Just over a month ago, Joe Rafter, Director and Principle Trainer at Matter UK wrote a blog about the Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) of children and adolescents in a residential children’s home environment.
In the blog, he focused on the fact that most residential homes in the childcare industry are managing the behaviour of children in a way that may result in the continuation or escalation of the child’s risk-taking behaviour.
Furthermore, some of these approaches neglect the promotion of positive behaviour in a way that benefits the psycho-social development of the children. Managing directors of children’s residential care homes, like Joe, should be concentrating on increasing the quality of life of young people. This, in itself, has been proven to reduce occurrences of challenging behaviour and improve their psycho-social development.
Issues are continuously raised regarding recruitment of carers needing to be trained to a higher level to effectively support children. Especially those children with EBD. The question raised in the blog series was: ‘How is it possible to reduce challenging behaviours in children with EBD?’
The solution used by many care providers is restrictive physical interventions such as restraints. This prevents the children doing harm to themselves or anyone around them. However, this often means taking techniques used by the military and police and using them on children.
There has been a case highlighted by Joe where restraint was used resulting in the child dying from asphyxia. Is this acceptable and are social care leaders doing enough to give a variety of pro-active and preventative measures to care workers, before a restrictive physical intervention is required as a last resort?
Matter UK can help in this regard.
The way to reduce challenging behaviour is to pro-actively support the child in the way we;
(a) communicate with the child
(b) the attitudes we hold towards the child
(c) the responses we give to the child and
(d) the environment we provide for the child
These pro-active steps can be taken long before the child is likely to display challenging behaviour. Therefore, the reactive strategies which should be used by staff, once the child’s behaviour has escalated to a point where they have lost control, are rarely needed.
Instances where reactive strategies need to be used, tell us that the pro-active steps taken by staff were not sufficient. If we support the needs, thoughts, wishes and feelings of the child we decrease the likelihood of challenging behaviour from occurring. Thus, decreasing the need for reactive strategies such as restrictive physical intervention.
This goal can be achieved through developing what is known as a Therapeutic Community. Read more about how Joe and his team achieve this at their residential children’s home, in this insightful blog written by Richard Jones (Forensic Psychologist in Training): What does it mean to be a Therapeutic Community?
You can also catch up on our blog series which focuses on the values, theory and the process of PBS. Here, we discuss the benefits of the theory compared to the management of behaviour among children in the care system:
Joe also offers up a prediction regarding the prevalence of PBS in the future of the industry.