Challenging Behaviour Definition

Challenging behaviour is defined as a range of actions that can put the person displaying the behaviour and those around them at risk of harm.

Behind every behaviour that challenges are unmet needs. For example, children and adults with learning disabilities may portray behaviours that challenge in crowded or noisy environments with a lack of choice in terms of social interaction.

It’s crucial to understand that individuals who portray these behaviours often have challenges communicating in neurotypical ways. Hence, this builds up frustration, and difficulty in expressing themselves effectively can leave people with feelings of isolation.

Challenging behaviour is complex, and it can manifest in various ways – as each individual is unique.

At Nurseline Community Services, we focus on an outcome-based approach together with our in-house PBS specialist to identify the unmet needs of your loved one and create a positive environment where they can learn healthy ways to communicate.

Types of Challenging Behaviour

Recognising the type of challenging behaviour and addressing it early on can immensely benefit the individual’s overall quality of life. What’s more, healthcare professionals, family members, or caregivers can develop proper strategies to manage emotions and build effective interpersonal skills.  

Physical Aggression

Physical aggression involves a set of actions that can cause physical harm to other individuals. This might involve actions such as:

  • Hair pulling
  • Throwing objects at other individuals
  • Punching
  • Pinching
  • Slapping

Individuals living with learning disabilities might portray these challenging behaviours as a way to draw attention, express frustration, or escape from a situation they don’t feel comfortable with.

These behaviours can cause significant harm to other individuals. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand challenging behaviour happens for a reason and that the individual expressing them requires guidance on how to communicate their needs in healthier ways.

Verbal Aggression

Any type of aggression induced verbally is a form of challenging behaviour. This might include:

  • Using offensive language
  • Using abusive speech
  • Screaming
  • Shouting
  • Name-calling

Verbal aggression might lead to emotional harm and conflict. Individuals portraying this type of challenging behaviour might direct verbal aggression toward their family members or loved ones, which can be immensely hard for the people on the receiving end. However, like other types of challenging behaviour, verbal aggression is rooted in the individual’s inability to communicate their needs effectively.

Hence, addressing this type of behaviour that challenges early on and developing proper care support strategies is paramount.  

Self-Harm Behaviour

Self-injurious behaviour refers to any actions that lead to individuals inflicting physical harm on themselves. These types of behaviours include:

  • Skin-picking
  • Head-banging
  • Hair-pulling
  • Eye-poking
  • Hand-biting
  • Self-induced vomiting

In some cases, individuals with learning disabilities might deliver this type of behaviour as a way to express their inner unease and cope with challenging emotions. What’s more, an individual might show this type of behaviour that challenges in order to:

  • To get someone’s attention
  • To get an object
  • To avoid doing something or to leave a place or activity
  • To get a sensory experience or feedback, such as touch, sound or movement
  • To express frustration or pain

This type of challenging behaviour can be immensely stressful for both individuals and their family or loved ones. Therefore, it’s essential to find proper and compassionate ways to redirect these behaviours and develop strategies that will replace them with healthier ways of expression.

Disruptive Behaviour

Disruptive behaviour manifests in learning environments and includes behaviours such as:

  • Disrupting other individuals
  • Refusing to take a seat
  • Refusing to follow instructions or participate in activities
  • Being too loud or talking over other individuals

When approaching disruptive behaviour, carers, educators, or family members should take a compassionate approach and try to find the underlying reason behind the actions.

Examples of Challenging Behaviour

Understanding challenging behaviour requires immense patience, empathy, and compassion. When discussing behaviour that challenges, it’s crucial to remember that each individual is unique. Therefore, challenging behaviours can manifest in various ways.

Challenging Behaviour in Children

In many cases, children tend to display behaviours that challenge in situations where their needs are unmet. What’s more, children might find it difficult to express challenging emotions, which leads to these types of behaviours.

Some children with severe learning disabilities might show challenging behaviours due to changes in their routines, stressors at school, or because they’re simply experiencing emotions they don’t know how to cope with. Hence, individuals require immense support from family members or caregivers to navigate their feelings and experiences. By providing a safe and comfortable environment, children might be able to reframe their behaviours with the help of proper care support.

Challenging Behaviour in Adults

Adults display challenging behaviour when their actions risk their own safety and the safety of others around them.

It is crucial to cultivate empathy for the underlying causes of the individual’s actions. For instance, if being in a larger social setting triggers anxiety and restlessness, the family members or caregivers should arrange for a more intimate gathering or offer personalised support. Recognising that these challenging behaviours also may serve as a means of seeking attention is vital.

Strategies for Addressing Challenging Behaviour

Addressing challenging behaviours requires a thoughtful and multifaceted approach aimed at promoting positive change and ensuring the well-being of the individual.

Communication lies at the heart of an impactful strategy. Creating an open and supportive dialogue allows individuals to express their needs and feelings, potentially preventing frustrations from escalating into challenging behaviours. Active listening and validating their emotions can foster a sense of trust and mutual understanding. In addition, offering alternative coping mechanisms is essential. Teaching individuals healthier ways to manage their emotions or stress can divert them from engaging in challenging behaviours. This may involve relaxation techniques, mindfulness practices, or engaging in preferred activities that provide an outlet for emotional expression.

Ultimately, a combination of these strategies tailored to the individual’s needs and preferences can contribute to a more positive and harmonious environment, fostering personal growth and improved behaviour management.

Positive Behaviour Support

Positive Behavior Support (PBS) is a cornerstone approach in managing challenging behaviours and promoting overall well-being for individuals with complex mental health needs. Its significance lies in its proactive and person-centred nature, which aims to understand the underlying causes of behaviours and develop strategies to address them constructively. By focusing on prevention and intervention techniques, PBS seeks to create a supportive environment that enhances an individual’s quality of life while reducing the occurrence of challenging behaviours.

At Nurseline Community Services, we recognise the immense value of Positive Behavior Support in facilitating the growth and well-being of people under our care. Our in-house Positive Behaviour Support specialists play a pivotal role in developing and implementing personalised behaviour support plans. What’s more, we collaborate closely with individuals and their families to create a harmonious and nurturing environment that encourages positive behaviours and enhances the overall quality of life. Through our commitment to Positive Behaviour Support, we aim to provide comprehensive and effective care that empowers individuals to thrive and reach their full potential.

Nurseline Community Services Applies Humanised Approach to Address Challenging Behaviour

At Nurseline Community Services, our goal is to provide people with mental health care needs with fast response, high-quality services and consistent care teams that lead to positive outcomes.

Our dedicated team of nurse-led clinicians has a deep understanding of challenging behaviour and is trained to approach any type of situation with immense compassion, empathy, and a result-driven mindset.

If your loved one’s quality of life is affected by challenging behaviour, our team can create an environment where they can identify the unmet needs causing these types of behaviours.

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