Challenging Behaviour by
Carol Jennings, PDSG
Along with the obsessions, speech problems and strict routines, the main
challenging behaviours are aggression and disinhibition.
Working on the premise that ‘prevention is better than cure’ it is
useful to look for the triggers for this behaviour. Can we determine a
- Medical: these
Reaction to medication and infections e.g. urinary or respiratory
The most important factor is identification of pain.
This includes anything that attacks the senses:
Too much noise or too many people
Intrusion of personal space
Frustration due to change of routine
Lack of communication
Loss of impulse control
The need to control often hiding incompetence with accusations
Trying to get own way or attention
Making matters worse
It helps if the carer is not confrontational and does not take personal
offence or raise their voice. Hurrying or crowding heightens feelings of
threat and alarm. Also avoid reacting to their abuse, trying to reason
with them – they can’t, or trying to make them do something they don’t
want to do.
Dealing with the
of aggression and disinhibition is helped by the following skills:
- Staying calm,
respecting personal space and reassuring.
- Keep a sense of
- Refocus – perhaps
with a change of subject or treat.
- Keep decision making
to a minimum.
- Try to find
purposeful activities, exercise.
- Allow flexibility of
routines, behaviour, and desires.
behaviour happens. We may not be able to stop the problem but we can;
i) Try to be aware
of the triggers
ii) Never argue -
assure a feeling of safety by consistency and continuity
iii) Walk away, try
later, and be flexible.
back to list