If you work with children, especially those with special educational needs, or you have a family member with learning disabilities, you may have encountered the term “challenging behaviour”. This is a broad label, meant to describe a wide range of actions that may put the individual or those around them at risk. It can require a lot of understanding and coordinated effort to manage.
Types of challenging behaviour
The broad nature of the label means it can cover everything from verbal abuse to physical violence. Screaming, swearing and threats can all come under the heading of verbal challenging behaviour, as they may cause disruption and discomfort. Non-verbal forms of challenging behaviour may include trying to eat inedible objects, stealing things or showing inappropriate sexual behaviour. The most physical forms may include hitting, spitting, hair pulling and biting, as well as throwing and destroying objects. Challenging behaviour can impact parents, teachers, carers and health professionals as well as the individual.
Origins of challenging behaviour
Challenging behaviour may seem illogical to an outsider, but it is normally an attempt to express distress or discomfort without appropriate communication tools. Perhaps the person feels bored or neglected. They may be in pain or experiencing sensory overload. Unexpected changes to a routine or feeling that they have lost control may also cause a negative reaction. Sometimes it is simply that they have no other way to communicate what they want.
Managing challenging behaviour
A challenging behaviour training course can teach those involved in caring for individuals who display challenging behaviour the best ways to respond. An example might be the <a Tidal Training Challenger Behaviour Training Course. Managing challenging behaviour means first identifying its cause. It may be possible to resolve the issue simply by removing the person or object causing the distress, or by providing a source of stimulation or comfort to alleviate the overwhelming feelings.
To identify and manage challenging behaviour, you will need to be able to recognise early warning signs and establish effective alternative ways of communicating with the person when they cannot express themselves clearly. It takes patience, trust, and really paying attention to their needs. Positive reinforcement and clear boundaries can also help.
There are many complex aspects to challenging behaviour, and a personally tailored approach is often required to deal with the specific needs of each individual. Communication and calmness remain key at all times.