top of page
Pink Sugar

Wipe Your Face & Move On - Deescalating Behavior

Updated: Sep 24, 2023

I heard the student yelling in the bathroom. "Fuck you. Fuck this. I don't care." His teacher was out of town for a wedding and his routine was thrown off. We prepared him for the change in routine the best we could, although even when we do the best we can, a student can still become dysregulated. This is the reality of behavior.

I stood outside the bathroom door and asked if he was alone. He said he was so my teammate and I walked in. We saw a very upset student who was crying and grabbing paper towels out of the dispenser and throwing them all over the bathroom. He took the trash can and dumped it out. "None of you understand me. I don't care. Leave me alone." He kicked the can several times. I quietly asked how I could help and he cried even harder. This told me the student didn't know how I could help. I quietly shared that I could tell he was upset and he screamed, "How do you know how I feel?" I said, that I could hear pain in his voice and see it in his actions. He then ran to the paper towel dispenser and started shaking it telling us he was going to tear it off the wall. I certainly didn't want him to rip it off the wall, so I thought I could put his mind elsewhere by asking him, "Wait. Can you help me with something? I've never been in this bathroom and I'm wondering what that green thing is in the urinal." My goal was to grab his attention so he would stop trying to rip the dispenser off the wall. He stopped shaking it, looked at me and said, "What are you talking about?" I pointed to the green urinal cake thingy and he said, "Duh. You know what that is." I shared that I didn't and wondered what it was. He ran to the green thing, grabbed it and whipped it at me. Yes, "something" dripped down my face. He then sat down, covered his face and sobbed. I sat down, too after wiping my face and trying not to gag.

We just sat there. I waited for his next move, hoping it would be calm. He put his head down and said he was sorry. I watched his breathing and saw it was settled, so I asked him if he wanted to go back to my office and talk. He said yes. Watching his body language told me he was regulated. I asked him about how he got into the bathroom and what he felt while in there. We discussed options other than destroying the bathroom. We discussed strategies when having big feelings.

We discussed his action and whom they impacted. We decided it would be a good idea to clean up the bathroom as a consequence making sure he understood that it was unacceptable. We put on gloves and put the bathroom back together. We also found the custodian and thanked him for keeping our bathrooms so clean.

Lessons learned:

  • All behavior is communication.

  • Action = Consequence - Working together = strong, trusting relationship

  • There's pride in helping a kid feel regulated.

  • Our AWE either helps them soar, or adds weight to their shackles.

  • I'll still try that strategy again, but will be ready to duck.

  • Wipe your face & move on.

116 views2 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

It is so easy to become furious when someone disrespects you, but seeing their pain and being compassionate and empathetic is an art.

Sep 01, 2023
Replying to

Yes it is and you are amazing at the art!

bottom of page