How to Identify Behaviours that Challenge

One way to identify behaviours that challenge is to observe whether an individual displays any behaviours that signal distress. You can also identify challenging behaviour by promoting open dialogue and active listening. Understanding and identifying behaviours that challenge is an ongoing process that requires a progressive approach. By encouraging individuals to express their thoughts and concerns freely, we can gain insight into their experiences and challenges. This progressive approach enables carers to recognise patterns and triggers that contribute to challenging behaviours, allowing them to respond with compassion and support.

Recognising the diverse range of individuals and their unique needs, this approach promotes inclusive environments that cultivate growth, understanding, and respect. Another essential aspect of identifying challenging behaviours is acknowledging the influence of systemic factors. Taking a progressive stance means understanding that societal norms, biases, and inequalities often shape behaviours. Examining the broader context in which a challenging behaviour occurs can uncover underlying issues contributing to challenges. This involves questioning the structures, policies, and cultural norms that may perpetuate exclusion, discrimination, or marginalisation. By doing so, we can work towards dismantling these barriers and creating an environment that fosters understanding, acceptance, and growth for all individuals, children, young people and adults.

What Can Behaviours that Challenge Include?

Understanding and addressing challenging behaviour is crucial for fostering inclusive and supportive environments. Challenging behaviour encompasses a range of actions in adults and children, such as challenges with temper, physically disrupting others (hitting or kicking), throwing objects, and self-harm, which can be detrimental to both the individual and those in their environment. Moreover, it hinders the ability to accomplish important aspects of daily life, such as forming connections and maintaining focus in educational settings. By actively promoting empathy, communication, and effective strategies, we can nurture personal growth and facilitate a more harmonious society for everyone involved.

Challenging behaviour can include:

  • Withdrawn Behaviours – excessive shyness, anxiety, engaging in rocking rhythmic body movements, gazing, aversion to attending school, and experiencing an increasing withdrawal from social interactions.
  • Disruptive Behaviours – calling out in class, temper challenges, and refusal to follow instructions (experiencing challenging behaviour in the classroom). Disruptive behaviours require patience and alternative strategies to foster positive engagement.
  • Challenging Social Behaviours – excessively displaying affection and engaging in inappropriate physical contact. These characteristics call for a supportive and educative approach to promote appropriate boundaries and social understanding.
  • Unsafe and Risky Behaviours – such as displaying aggressive tendencies, engaging in repetitive head movements that could cause self-harm, and destroying objects.

How to Deal with Challenging Behaviour?

When facing challenging behaviour as a caregiver, it is essential to approach the situation with empathy, patience, and effective communication. Firstly, it’s crucial to understand the underlying reasons behind the behaviour and address any physical or emotional needs. Active listening and providing reassurance can help establish trust and connection, and implementing consistent routines, clear boundaries, and positive reinforcement can promote a sense of security and stability. Collaborating with professionals, such as therapists or support groups, can provide valuable insights and strategies for managing challenging behaviour. Sometimes, behaviour that challenges can put people at risk, so carers need to intervene calmly and manage the situation using proactive techniques.

As a carer, recognising the warning signs of challenging behaviour can lead to preventing behavioural outbursts. For example, some children may experience challenging behaviour in the classroom and become anxious, feeling unease. Arranging an environment that could relieve their discomfort and enhance more positive behaviour would be a significant step for their emotional state and mental health. When adults with behaviours that challenge have difficulties managing their behaviour, it reflects as work disengagement, loss of control over daily routines, and struggle to communicate and connect with colleagues. Compassion and understanding can create an environment where people can develop healthier communication methods.

Carers must know the power of maintaining a compassionate mindset to deal with challenging behaviour successfully. Employing proactive strategies can foster good behaviour and a positive environment regarding mental health.

Behavioural Planning

Behavioural planning, such as implementing a behaviour support plan (BSP), is crucial for effectively addressing challenging behaviours exhibited by individuals, including children and adults. A behaviour support plan focuses on helping individuals develop positive behaviours that can replace or reduce challenging ones. The plan encompasses various strategies, such as teaching, improved communication, fostering relationships, and employing appropriate holistic interventions.

It is essential to first rule out any underlying health concerns, such as acute illness, pain, or discomfort, as these may contribute to the behaviour. Understanding that behaviours serve a purpose or unmet need necessitates a collaborative approach involving a team of individuals to gather information and develop insights into the behaviour. Once this understanding is established, specific interventions, strategies, and positive support can be devised based on the individual’s unique needs, considering their long-standing behavioural patterns and allowing for time, reinforcement, and encouragement for meaningful change to occur. 

For challenging behaviour in the classroom setting, effective behavioural planning plays a vital role in supporting children and adults to behave appropriately and learn in a conducive environment. By employing behaviour support plans, educators and support staff can effectively deal with challenging behaviours and create positive outcomes.

  • Teachers and professionals can employ targeted strategies to help individuals develop new, more constructive behaviours by identifying and understanding the purpose or function behind the behaviours. 
  • Establishing clear communication channels, fostering positive relationships, and providing the necessary support and interventions to promote positive behaviour change. 
  • Creating a supportive and inclusive atmosphere where individuals are encouraged to express themselves and engage in positive interactions rather than resorting to shouting or disruptive incidents. 

Behaviour support plans should be implemented with sensitivity, considering each person’s unique needs and circumstances. By focusing on specific behaviours, addressing the underlying causes, and implementing appropriate interventions, negative consequences can be minimised, and individuals can experience improvements in their behaviour, both within the school environment and in their everyday lives.

Strategies to Deal With Behaviours that Challenge

When faced with challenging behaviour, employing effective approaches that promote understanding, empathy, and positive outcomes becomes crucial. These strategies often involve establishing clear boundaries, implementing consistent and positive outcomes, utilising de-escalation techniques, fostering communication and collaboration, and providing support and intervention when necessary.

Carers often employ various strategies to effectively manage behaviours that challenge. These strategies are designed to promote the well-being of the individuals they care for and maintain a safe and supportive environment.

Providing a Calm and Soothing Environment

  • Creating a peaceful atmosphere with soft lighting, soothing music, or familiar scents can promote relaxation and reduce agitation.
  • Minimising environmental triggers such as noise, clutter, or excessive stimuli can help prevent overwhelming responses.
  • Offering a quiet space or sensory retreat where individuals can retreat and find comfort during moments of distress.

Establishing a Structured Routine

  • Creating a predictable daily routine can help individuals feel more secure and reduce anxiety.
  • Setting clear expectations for daily activities and transitions can minimise confusion and challenging behaviours.
  • Providing visual schedules or using timers can aid in maintaining a consistent routine.

Implementing Positive Reinforcement

  • Recognising and rewarding positive behaviours can encourage individuals to engage in desired activities.
  • Offering praise, tokens, or small incentives can motivate individuals and reinforce positive choices and interactions.
  • Focusing on strengths and achievements can boost self-esteem and foster a positive caregiving relationship.

Using Diversion and Distraction Techniques

  • Redirecting attention to alternative activities or interests can help defuse challenging behaviours.
  • Offering engaging tasks, hobbies, or sensory-based activities can redirect energy and minimise disruptive behaviours.
  • Employing humour, music, or familiar objects can divert attention and diffuse tense situations.

Role of Positive Behaviour Support in the Management of Behaviours that Challenge

PBS aims to create supportive environments that promote positive outcomes for individuals. It emphasises the use of proactive strategies to prevent challenging behaviours and teaches alternative, more adaptive behaviours. Through person-centred planning and collaboration with families, caregivers, and professionals, PBS empowers individuals by promoting their independence, dignity, and quality of life. By emphasising positive reinforcement and individualised strategies, PBS fosters a holistic approach to behaviour management, promoting long-term positive change and reducing restrictive interventions.

Nurseline Community Services creates personalised and specific behaviour support plans rooted in the principles of positive behaviour support (PBS) that target the identified behaviours and address the underlying purposes or needs they reflect.

Person-Centred Care for Reducing Behaviours that Challenge

The person-centred approach emphasises empathy, active listening, and collaboration with the person, their families, and the wider care team to co-create individualised care plans that address the root causes of challenging behaviours.

Person-centred care is a holistic approach aimed at reducing behaviours that challenge individuals by focusing on their unique needs, preferences, and aspirations. It recognises that behaviours that challenge often arise due to unmet needs, communication difficulties, or underlying conditions. When carers adopt this approach, they strive to understand the individual’s background, personal history, and current circumstances to identify triggers and develop tailored interventions. The focus should always remain on understanding the underlying causes of challenging behaviours, such as aggression or agitation. The person-centred care seeks to address them in a compassionate and tailored manner, establishing trusting relationships, actively involving the individual in decision-making and designing personalised care plans that promote their well-being.

Preventing Behaviours that Challenge

One of the most empowering ways to prevent behaviours that challenge is through positive behaviour support. PBS navigates people to put their mental focus towards actions and activities that will meet their needs and address their feelings, which helps reduce challenging behaviour and improve well-being.

When it comes to addressing and preventing behaviours that challenge in children, there are many intervention strategies, such as:

  • Well-Adapted Classroom Environment – the classroom should be designed effectively to increase engagement (visual monitoring, activity centres and smooth transitions among those activities) in order to decrease behaviour that challenges.
  • Implementing Routines – by implementing routines, caregivers provide a reliable experience that can reduce behaviours of distress.
  • Scheduling – schedules can help children get organised and reduce anxiety about activities and events. Building consistent daily schedules leads to decreased challenging behaviour.

Explore Factors and Conditions that Change Behaviour

Challenging behaviour can be related to many factors, and all behaviours happen for a reason. It’s important to find the reason for challenging behaviour, to reduce discomfort and help promote healthy communication. Some common factors that could influence the behaviour are:

  • Physical pain
  • Psychological factors, such as anxiety
  • Cultural factors
  • Environmental factors
  • Social factors
  • Sensory challenges
  • Workplace and classroom challenges
  • Behaviours of other individuals

In conclusion, there is no such thing as a ”single cause”, since challenging behaviour is often a result of multiple combined factors. To understand challenging behaviours, there should always be a calming strategy that can help adults and children feel safer and seek advice whenever needed.

Challenging Behaviour Management and Training

The most essential component for carers to effectively manage challenging behaviour is professional training. As we have already mentioned, one impactful management approach is the implementation of PBS. For instance, in schools, educators are continuously dealing with students who may be struggling with their behaviour, and it is crucial to act proactively in addressing these challenges.

Instead of solely focusing on punitive measures, teachers can search for opportunities to reward and acknowledge positive behaviours. By praising and incentivising desirable actions, students are more likely to internalise and apply these behaviours consistently in their daily interactions. This approach fosters a more positive classroom atmosphere and empowers students to take ownership of their actions and become active participants in their learning journey.

At Nurseline Community Services, we offer a free training program for our clinicians. This program equips them with valuable skills and knowledge to effectively manage challenging situations, ensuring the safety and well-being of the people we serve. By investing in this training, our clinicians can deliver high-quality care, promote positive interactions, and create a supportive environment for individuals with challenging behaviours.

How Our Clinicians at Nurseline Community Services Can Help

Our clinicians at Nurseline Community Servicesare committed to providing the highest quality care to individuals with behaviours that challenge. Their work is deeply rooted in positive behaviour support (PBS), a person-centred approach that focuses on understanding and addressing challenging behaviours compassionately and effectively. By implementing PBS strategies, we strive to identify the underlying causes of challenging behaviour through effective management plans and humanised consistent care. Through our compassionate and evidence-based approach, we empower individuals to overcome their challenges, enhance their independence, and lead fulfilling lives.

Contact us today for a personalised and outcome-based approach that prioritises the well-being of your loved one, leading to a more independent living. We deliver comprehensive services across the UK, with offices in Bristol, Birmingham and Gloucester.