By Kasha Bedford (Principal Psychologist)
Behaviour support is about creating positive individualized strategies for people with a disability that are engaging in challenging behaviours. Challenging behaviours are defined as any behaviour that puts them or those around them (such as their families, peers and or carers) at risk, or leads to a poorer quality of life. These behaviours can also impact their ability to engage in everyday activities. Challenging behaviour can include but are not limited to non-compliance, aggression, self-injury, absconding. These individualised strategies, also known as positive behaviour supports, include preventative and reactive strategies that are responsive to the person’s needs, and attempt to reduce and eliminates the behaviour and or the need for the use of any restrictive practices whilst helping the person develop the skills they need to no longer engage in challenging behaviour to have their needs met. It is not just about behaviour management, but on skill development, learning to communicate, managing emotions and much more.
Behaviour support focuses on evidence-based strategies and person-centred supports that address the needs of the person with disability and the underlying causes of behaviours of concern, while safeguarding the dignity and quality of life of people with disability who require specialist behaviour support.
HOW IS BEHAVIOUR SUPPORT FUNDED BY THE NDIS?
Many NDIS participants receive funding in a number of support categories in their NDIS plans. One such category is the Capacity Building Category. Behaviour Support services are provided in the Capacity Building – Improved Relationships category. Within these categories there are a number of subcategories:
Capacity Building – Improved Relationships:
Specialist Behaviour Supports
Behaviour Management Plan
A participant may receive funding in one or both subcategories. The Specialist Behaviour Support category is used to gather information and develop an appropriate evidenced based behaviour support plan for the participant. The Behaviour Management Plan is used to support implementation and monitor the plans effectiveness with all stakeholders involved.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PSYCHOLOGICAL THERAPY AND BEHAVIOUR SUPPORT SERVICES?
Behaviour support services are very different to ongoing allied health therapy services. Funding in this area is not for your child to come in and have ongoing therapy on a weekly fortnightly or monthly basis.
Support is a more intensive and specialised support aimed at the completion of a thorough behavioural assessment. An initial consultation is completed with your clinician to complete all the required paperwork (consents, service agreements, risk assessments, treatment plan) prior to proceeding with the referral. Our clinician will then meet with the client, family, carers and any other service providers to gather specific information about the behaviours of concerns. Additional information will also be gathered regarding aspects of a person’s life – medical history, communication, adaptive behaviour, likes and dislikes, other professionals involved, schooling, etc. Assessment questionnaires and data collection may also be completed. This is what behaviour support practitioners call a functional analysis. This information gathered will inform a Behaviour Assessment Report which will identify the function of behaviours and outline the relevant recommendations for future intervention. As a result a Behaviour Support Plan will be developed which incorporates these recommendations for the family, carers and or implementing providers. The Behaviour Support practitioner will continue to support the family / carers and implementing providers to monitor and review the effectiveness of the plan. This will be provided in writing and the behaviour support clinician will support family members, carers and others providers to implement and monitor its effectiveness. Therefore, behaviour support services will look very different to therapy services.
WILL A PSYCHOLOGIST OR A BEHAVIOUR SUPPORT PRACTITIONER SEE ME FOR BEHAVIOUR SUPPORT?
Depending on which category your NDIS funding is in will depend on which is the best Solutions In Mind practitioner to see you. Solutions In Mind Psychology have registered Behaviour Support Practitioners with a minimum of a 3 year degree and specialised training in Positive Behaviour Supports. Although they are not Psychologist’s, they continue to have specialty skills which allows them to focus on their area of expertise, which is behaviour support and positive behaviour support practices. All behaviour support practitioners receive ongoing and regular Supervision by a Senior Specialist Behaviour Support / Principal Psychologist practitioner with over 25 years’ experience providing Behaviour Support services. Our Psychologists have a 4 years university degree at a minimum and an additional 2 years internship with specialised supervision before becoming fully registered psychologists. Many, but not all, of our Psychologists, are also registered Behaviour Support Practitioners with the NDIS Q&S Commission. This means as well as providing specific psychology services billed in the Capacity Building – Improved Daily Living category they may be able to also provide Behaviour Support Services in the Capacity Building – Improved Relationships category. This is however rare and can be difficult for families to understand their dual role and hence requires the approval of the Principal Psychologist.
This allows our Psychologists to focus on their area of expertise, which is providing psychological assessment and interventions services, not necessarily behaviour support services.
DOES MY BEHAVIOUR SUPPORT PRACTITIONER HAVE TO BE AN NDIS REGISTERED PROVIDER?
It is a requirement that all Behaviour Support practitioners and behaviour support service providers be registered and approved by the NDIS Quality and Safeguard Commission. This is to protect the rights of people with a disability and ensure that all behaviour support and service provision is developed and conducted in line with evidenced based best practices.
WHAT IS A RESTRICTIVE PRACTICE?
A restrictive practice means any practice or intervention that has the effect of restricting the rights or freedom of movement of a person with disability. Under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Restrictive Practices and Behaviour Support) Rules 2018 certain restrictive practices are subject to regulation. A restrictive practice is a regulated restrictive practice if it is or involves seclusion, chemical restraint (routine medication, PRN medication), mechanical restraint (harnesses, buckle covers), physical restraint and environmental restraint (locked cupboards / doors / gates).
There are additional reporting requirements, set out by the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission for any behaviour support plans that have or require restrictive practices for NDIS participants. Consequently, your behaviour supports funding should be reflective of the additional administrative requirements of the behaviour support practitioner to ensure these needs are met.
If you wish to make a referral for behaviour support or to discuss behaviour support services in more detail please contact our office for further information email@example.com (02) 47229097