As part of my job role, I observe and manage challenging behaviour and use this knowledge to implement proactive strategies that can mitigate future similar behaviours. This is an ongoing process and involves constantly working with the individuals concerned to establish what works and what doesn’t and tweaking the strategies where necessary.
Proactive strategies are preferable over reactive strategies because their purpose is to prevent incidents of challenging behaviour, resulting in the avoidance of the negative repercussions that the behaviour may cause, thereby contributing to the individual’s well-being.
As an example, I work with an individual that has a history of superficial self-harm. When he first moved in, I spoke with him about ways we could prevent this behaviour from happening in the future and we agreed that all sharp implements that could cause him harm should be kept locked away and only accessed when necessary. This included kitchen knives, tools such as screwdrivers and his shaving razor. We also agreed on staff conducting a spot check of his bedroom each day to ensure there were no dangerous items in there. Since he moved in, there has not been an incident of self-harm, so this strategy is working well.
Another example is an individual I worked with that had auditory hallucinations which upset him and caused him to become aggressive towards people and property. Indicators that he was hearing unkind voices were that his head would drop and he would get an angry look on his face. Support staff would then ask him if he was hearing voices and then remind him that they were ‘talking rubbish’ and he could tell them to ‘get lost’. In around 90% of cases, this strategy would avoid episodes of violence.