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There are many potential reasons or combination of reasons for challenging behaviour. In some cases the reasons may be quite simple – a person cannot cope with crowds so runs away. Or there may be a complex mix of factors involved.
Challenging behaviour is not the same as psychiatric disturbance. A mental health problem may exist and this should be explored by appropriate professionals. Communication difficulties can have significant impact on diagnosis.
In most people who have severe learning difficulties, these behaviours are not premeditated and are not designed to upset. However, the emotional response they create in us tends to make us think that the person is deliberately trying to ‘wind us up’ or that they ’are only doing it for attention’.
When confronted by some form of challenge, it’s always worth stepping back and asking yourself - why does this person need to go to all the effort of showing this behaviour? What’s going on from their point of view that makes them need to do this?
Some people will show only one form of challenging behaviour whereas in others, 'clusters' of behaviours are evident. For instance, aggression, outburst and destructiveness may occur together.
Read tips on managing behaviour.
Tips from parents and professionals who have experience of challenging behaviour
By Noel Janis-Norton, learning and behaviour specialist, parenting advisor & author
We're currently working to produce an informative tips page aimed at helping parents and carers of children and adults with complex needs to deal with difficult and challenging behaviour.
My name is Will Chadwick and I work as the Behaviour Specialist, managing the challenging behaviour support team at Beaumont College in Lancaster.
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