Many people ask, what is behaviour support? At the most basic levels, therapeutic behaviour support provides assessment and practical options for assisting with behaviours of concern. Naturally, we ask, what are concerning behaviours? In common sense terms, these are anything that people do that causes high levels of concern – such as self harming, other harming, high risk, and socially concerning or difficult behaviours.
All behaviour support includes a functional behaviour assessment. This comes in various forms, and depending on the practitioner’s experience and expertise can involve a wide range of observations, interviews, file review, data collection, and assessment tools.
Beyond the basics within behaviour support itself, there are other practical areas that are worth our attention. For example, social relationships, daily activities, level of physical activity, sleep patterns, medications review, healthy eating, diet, and nutrition.
In this day and age of rising expectations around measures for quality of life and its natural and obvious sidekick, holistic (or whole-istic) health, why should behaviour support and therapy among people with behaviours of concern be any exception? Holistic health considerations are part and parcel – or should be – for most practical reviews. If we actually apply the United Nations standards for people with disabilities, we clearly ought to include holistic and allied health principles and practices that are now commonly part of most people’s lives.
This comes up often these days in many of our reviews. Particularly with the new NDIS Commission behaviour support standards, along with the new NSW behaviour support guidelines for review of medications. These emerging frameworks that came to light during 2018 ask everyone to step up to the challenges of human rights standards in terms of access, quality measures, and providing as comprehensive and holistic a service-perspective as possible.
We welcome these necessary applications of the UN human rights frameworks and are excited to be a part of this movement within Australia. For our part, as behaviour support specialist counsellors and psychotherapists, we can apply holistic human ecological and cultural principles and practices across a wide range of therapy methods. These specialist approaches enhance and provide depth, scope, and quality to traditional behaviour support practices.
It is also a great delight and honour, on behalf of our clients, to collaborate with health, medical, psychiatric, and allied health practitioners towards integrative models of care. In many ways, the NDIS environment has created these quality-based opportunities for experienced practitioners to advance our methods of service that ultimately give greater choice and control to NDIS participants.