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Challenging Behaviour

Challenging Behaviour

What Is It?

Challenging behaviour can be described as a behaviour that occurs frequently and can affect the physical safety of the person or those around them. This may have a big impact on someone being able to access school or social activities.

There is a much greater focus now on the challenges to those supporting a young person so that we view behaviour as an indication that something isn’t working and that someone may be having difficulty expressing their thoughts, feelings and wishes. A young person displaying these types of behaviours needs support and help to identify what’s going on from their perspective.

Different types of behaviour might include self-injurious (such as biting, head banging and hair pulling), being aggressive (hitting, spitting, kicking or throwing things), stereotyped (such as repetitive speech or movement, rocking) or non-person directed (withdrawal, damage to property or hyperactivity).

What Might Help?

  • Communication: Make sure the person feels valued and listened to. If they struggle with communication it’s important to find a way they can let you know what they feel, what they need and what they want.
  • Triggers: Look for and try to identify triggers that may be provoking or maintaining behaviours. This will help to intervene before a situation might escalate.
  • Be realistic and consistent: Make sure your expectations of a person are achievable and offer support and lots of praise for behaviours that are positive.
  • Seek professional help: If things are increasingly difficult and you need more support to understand and manage a behaviour that is challenging, you can seek advice through the GP. If they are receiving support from other agencies (such as a health visitor, social worker or other professional) ask them for advice and if a referral is needed to a specialist team in your area.

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