The term ‘challenging behaviour’ was first introduced in North America in the 1980’s, and was originally used to describe problematic behaviours in people with ‘mental retardation’ (learning disabilities). Challenging behaviour can, however, occur across the intellectual spectrum, being particularly prevalent in populations with psychiatric disorders. Previously used terms included ‘behavioural disturbance’, ‘problem behaviour’, mal-adaptive behaviour’, ‘aberrant behaviour’ and ‘behavioural abnormalities’. (Xeniditis, Russell & Murphy 2001)
In these times vulnerable children, young people and adults are dealing with increasing levels of stress and uncertainty in their lives. For many, each day is filled with anxieties arising from a history of poor life experiences and choices. These experiences can produce a variety of behaviours that disrupts their own lives and the lives of those around them.
Challenging behaviour is complex and forms a continuum………
Challenging behaviour is often exhibited by people with learning disabilities and conditions that affect their communication. When an individual lives with these disabilities how they express themselves or how they interpretate information they receive is often mis-understood leading to frustration and often conflict.
Professionals supporting this population face daily challenges when trying to balance the scales. Too often when providing support and guidance clients struggle to understanding consequences for their behaviour and society’s expectations, which can lead to clients being unable to engage with others, to fully participate or give ‘informed consent’.
Gaining the knowledge and skills to look behind the behaviour will better meet a client’s needs and better move them forward and out of the cycle confusion and isolation.
Siarad Da has developed a Behind the Behaviour training programme to meet the needs of those working with children and young people who exhibit challenging behaviour.