“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
– Stephen R. Covey
At LifeLift, our focus is on ensuring those we care for can live with dignity and freedom.
Our NDIS registered therapists are equipped to handle even the most challenging situations, putting a focus on positive behaviour support first.
We believe person-centred care is optimal care and prioritise this in all support situations.
“Behaviours of concern”: Our Approach
‘Behaviours of concern’ – also known as ‘challenging behaviour’ or ‘behaviour that challenges’ – refers to behaviours exhibited by people with disabilities that can be perceived as difficult, unusual, challenging or, at times, dangerous.
At LifeLift, we consider these behaviours as ‘behaviours of concern’, rather than challenging behaviour, as the former frames the situation from a perspective of care and compassion ie. that the behaviour is something our team should be concerned about.
Our therapists are committed to looking at the underlying needs a person in our care is trying to communicate through their behaviour, with a view to respectfully supporting the client.
Rather than simply focusing on how to stop the behaviour of concern, or assuming a person is being deliberately challenging, LifeLift prioritises understanding the purpose of the actions and/or what a person is trying to tell us through their behaviour.
In these situations, it is important to note that all behaviours have a function.
When we say a behaviour has a “function” we basically mean the reason the behaviour occurs in terms of what it gets the person (e.g. gets them attention or gets them out of having to complete academic tasks in class) and a functional behaviour assessment allows everyone involved with the person to understand this reason.
This compassionate and holistic approach allows for true support to be given to meet the underlying needs of our clients. It also aims to stop people being excluded from activities due to their behaviours, by seeking to address the cause of them.
“Behaviours of concern”: An Overview
Behaviours of concern can include what people say and do, and can be varied but may include hitting, biting, breaking things, swearing, running away, etc.
It may also involve engaging in appropriate behaviours at inappropriate times (ie. yelling at an exciting football game may be appropriate and yet inappropriate at the library and hiding during a game may be appropriate but not while out shopping).
A behaviour becomes ‘of concern’ when it is a problem for the person or others around them.
Many factors need to be considered, such as where the behaviour is happening, how intense it is, and how regularly it’s engaged in.
LifeLift’s team understands behaviour can be caused by social, physical, emotional and environmental factors.
Internal factors: emotions, past experiences and traumas, thoughts, physical health conditions, mental health challenges, being hungry or tired, being unable to perform a task they want to do.
External factors (also known as environmental factors): sounds, smells, the weather, the people in proximity to us, an inability to obtain items we want and need, boredom etc.
Behaviour as Communication
When behaviours of concern are viewed as deliberate or unnecessary, the person doing them may be inappropriately supported, often exacerbating the behaviours and negatively impacting their quality of life.
Our therapists are trained in seeing behaviour as communication. They know all behaviour means something and are focused on seeking to understand what the person engaging in the behaviour of concern is trying to tell them.
If a person is engaging in a particular behaviour over and over, it is clearly meeting a need of some type. For example, the client may be too hot, angry, tired or over-stimulated, for example, and we may need to help them to eat, cool down, listen to their upset, or move them out of an overwhelming environment.
LifeLift places the person at the core of decision-making, and our support is culturally sensitive and family centered, where appropriate.
Our support aims to have a positive impact in the short and long term, rather than opting for quick fixes or simply stopping a behaviour without deeply considering its purpose.
LifeLift Functional Behaviour Assessments
Functional Behaviour assessments, carried out by our experienced and friendly therapists (our team comprises, psychologists, occupational therapists and social workers and speech therapists), can help to understand and prepare for the occurrence of behaviours of concern, so clients can be supported in the best possible way.
These assessments can identify where people need more support to make daily living tasks easier, which can be a trigger for behaviours of concern.
It will also monitor how a person is engaging with their environment in various situations and seek to observe what may be contributing to any behaviours of concern, so they can be addressed.
The focus of Functional Behaviour Assessments is to allow clients to live independently and with more dignity.
Need more information?
Ten Positive Behavior Support Strategies to Support Families at Home – Association for Positive Behaviour Support.
Schedules of Reinforcement – by Educate Autism
Positive Reinforcement – by Educate Autism
Negative Reinforcement – by Educate Autism
Token Economy – by Educate Autism
Extinction Procedures – by Educate Autism
Support for challenging behaviour
Intellectual Disability Behaviour Support Program Resources – University of NSW.
Foundations of Positive Behaviour Support films – form part of the NDS Zero Tolerance initiative. A series of vimeo links; a useful resource for staff training and induction and whilst they are primarily targeted towards Disability Support Workers, they are suitable for a wide-ranging audience.
What is Positive Behaviour Support – Autism Spectrum Australia.
An introduction to PBS – An Introduction to PBS is a short animation – just six minutes long – that gives an overview of PBS and how PBS approaches work in practice when supporting an individual (BILD).
NDS Zero Tolerance – an initiative led by NDS in partnership with the disability sector. It assists disability service providers to understand, implement and improve practices which safeguard the rights of people they support. Built around a national evidence-based framework.
The Association for Positive Behaviour Support Australia – aims to improve the access to and scope of PBIS (Positive Behaviour Interventions and Support) implementation across Australia.
The Association for Positive Behaviour Support (APBS) – Its Mission: “Enhance the quality of life of people across the life-span by promoting evidence-based and effective positive behavior support to realize socially valid and equitable outcomes for people, families, schools, agencies, and communities.” Has an Australian network.
What-is-your-childs-Challenging-Behaviour-trying-to-tell-you: A guide for families. – This guide is for parents, family members and carers who are worried about their child’s/family member’s behaviour. For the sake of readability we will refer to ‘parents’ and the child as ‘your child’ throughout the resource. https://ddwa.org.au/resources/.
Positive behavioural support for adults with intellectual disabilities and behaviour that challenges: an initial exploration of the economic case. Iemmi, Valentina, Knapp, Martin, Saville, Maria, McLennan, Kathy, McWade, Paul and Toogood, Sandy (2015) International Journal of Positive Behavioural Support, 5 (1). pp. 16-25.
Practice Guide No1 – QLD Centre of excellence – What is positive behaviour support? (Centre of Excellence for Clinical Innovation and Behaviour Support, August 2018).
The efficacy of PBS with challenging behaviour – LaVigna, G & Willis T. Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability. July 2012
Behaviour Support and the Use of Medications: a guide for practitioners – Intellectual Disability Behaviour Support Program (2018) Behaviour Support and the use of medication, guide for practitioners. UNSW Sydney.
Understanding Behaviour Support Practice Guide Children to 8 years of age – Dew, A., Jones, A., Horvat, K., Cumming, T., Dillon Savage, I., & Dowse, L. (2017). Understanding Behaviour Support Practice: Young Children (0–8 years) with Developmental Delay and Disability. UNSW Sydney.
Understanding Behaviour Support Practice Guide Children 9-18 – Dew, A., Jones, A., Horvat, K., Cumming, T., Dillon Savage, I., & Dowse, L. (2017). Understanding Behaviour Support Practice: Young Children (9-18 years) with Developmental Delay and Disability. UNSW Sydney.
Positive Behaviour Support Working together to make things better – A document in easy read about Positive Behaviour Support to use when working with people with learning disabilities (Centre for the Advancement of Positive Behaviour Support).
Positive Behaviour Support …and why it should be included in service specifications – Easy read document by Tyzard Centre.
What is Positive Behaviour Support? – This animated video produced by the Centre for the Advancement of PBS at BILD gives a very helpful overview of PBS and how PBS approaches work in practice when supporting an individual.
Centre for the Advancement of Positive Behaviour Support (CAPBS) – BILD UK. A wealth of PBS resources including videos.
What is Functional Behaviour Assessment? – by Educate Autism
Information sheets on challenging behaviour and PBS: The Challenging Behaviour Foundation