We solve many of our behaviour problems when we improve our general quality of life. Positive Behaviour Support creates a safe and predictable relational space where new skills and social behaviours can grow. It starts with you. What are your goals and needs, and what type of support do you need to get there?
How much choice and control do you have now? Are the people in your life able to communicate with you and give you the respect you deserve? Are you present and participating in every aspect of your life in your home and in the community? Are you able to pursue friendships and social involvements outside of your direct circle of support?
Behaviour Support Strategies
It could still be that you struggle to manage strong emotions, sensations or thoughts. Or maybe you struggle to communicate your needs verbally. Or maybe you have learned certain ways of getting your needs met that make yourself or other people feel unsafe. Positive Behaviour Support is about understanding the history and the current reason for the things you do, and working hard day after day to learn safer behaviours that fulfil the same need.
You and the people who support you, need to collect information. Behaviour Support is about analysing observations to check how often unsafe behaviours happen, and how severe each episode might be. This allows you to know if things are getting better with time. You can say, “I had a bad day yesterday, but I had 2 months without any scary behaviours before that… I am doing better now than I ever have.” You need a convenient, simple and customised data collection system–some people like to use a smartphone app developed just for them to chart their data.
While learning new safer behaviours, you need support from people who can rapidly meet your needs before things get too scary. You need people who can intervene early to give a supportive and calm response to prevent unsafe behaviour. And those people need to know how to keep you and themselves safe if the episode does escalate.
You need a set of Behaviour Support Plans to guide each of these processes, and people need to work with you to develop these plans. You need effective induction of new people, training and ongoing communication within your team.
Restrictive Practices and Safeguarding
You have the same rights as other people. If you are living with a disability it is possible that your support people may at some point restrict your free access to the things you own or want, give you medication without your consent, restrict your freedom to move and your freedom to access the community. In Positive Behaviour Support we seek to minimise or end restrictive practices. Wherever possible we develop with you, plans to safely fade the restrictive practice, and restore your rights. We watch the use of restrictive practices through Restricted Practices Authorisation (RPA) panels. All disability services must carry out an RPA process if they use any of the Restricted Practices, defined in the DADHC Behaviour Support Policy, 2009. The National Safeguarding framework will supersede this policy when the NDIS takes off.