What is challenging behaviour?

Challenging behaviour can be expressed in a multitude of ways, each being unique to that particular individual. The term mainly describes behaviour often displayed by those with severe mental or learning disabilities.
It can often interfere with daily activities and social interactions making life challenging for close relations and loved ones as well as the individual themselves. Some behaviours that may be demonstrated include hurting others (hair-pulling/headbutting) hurting themselves (head banging, biting and other various methods of self-injury) destructive behaviours (throwing, breaking things) and other behaviours such as removing clothing, running away, and spitting.

Challenging behaviour and learning disability

Although challenging behaviour is not a disability in itself, those with severe learning disabilities are more likely to portray such behaviours. Behaviour deemed as challenging in those with disabilities normally stems from their need to communicate something. If left unchecked this behaviour can escalate, and it is not rare for some of these individuals to go on to face the criminal justice system in some capacity. Challenging behaviour can be an indicator of other arising issues, such as a deterioration in mental health for those affected with learning disabilities. Challenging behaviour can not only be harmful to the individual but to those around them, which is why it is imperative that such behaviour is dealt with swiftly and effectively.

challenging behaviour and learning disability

What causes challenging behaviour

There are a variety of reasons why some people exhibit challenging behaviour. Often these individuals demonstrate a lack of ability to communicate in neurotypical ways. This makes them prone to frustration, and their inability to express themselves effectively, can leave them with feelings of inadequacy as well as feeling estranged from society. It can also promote a deterioration in well-being when such symptoms escalate.

how to manage challenging behaviour

How to manage challenging behaviour

It is important to first ascertain the reason why the individual is displaying said behaviour. Is it a method of sensory stimulation? Or is it meant as a form of communication. Once you can identify the reason for them displaying these types of actions, you can then focus on healthier ways to communicate their needs. If a certain behaviour was implemented due to frustration and an inability to communicate effectively, we can look to identify better forms of communication in the future and we have also highlighted an issue with the client’s ability to rationalise and calm themselves down. By using techniques and props such as sensory lights, weighted blankets etc, we can look at methods of calming problematic behaviour.

How Leafcare supports challenging behaviour

At Leafcare we make it our priority to get to know each and every individual, their triggers, behaviours, and complex needs. Over time we can create tailor made plans and create better coping mechanisms that will not only promote the client’s sense of independence but also aid them in their future endeavours. To support challenging behaviour, you need to know the primary cause of the person’s actions. Getting to know the client is a key to success as well as encouraging them with positive reinforcement. We also look to Help them integrate into society through activities such as swimming, music and Art groups in a casual manner depending on level of capability. All of our staff are trained in challenging behaviour and have been familiarised with the relevant protocol to ensure the safety of all involved.