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PBS Festival 2019 encourages positive approach to behaviour that challenges

One-day open-air event encourages new thinking about positive behaviour support and attracted practitioners and people with learning disabilities and their families

One-day open-air event encourages new thinking about positive behaviour support and attracted practitioners and people with learning disabilities and their families


Festival director Lynsey Way adds her message to the pledge wings panel, which determines
positive behaviour support structures for care management groups 
Picture: Chris Balcombe

Positive behaviour support (PBS) is a person-centred framework which aims to support people with learning disabilities and/or autism by understanding their behaviour and developing strategies to improve their lives and those of their families.

Health Education England’s Key messages about positive behaviour support outlines what PBS is and how it can be used long-term with those at risk of developing behaviours that challenge. 

HEE was one of the listed sponsors of September’s PBS Festival 2019, a one-day event held in Hampshire, which attracted 200-plus practitioners and people with learning disabilities and their families. The day included demonstrations and talks in yurts, as well as outdoor activities, such as a gnome hunt and five-a-side football tournament. Fancy dress was optional.


Activities included a five-a-side
football tournament
Picture: Chris Balcombe
 

'Challenging behaviour' gets used as a label

In the Talking Tent yurt, Jonathan Beebee, nurse consultant and director of PBS4 – a non-profit social enterprise supporting people with learning disabilities and behaviour that challenges using PBS interventions – says an important part of dealing with behaviour that challenges is to work out what is behind it. 

‘Challenging behaviour gets used as a label, for example: “Peter has challenging behaviour”. It’s not that Peter is challenging, but that you are challenged by Peter’s behaviour,’ says Mr Beebee.

‘If you do not understand the motivation behind the behaviour that challenges, you don’t know what’s going on.’

He adds: ‘If someone wants attention, give them attention.’

‘Challenging behaviour gets used as a label, for example: “Peter has challenging behaviour”. It’s not that Peter is challenging, but that you are challenged by Peter’s behaviour’

Jonathan Beebee, nurse consultant and director of PBS4


Jonathan Beebee, nurse consultant
and director of PBS4
Picture: Chris Balcombe

In the Think Hut yurt, a team from Bristol discuss how to identify behavioural problems at an early age.

Lucy Gwillim, senior learning disability nurse in child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) at Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, describes how a multi-agency approach is curbing unnecessary referrals to overburdened CAMHS.

New behaviour management tools

The team set up a forum to work with specialist learning disability schools in Bristol to identify difficult behaviour at a pre-clinical stage. Working with teachers the pupils’ needs are assessed, then recommendations are made to school staff for necessary interventions.

The forum has succeeded in reducing the number of referrals and helping to give special school teams new behaviour management tools.


    Ricki Callow, service lead at
    Havencare, with practice leader
    Kelly Avery. Picture: Chris Balcombe

    ‘As time has gone on, the children we are seeing are younger, which is fantastic. What we want is to be working with children at a younger age,’ says Ms Gwillim.

    The difference PBS can have is spotlighted when Kelly Avery, practice leader and trainer at Havencare – a charity in south west England supporting people with learning disabilities and autism – describes her work to help service user Liam, who has autism and severe learning disability, and is now in a supported living flat.

    ‘Liam came to Havencare around 18 months ago and many previous placements had broken down due to the intensity of his challenges,’ says Ms Avery.


    Festival co-director Adele Carter 
    took part in the gnome hunt 
    Picture: Chris Balcombe

    ‘There was a lot of behaviour that challenges towards staff, as well as property damage. Our main priority was to recruit the right team to help deal with the challenges.

    ‘We started off trying to implement incremental changes into Liam’s daily activities and putting a regular staff team in place. Liam finds it hard to build friendships so you can’t put just any staff member in with him, you have to build up the team.

    Core team trained in positive behaviour support and physical intervention

    ‘The intensity and the frequency of Liam’s behaviour that challenges has dropped dramatically over the past 12 months. That’s because we have that core team in place to help him,’ says Ms Avery.

    ‘The whole team has been trained in PBS and physical intervention.’

    Back in the Talking Tent yurt, a presentation by Loddon School shows how green screen technology used in the film industry has been adapted to support children who are highly anxious.


    Michael James (right) and David
    Anderson of the Loddon School
    Picture: Chris Balcombe

    The school in Hook, Hampshire, caters for children aged 8-19 who can no longer live at home because of their exceptional support needs.

    Green screen technology is great medium for participation

    Lead teacher of the school’s arts department, Michael James, describes how pupils who cannot cope with the demands of live performance can still take part in school shows.

    ‘Green screen is such a great medium for participation,’ he says.

    ‘Because of the anxieties of the school’s young people, it can be hard for them to take part, but the green screen ensures everyone is involved.’

     


    Anne Horner is a health writer


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