Behaviour is communication. ‘Naughty’ should never be used to describe what is unmet need, misunderstood communication or even behaviour that challenges adults.

Sensory Ladders are a free resource that can be used to understand and support children and others who may communicate their unmet needs in a way that others can’t easily understand. Sometimes unmet need results behaviours that challenges others. However, ‘naughty’ is not a word that should ever be used. We should seek to understand and find better ways to support young people with obvious distress or those who have yet to learn self-regulation, distress tolerance and interpersonal effectiveness including communication skills.

This recent BBC show was so reductionistic and limited in their presentation of complex issues – and the write up that follows is so unhelpful, labelling what appears to be a vulnerable young man as ‘naughty’. The methods used to extinguish behaviours will have little carry over into other settings.

Now more than ever children’s mental health is at the forefront, and we should seek to base our interventions in emerging neuroscience. Specialist support with complex trauma, special educational needs, neuro- developmental difficulties and tricky mental health should receive specialist multi-disciplinary assessment and support, in the same way that physical health difficulties do.

This support can help address challenges participating in everyday life to the full, enhancing development to its full potential, building on emerging strengths and helping to find ways to address the things that might be challenging. Neuroscience supports the notion of a fantastic plastic growing and changing brain and the strong connections between body, brain and mind. It is wise to use this lens to best support childhood and teenage development and learning of skills. #realising potential

Kate and Aniesa have both written books that explore different ways of thinking and with clear rounding in recent emerging neuroscience.