Module 9 - Challenging Behaviours

Management of Challenging Behaviour

The person who is behind the challenging behaviour is at all times a person, with all of the complexity that this implies. If a behaviour is not significantly detrimental to the person or others, it should be accommodated where possible, but in the case of significantly challenging behaviours this is not feasible. Under these circumstances, for the benefit of the person with the behaviours and others, other options must be considered. This should not invalidate the attempts of the person to communicate through these behaviours, and those working with the person should always facilitate other ways for the person to communicate their experience. Bearing this principle in mind, the key to effective management is to understand and address the factors contributing to the behaviour. Sometimes this may be quite simple, but often there are a range of factors contributing to the behaviour. Occasionally the same behaviour may have different causes at different times. It is critical to address risk issues as part of a management plan and to ensure that everyone is safe. How this is done will depend on the circumstances and the nature of the risk that the person is presenting with. It is important that carers are able to implement safely any strategies needed to manage the behaviour - it becomes very difficult to effectively work with someone if you are afraid of them. As noted previously, the first step is to treat any physical illness or any psychiatric illness before considering specific behaviour interventions. At times a person may have a chronic illness, and once it is stabilised, behavioural interventions may be appropriate. Behaviour interventions can only be successfully implemented when the underlying motivation behind the behaviour is understood. In this framework the behaviour is seen to meet a need for the person (such as relief from boredom) and the aim of effective intervention is to help the person meet this need using more adaptive strategies (such as providing them with enjoyable activities).
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