Whole team approach to challenging behaviour
People with a disability are more likely to display behaviours that challenge others. As a charity, National Star invests heavily in training staff to provide person–centred, individual support so that we can improve the lives of those in our care.
Behaviours that challenge others are almost always a form of expression, a way of telling others something that may indicate an unmet need. Our experienced staff would say there is no single cause for challenging behaviour.
Environment, relationships with others, discomfort or frustration can all cause an episode of behaviours that challenge.
Since being in the care of National Star one former student, now long–term resident Caroline, has learnt how to manage her own behaviours that challenge, recognising that she needs a safe space to be calm and manage her frustrations.
Care and support staff and residential teams are given quality time to get to know the people they’re supporting. They focus on understanding how a student or resident communicates their needs and wishes and report every episode of behaviours that challenge so that we can learn from them going forward.
Caroline’s experienced support team recognise the triggers to her behaviour and support her to access a sensory space to relax.
At National Star we are fortunate to have many highly experienced specialists, including positive behaviour support practitioners, talking therapists, music therapists, drama therapists and clinical psychologists, who are part of our Emotional Wellbeing Service.
They are lynchpins in the multi–disciplinary teams of speech and language therapists, residential teams, key workers, occupational therapists, personal learning co–ordinators, tutors and physiotherapists, who work together to lower the likelihood of a student’s challenging behaviour.
Our whole team approach is making a significant difference to students, residents and their families. Many parents now feel more confident in taking their young people out for a meal or shopping in a crowded town centre for the first time. They are enjoying inclusive family life that many of us take for granted.
The family of one former student, Tallulah, was told by many colleges that they could not accept her because of concerns for her safety. But during her three years at National Star the team learned to understand what triggered her behaviour so that Tallulah could enjoy a life similar to other young people, going out for family meals and enjoying pop concerts.
‘Her life is so much better than we dared hope,’ said Tallulah’s parents, Maggie and Peter.
‘If you had told us that our daughter would socialise with others and simply be a young woman like anyone else her age, we would never have believed you,’ they added.