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What is challenging behaviour?

Challenging behaviour is essentially how we talk about a range of behaviours which some people with learning disabilities may display when they feel their needs aren’t being met. It can be distressing for a child or adult with learning disabilities and their family and carers, but it is important to understand the reasons behind challenging behaviour and see it as a form of communication in order to know how best to respond.

Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) has increasingly become the model of choice in supporting people who display challenging behaviour. It focuses on improving the overall quality of life for the person by working towards both a reduction in the level of challenging behaviour and the use of restrictive practices.

Why is this important to Hft?

In the past, a lack of access to positive behaviour support training and community services, and an overreliance on the use of restrictive and aversive practices across the sector have in part likely contributed to: –

  • failure of services
  • families being unable to cope
  • people being overmedicated, and eventually
  • people getting stuck in out of area placements

We ensure that the approaches used by our staff follow the least restrictive practice, and promote privacy and dignity for people with behaviour that challenges provision of services. We use Positive Behavioural Support (PBS) as a means of identifying and understanding why an individual might exhibit challenging behaviour in order to address the issues that can trigger it.

What can be done to promote effective Positive Behavioural Support?

  • All learning disability support providers should have an organisation-wide approach to Positive Behavioural Support training.
  • Staff recruitment needs to be values-focused, and induction should include mandatory training on value bases when working with people with learning disabilities – including Positive Behavioural Support.

Hft has an internal team of skilled PBS practitioners that are responsible for providing in-house support across the organisation.  This means we can respond quickly to challenges and ultimately help prevent placement breakdowns and possible out of area placements.

We ensure people are supported in high quality care environments that meet a person’s social, physical and mental health needs whilst reducing the likelihood of challenging behaviour by providing supportive physical environments and increasing opportunities for communication, choice, control and engagement.

What difference does this make?

By understanding the reasons behind someone’s challenging behaviour, we can teach them new skills to explain and get what they need. This prevents the need for them to display challenging behaviour and helps them to live the best life possible. This information can then be used to develop a Positive Behaviour Support Plan to guide the care of those supporting them.

Embracing a Positive Behavioural Support philosophy across the organisation, and ensuring that it remains at the heart of day to day operations, leads to a reduction in the levels of behaviour that challenges, and an increase in people’s quality of life.

This means that people with learning disabilities, their families and local authority commissioners can have confidence in Hft as a provider that is good at supporting people with challenging behaviour in a variety of different settings.

More information

  • To learn more about how we support people with a learning disability to live the best life possible, take a look at our Fusion Model of Support
  • To explore the range of services offered by Hft visit our Services pages
  • Or find out more about how you can get involved in supporting Hft