Challenging behaviour

What Lies Beneath Behavior?

At Echo, we encourage adults to look beneath the behaviour of children and to understand ‘behaviour as communication.’        It may be that the child is choosing a way of communicating that is hard for you to deal with but that doesn’t diminish the fact that the behaviour is driven by some deep need or physiological response.        These behaviours are often punished and then we wonder why the child is “always getting into trouble” or “never learns!” when we haven’t dealt with the root cause of the behaviour.               Click icon for full article.

What a meltdown feels like

Fifteen people on the Autism Spectrum describe what a meltdown feels like.               For example,  It literally feels like my head is imploding.       Building up to it gets overwhelming, but an actual meltdown is just like … like your brain is ceasing to exist.

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fb35“If it feels like challenging behaviour it is challenging behaviour”.              “You do what you have to do to get through the day.        It’s not giving in, it’s coping.”      Geoff Evans.

Doc iconAmbitious about Autism has several well presented pages about behaviours you might encounter and how to handle them.                Click icon to view.

The Challenging Behaviour Foundation offers information and guidance to families & carers who have a relative with severe learning disabilities who display challenging behaviour.           They provide information sheets about understanding and finding the causes of challenging behaviour and a third about what they call Positive behaviour support plans.             Doc iconClick page icon for menu of information sheets and DVDs.            Click phone icon to find out about their phone and email service.              To find more of their resources click on:   Home        FAQs         Families        Information packs         All their resources.

Doc iconClick on the icon for information from the National Autistic Society (NAS) for a range of pages covering issues linked to behaviour.            They talk about causes and practical information.
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Doc iconMy Aspergers Child has a page with the title, Aspergers Panic Attacks Disguised As Meltdowns”.       It says,
“The physical symptoms they experience with an attack are just extreme versions of normal bodily responses to danger”.
It then points to possible treatments.        Click icon to view.

Doc iconNet Mums is a web forum and has many pages on the subject.     Search on  “challenging behaviour”  to browse the list.      The search box is at the top right of the page.      Net Mums includes sections on:   Toddlers     Pre-school    Primary school    Teenagers  an  On-line course  and a page on  Specific behaviours .           Click icon to view.

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Tony Osgood

Tony Osgood has had experience in development disability roles and now lectures for the University of Kent.            See: about            university              He says, I consider challenging behaviour to be, above all else, two things: complaining and communication.       It follows we must not work to eliminate but understand its meaning before deciding how to respond.            His Writings takes offers the reader a treasure trove of articles.

Why Rewards & Punishment Don’t Work

This is about defence mode.              I try hard to not be offended at their description and apparent assumption that I am not familiar with B.F. Skinner and behavioural psychology when I not only have a master’s degree and 25 years of experience working with kids with special needs, but have also reared a neuro typical child that is thriving.  

Be with that

Danny Raede has discovered for himself ways of understanding and coping with the difficulties he experiences as someone on the spectrum.           Be with that  is a handy idea and technique to help to cope when feeling overwhelmed.             See also website.

Sensory overload

This article is written by a parent and occuational therapist.                We, as parents and caregivers (and on-lookers!), need to remember that responding from a behavioral point of view is ineffective in these cases.         As adults, we need to remove the excessive or adverse stimuli, and we may need to take the child to a calm, quiet place.                   Click icon to view article.

ASD & Criminal Justice

These on-line guides for professionals when encountering someone with ASD may be of interest to parents as well.

Uniquely Human

In his book, Dr Barry Prizant has drawn on over forty years’ in working with autistic children and adults, and their families, to outline how the uniqueness of individuals with autism can be built on as, a different way to be human.                    He says, Rather than curb these behaviours, it’s better to enhance abilities, build on strengths, and offer supports that will naturally lead to more desirable behaviour and a better quality of life.                   See:  Amazon.

Thanks ‘cool guy’

Here is a story by a father about a plane journey one which a fellow passenger realized his son has autism.

Tips for calming things down

Doc iconHere is a well presented guide to handling meltdowns.
It offers 7 tips that seem to provide useful insights and may be worth a look.
Click icon to view.

Survival tips for meltdowns

Here are some self-preservation tips from an on-line life coach.              Her website also has an Aspie info page.            GAIN has no way of
knowing how effective her services via Skype are, though.

The voice of experience

Two autism mums have written in detail about how they experience their children’s meltdowns and what they think may be worth considering in order to help.                See:  The truth about my child’s meltdowns                What a meltdown feels like.                 See also:  humour.

Positive Behaviour support

This help sheet from Options Group introduces an approach that aims to work with the grain of the individual’s nature.                   Instead of focusing on reactive consequences and sanctions to try and force change, perhaps a bit like the Wind, we try and ‘proactively’ create the conditions that allow individuals to change in a way that is meaningful for them, a bit like the Sun.

A mother’s story

In her book George and Sam, Charlotte Moore writes about her experience of bringing up her sons and the challenges she faces.             George and Sam might be described as quite low functioning and they have contrasting personalities.             Her third son Jake is not autistic at all.            The book contains a lot of experience and insight.            The 2012 edition has been updated to cover George and Sam’s teenage years.                See:  Good Reads       Amazon.

After Winterbourne

After the scandalous revelations of abuse at Winterbourne View hospital a ministerial report set out the Department of Health response.                Five years  on, a BBC documentary has investigated whether progress has been made to get people with learning disabilities out of hospitals and into homes in the community.                While quite a few patients have been discharged a similar number have been admitted.               

Keeping people in the familiar surroundings of home while offering support seems to be considered the way forward.          The Challenging Behaviour Foundation outlines how this is supposed to work.        They have collected many links on best practice including their Time for Action report and an easy reading version.

Isolation rooms

Here is an article about alternatives to an isolation room.                 It could be handy to pass on to teachers or care professionals.

Crisis support training

Studio III offers training for care professionals to “support individuals with a range of behaviours of concern”.                 If their website is anything to go by, it is a reputable organisation.                 They talk about a low arousal approach for autism.                See:  training                 dates
Courses are advertised as being held in Alcester, which is south of Birmingham, UK.               The Studio 3 contact address is also in Alcester.

fb-meltdownAsperger’s & the law

Young people with Asperger’s may sometimes get into scrapes with the law.              Here is a detailed but readable article aiming to help the reader to understand better the relationship between Asperger’s syndrome & criminal behaviour.               They touch on a few recommendations to
improve things towards the end of the article:

  • Identify the needs of the young person
  • Identify triggers for behaviour that might get them into trouble
  • Social stories may help young people to understand the issues
  • Actions and reactions can be misunderstood by police etc.                 An ID card could help to reduce misunderstanding.                Canadda, based in Lincoln, can provide an ID card to GAIN members.                  See Neuro-diversity ID cards.                   See also Information under the Awareness cards heading.

The above article links to Preventing Autism Meltdowns.             At time of writing there is a video clip towards the bottom of the webpage, which provides a taster of what the site offers – but please note that it  is USA based and everything is priced in Dollars ($).

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GAIN logo - thumbnail Please be aware that we, at GAIN, are not qualified to give advice.                     See: disclaimer.

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