"The Low Arousal Approach is based on the notion that people with behaviours of concern often have trouble regulating affect. They often react to other’s affects by experiencing and expressing the same affect. Affect is always contagious, but most people learn to differentiate between own and other’s affects early in life. Some people don’t. They don’t know if an affect they feel is their own or somebody else’s. That can result in anger if somebody else is angry.
We also know that challenging behaviour often occurs when the someone experiences a high intensity of affect. Nobody fights when they are relaxed and easy-going. Calm and self-control is connected, and we want the person to be in control of themselves, so that they can co-operate with us.
We need to use this knowledge in monitoring our own affect levels. We need to be calm ourselves, but also be aware of the risk of affect contagion from the adult with special needs or the child. We must use methods that protect the person with special needs or child and ourselves from an increase in affect intensity, both in the way we talk to and relate to the child or person with special needs and in our methods concerning challenging and even violent or self-harming behaviour.
Low arousal approach is about creating a caring environment characterised by calm and positive expectations aiming to decrease stress and challenging behaviour. The methods load heavily on changing staff and parent's thoughts and conceptions and on body language, physical distance and conflict evaluation."
Read more on low arousal from Bo
Low Arousal with Bo Hejlskov
Self-control and Challenging Behaviour
Read Bo's blog for more information on his current research, including applying the low arousal approach in education.