Challenging behaviour is defined as behaviour(s) of such an intensity, frequency or duration that the physical safety of the person or others is likely to be placed in serious jeopardy. 

It can also be behaviour which is likely to seriously limit use of, or result in the person being denied access to, ordinary community facilities.

People with a learning disability and challenging behaviour are highly at risk of their challenging behaviour being attributed to internal causes. This is unhelpful, and we should instead look at the situations and events outside the person to effectively support them.

Why do people display challenging behaviour?

Challenging behaviour always has a function for the person. It is essential to understand what purpose the behaviour serves so we can respond in constructive ways, making things better for everyone.

When do people display challenging behaviour?

Challenging behaviour rarely occurs ‘out of the blue’. There are always links between the behaviour and what happens before (antecedents) and after it (consequences). Understanding how these are related helps us identify the function of the behaviour and has direct implications for how we respond to it.

How we support people with challenging behaviour

We use Positive Behaviour Support to support people whose behaviour is challenging, using a range of recognised tools to understand the relationship between challenging behaviour, other aspects of the person’s life and environment, and developing better ways of supporting the person into the future. These include:

  • Proactive strategies: changing the person’s environment and the ways that we communicate with them, changing staff attitudes and reducing risky situations
  • Reactive strategies: responding effectively to the behaviour when it happens through things like reassurance and distraction

To find out more how we support people with challenging behaviour, read our detailed leaflet:

Download our leaflet on Positive Behaviour Support

Get support

To find out more about being supported by United Response, please use our online form to make a support enquiry.

Make a support enquiry

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