Managing difficult times
All behaviours are telling us something. Behaviour has communicative intent. When the student gets into difficult situations, it indicates that the student is not coping with the situation or expectations. Looking carefully at the reasons for the behaviour, as well as the context (time, activity, expectations, who else was involved), can lead to changes which can prevent such incidents recurring. The aim of planning to manage difficult situations `is safe and rapid control'.
Appropriate techniques are non-aversive and rely on knowing the students well and understanding when, why and how he/she reacts, and who else was there. This is achieved through avoiding or averting escalation of inappropriate behaviour. It is not the time to try to teach new skills.
Control the things that set off such reactions:
- Remove objects or activities that the student always seems to want and which distract
- Change the time and location of activities
- Redirect the student to another activity he/she usually participates in willingly and enjoys
- Relocate and/or redeploy people into other activities or tasks
- Remove unnecessary demands or requests
- Re-arrange the environment, change where the student sits
- Avoid all statements and actions that you know the student is likely to adversely react to
- Refocus other students' attention
- Check medication has been given, if appropriate.
Interrupt the build-up:
- Move closer or move away, stand side-on rather than face-on
- Introduce humour
- Give instructions that the student is more likely to follow
- Remind them of strategies that have already been taught for self-management
- Cue them to take a break or to monitor and recognise the beginning of build-up
- Facilitate relaxation
- Use active listening
- Check that medication has been taken, if appropriate.
- Acknowledge the student's needs
- Provide some boundaries
- Ensure support when the student needs it
- Help the student manage his/her own actions to the point when the student is more receptive and able to listen and participate more appropriately.
When the student is more receptive, give feedback about behaviour:
- Communicate to the student that they need to be responsible for their actions
- Confirm that you will deal with any others involved who may have contributed to the situation
- Indicate other ways of managing, and preventing similar situations
- Acknowledge as frequently as possible appropriate behaviour and positive contributions after the student comes back into the group
- Maintain the student's self-esteem and sense of dignity.
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