behaviors the opportunity to manage their social and professional lives.

For people on the spectrum, the ABA can offer guidance to learn new behavioral responses to replace those that can be deemed handicapping or isolating, helping not only to make connections with others but also to build meaningful relationships and exchanges. 

Yes, you can learn from your mistakes

There’s a time in your life when you need to look back and consider some of your past choices, especially when you find yourself opting for the same behavior. Did that behavior cause you pain or trouble in the past? If so, that’s when you can learn the lesson and actively choose to avoid it in the future.

A commonplace to improve your behavioral response is the relationship and dating scene, where you can move away from your usual reaction, such as trying to please everyone rather than focusing on your own happiness, for instance. 

Yes, you can ask others for advice

If you know someone who’s been going through a situation similar to yours and manage to find a way out, the best thing to do is to ask for their advice. First of all, the advice is going to make you better because, essentially, it’s a situation where you let someone external point out some of the mistakes you might be making without noticing.

As they do, they also offer recommendations, which enables you to choose what would work best for you. In other words, when you ask for advice, you actively set yourself in the decision-making seat. You can take back control of your life – because you choose exactly what behavioral recommendation would be suitable. 

 

Unlearning something you know and have been doing all your life can be tricky at first. But there’s a science behind it, the ABA that explains how it can be done for people on the spectrum. When you’re not on the spectrum, you can still refer to some of the tips to learn the lessons from your past and find a more suitable response through advice and observations.

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About Author

Hazel Jane

Hazel Jane is a freelance writer, university student, and an avid reader. She has a passion for writing, skiing, and traveling the world.

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