Let's talk about challenging behaviours
Sometimes people can behave in ways that challenge us and sometimes it’s hard to work out the causes. Challenging behaviour can include but is not limited to consistent aggression, self-injury/harm, running away, distress and anxiety.
It has been said that all behaviour is a communication. When behaviour impacts the person’s everyday activities, their families wellbeing and having a good quality of life then maybe some extra support maybe useful.
For example this could be a behaviour they do a lot which causes both themselves and those around them to become very upset and may even lead to injury. Or it could be issues around sexuality, privacy, sensory. Looking for the communication in challenging behaviour is the key.
If the person you support or care for yourself and your family, whānau and aiga are affected negatively by this behaviour then maybe seeking some support and guidance maybe useful.
What is Behaviour Support
Behaviour support is about supporting disabled people and their whānau and allies to find positive ways to communicate and find strategies to reduce or eliminate harmful behaviour.
These individualised strategies, also known as positive behaviour supports, include preventative and reactive strategies that are in response to the individual person’s needs, and try to reduce and stop the behaviour and or the need for the use of any restrictive practices whilst helping the person develop the skills they need to no longer do the challenging behaviour to have their needs met.
It is fair to say that the reasons for challenging behaviour can be many so helping a disabled person to not engage in it is not just about managing the behaviour itself, but it’s also about for example: skill development, learning to communicate their needs, managing their emotions and much more.
Behaviour Support funded by our Ministry
Explore Services has the contract with our Ministry and they work with people who have challenging behaviours as described above. Our behaviour support services are based on the Positive Behaviour Support model, which aims to improve a person’s quality of life and the quality of life of those around them.
To access Ministry funded Behaviour Support you must first contact your Needs Assessment Service Coordinator for a referral to Explore. You should hear from them within 21 days of the referral with a date to meet with you. The waitlist for these services can be long so best to talk to your NASC about this and other supports that may be available. They may be able to direct you to other resources or support groups which can help you immediately.
Where else can you go for help
There are many online resources, forums and groups you can connect with for help with Challenging Behaviours. Its important to remember that shared experiences of other families who are going through what you are going through or have deployed strategies in the past that worked for them maybe a great way to get the support you need.
- Good online resources can be found on the Altogether Autism external URL and the Autism New Zealand external URL websites which you can also call for advice. They are not only relevant to autistic supports and worth a look.
- First Port, external URL is another great website set up by Enable NZ and who has some excellent resources and connections to support groups.
- Parent to Parent external URL is another good place for parents to find support, workshops, sibling support groups and events.
- Spectrum Care external URL provide training for support workers under the Positive Behaviour Support framework.
Social media forums, for example on Facebook can be another source of help.
If you know of other places people can go for support which we haven't featured on our website we would love to hear from you firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking for urgent help?
It is never ok to feel like you or your disabled person is in serious harm or danger. If you have an emergency situation where you feel the life of a person you care for is in danger or is a serious threat to others, please do not hesitate to call one of the following: