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• Is someone being hurt by this behaviour, i.e., the person
themselves, or someone else?
• Does the behaviour present the individual to the rest of
the community in a negative way?
• If this behaviour continues, will it push others away from
If the answer to these questions is ‘yes’ then it may be
important to think about meaningful ways to help the
individual address his or her behaviour.
To begin, we need to
know our histor y…
• In the past, people with disabilities did not live in
• Many people with disabilities were institutionalized
or were kept in their family’s homes, away from the
• As a society, we don’t have much of a history and
experience living with people who have a disability.
INSTITUTIONALIZATION AS THE
• Institutionalization began in the 1850’s and reached it
highest prominence in the 1970’s
• goals of training
• saw potential for people to be contributing members of
• Training was replaced with management and control by
• Institutionalization is a common experience shared by
people who live with a variety of disabilities
• This model still exists
WHAT DO WE MEAN BY “DEVIANT”
• A difference that is negatively valued by society
• If a person is seen to be “too different”, our response was
to institutionalize them.
• Since the decline of institutionalization in the late 1970’s, more
and more people with disabilities are living in community.
• Now, we are trying to create different, more inclusive ways to
respond to the behaviour a person my express.
• Society is learning to understand “difference”. This
takes time and we need to be aware that many people in
society are still familiar with the institutional approaches to
difference or, as some may say “deviance”.
OUTCOMES OF INSTITUTIONAL PRACTICES
• Management and control in the form of
“Professional Dominance” is still very common.
• Staff sometimes think their job is to make the decisions or
control the people they are meant to support.
• The impact of living in an institution is not easily forgotten.
• People experience long-term (often life-long) memories, fears
and trauma resulting from institutionalization.
• Expecting people to “get over it” is insensitive and unrealistic.
• Even when supported in community, people with disabilities
may continue to be negatively impacted by “institutional
mentality”, if their staff are focused on management and
Community Living – A new concept
• The predominant model of support since the 1980’s.
• In the grand scheme of things, that’s very recent.
• We are still learning how to live with people who have a disability, as
well as people who have a broad range of life experiences.
• Institutional models of control have followed people into community.
• When people left institutions, their behaviour plans came with them.
So, they were still living under control in the new setting of
community. There is evidence of this institutional mindset in our
residential and day services still today.
• This is meant to offer context and to help you understand why our
supports to people are still evolving. Change takes time. You have the
opportunity to be an important part of the change if you take these
course topics to heart.
The Nature of Behaviour
WHERE DOES BEHAVIOUR COME FROM?
• Nature vs. Nurture Debate
• Nature – a person’s behaviours are part
of who they are.
• Nurture – a person’s behaviours are
the result of their environment.What a
person experiences impacts them.
Each person may be impacted in unique ways.
• Social Context
• A range of ability and behaviour is to be expected in society (as
people, we have commonality and we are also unique).
• The disability lies within society’s inability to accommodate
The Intention Behind Behaviour
• Is the person intentionally doing something on purpose?
• If behaviour happens for a reason
and it is intentional, how do we view
– Does this happen by accident, is the person unable to
avoid this behaviour for some reason?
– Is the person unaware of the impact of their
WHAT IS THE REASON FOR THE
• Why is the person doing this?
• Do you feel the person is trying to bug you? “I just want this
• Do you want to know why the person is doing something in
order to help them?
• All behaviour is communication.
• There is a growing belief that all behaviour is a form of
• The person is trying to get their point across.They are not
trying to bug us.
• What happens if we respond? What happens if we ignore?
Considerations in Addressing
Hingsbuger, D. (1996). Behaviour Self.
Eastman, Quebec Diverse City Press
1. All behaviour communicates and those who wish to help people
with behavioural problems, must see behaviour as a legitimate
language that needs decoding.
2. Unethical programming occurs when a professional attempts to
program away a behaviour without understanding its meaning is
unethical. We don’t need to be right, but we need to have tried to
interpret the language.
3. When we design programs around someone’s behaviour we must
always leave the individual with a disability in more control of their
LIVES – not just their behaviour.
4. When a behaviour plan or program is unsuccessful, blame the
hypothesis (theory). Don’t blame the individual with a disability or
the support people.
Addressing Behaviour continued
5. People with disabilities are complex, just like people without
disabilities. They require a broad range of service options –
including a variety of support and therapies.
6. Medication is not bad – it should not be used to control a person
but to assist them with control.
7. Support personnel who try to understand behaviour may find
that the behaviour often communicates about an inappropriate
environment or inappropriate treatment. You may need to
become an advocate and speak up about what else isn’t working.
8. Don’t try to make everyone the same. Behavioural support is not
designed to make everyone the same. Using behaviour
technology to eradicate personal difference and personal choice
is an Aryan* concept.
Causes of Behaviour
Six Possible Factors to Explore,
Causes of Behaviour
1. Medical Factors – The individual may be experiencing a
physiological or medical condition.
2. Medication – The side effects of medications may lead to a variety
of atypical behaviours.
3. Psychiatric Factors – People with intellectual disabilities are
complex (just like everyone else). Some individuals may have both
an intellectual disability and an emotional or psychiatric disability.
This is sometimes described as a Dual Diagnosis. Often the
individuals we support are Survivors of traumatic experiences
Causes of Behaviour continued
4. Significant Life Changes – Changing places, changing roles, and
changing relationships are all significant live changes that can be very
difficult to cope with. The person may need time, support to feel
secure, assistance to develop coping skills.
5. Life Space Analysis – Examine whether the person is physically in
the ‘right’ place by asking Is this really where this person wants to live? Is
this the job or day program the person desires? Are these the people this person
enjoys being around?
6. Interactional Support – When someone is having a difficult time,
interaction with the people who care most about the person has a
tremendous impact. People with disabilities need an array of people
in their lives (not just professionals). Assist the person to build
connections with people who care about them.
W ho, W ha t, W hen, a nd W here of Behavi our
• Who is present when this behaviour occurs?
• Does the behaviour occur more often when a particular person is present?
• Is the behaviour directed toward anyone?
• What is happening when the behaviour occurs?
• What were other people doing at that time?
• What is happening when the behaviour does not occur or is less likely to occur?
• Examine when the behaviour does and does not occur
• Is there a time of day or during a certain part of daily routines when it happens?
• Within a certain activity, does it happen at the beginning or end or during transition?
• Where does the behaviour happen most often?
• Where specifically in this location does the behaviour occur (what part of the room)?
M otiva ti on a nd Unmet Need s
FOLLOW UP FROM CLASS
1.Create your journal reflection document and share the link
2.Write your journal entry for today’s class.
3.Spend some time choosing which Student-led Assignment
option you are going to submit. Complete one action to
get the assignment started.
4.Post a question for next week’s guest speaker.
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