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AFL Disability kids are playing in AFL.

What is the ABC approach?

Sometimes, young people may behave in a way that you don’t understand during a footy session. It’s important to know that behaviour always serves a purpose. Finding out what a young person is trying to communicate is key to understanding their behaviour, and how you can support them.
The ‘ABC’ in ABC approach stands for Antecedent, Behaviour and Consequence. The ABC approach is a tool coaches can use to work out what happened before, during and after a behaviour.

This is usually a trigger, like being asked to do something they don’t want to do, feeling a certain way (eg. anxious or tired), or having a negative interaction with another player.

Describe the behaviour - What does it look like? How intense is it? How often does it happen, and for how long?

What is the young person getting out of their behaviour? It may be what someone does in reaction to the behaviour, like giving them attention or an object. It could also be the young person escaping from an activity or situation, or getting sensory relief (eg. finding a quiet spot).

Thinking about behaviour in this way can help you identify and decrease the triggers or outcomes of behaviour that you don’t understand, which can help to reduce the behaviour in the future.
Sometimes, we won’t know why a young person behaves a certain way. In many situations, the player and their parents will not know either. That is okay. Just because you don't know 'why' doesn't stop you from working together with the player and their family to find a solution. Remember, behaviour is complex.

AllPlay Footy is a joint initiative by Monash University and the AFL. AllPlay Footy was founded at Deakin University in 2015 and has been part of Monash Education since 2021. The AllPlay Footy content and resources presented here have been developed with people with lived experience of disability, consultants from National Sporting Organisations for People with Disability, psychologists and researchers, and are brought to you with funding from a Department of Social Services Information, Linkages and Capacity Building: Social and Community Participation Stream (2020-2024) grant. We aim to use language that is respectful to everyone.


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