This mini-series will explore the nature of behaviour support practices.

First up, what the heck is behaviour support? That sounds so “formal”! So “uptight!”

Well OK.

Demystify Me #1

Behaviour support is about helping a person whose behaviours are at a level of intensity, frequency, or duration that they threaten quality of life and/or physical safety. This danger might exist for the person or for others. The responses of family, community, or support people to the behaviour may lead to restrictions being placed on the person. The responses might lead to avoidance or result in exclusion of the person. To prevent or reduce these kinds of responses, behaviour support seeks to provide positive person-centred solutions.

But this is all too complicated~! Yes… you are right.

What is behaviour then?

To me, behaviour is relationship. You relate to me. I relate to you. We have behaviours.

Our behaviour is our relating to each other. One way or other!

So if all behaviour is relating to each other, then why focus on the person with “behaviours of concern?”

Ah! Wow! Too cool for school !!!

The “concern” when someone is “going off their head” usually focuses on the person. They are doing something wrong, or bad, or notty, or just plain annoying…

But reality is, whenever someone is relating there are two or more people involved. All behaviours of concern happen in relationship to others – even behaviours that happen for someone who is alone in their own room. Say for example, a person who likes to eat their finger nails until they bleed. They do this in their room alone. This is a concern for the others who care about their health and well being. So all behaviours of concern are relational in some way or other.

So now we see the “concern” is really about everyone else plus the person doing the behavior. The “concern” is how can our relationship support the person to reduce or change their behaviour into new more resourceful ways of relating.

Now. When you read the definition of behaviour support above, pull out the word “helping.” Make this big: “HELPING!!!!!! HELPING!!!!!! HELPING!!!!!”

Behaviour support is about helping, creating solutions, and nurturing human relationships. In our way of thinking this is pretty darn important.



Behaviour Support: Policy and Practice Manual Part 1, NSW Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care, 2009