I spent most of last week on a training course with the Challenging Behaviour Foundation in Chatham, Kent.
The Foundation was set up by a wonderful parent whose 9 year old son was sent 270 miles to a 52 week a year residential school because those involved in his care and education were struggling.
The new school which Vivien’s son, Daniel was sent to were using what we would now call ‘Positive Behaviour Support’ and it was quickly realised that her 9 year old shouldn’t have to be 270 miles away from his home, this could be done anywhere.
Vivien set up the Challenging Behaviour Foundation in 1997. The purpose of the charity was and remains to be ensuring that people who have similar needs to Daniel and their families can access information and support, in the right place and at the right time.
The Charity started with no resources other than a driven Mother (the best resource!).The Charity has grown and is known across the country for the good work they do, both advising and training professionals and helping and supporting parents to achieve what is right for their children.
To find out more about The Challenging Behaviour Foundation please go to their website https://www.challengingbehaviour.org.uk/
The training course I was on, was so that I can become a Community Champion for the Challenging Behaviour Foundation in Hertfordshire.
The course was challenging itself, not least because I had to go across the Dartford Bridge and back under the tunnel each day which gave me plenty of time to ponder the stories from other parents and a family trainer which were so horrifying to hear.
The consequences when things go badly wrong for our children are those which will change and impact lives forever.
Why do things go wrong? ‘There is always a reason for behaviour’ Tony Osgood who is a Senior Lecturer in Intellectual Disabilities at Tizzard University told a room of parents when he was delivering a talk at the Partners in Policymaking Course I was lucky enough to attend in 2009.
We heard lots of speakers over the 10 valuable months the course ran, Tony Osgood was one of the speakers that really resonated with me. It was so enlightening to hear somebody talk about positive approaches which could be taken to avert behaviours from becoming challenging and change them into something more acceptable.
Why doesn’t every school, Social Worker, Youth Worker, GP, School Nurse, absolutely everyone who is in a position which may mean they come into contact with a young person or adult who has complex needs and behaviour which challenges have a access to a Behavioural Psychologist they can make referrals to, just imagine the difference it could make to so many lives!
People who have behaviour which challenges adopt those behaviours because a need is not being met, very often that need is communication. Those in a position to help those people can either find ways to meet their needs or ignore the behaviour until there comes a point when they can no longer ignore it as people are being hurt, put in danger and then things start to go horribly wrong.
There is no shame in asking for help! There is no shame in admitting that a situation you find yourself and your child in is just not safe anymore.
There is shame however in Professionals not asking for help, for professionals to do what they have always done, which will sadly mean they get what they always got (and so did the children and families they were meant to be supporting).
There is shame for services so closely guarding their budget that they are not providing the correct support that some of our children need. I totally accept that services are facing cuts year on year and that is tough, the problem is that things will never get better unless services look forward. Something which may cost them a lot of money in the coming years may save them thousands in the long term. And putting the financial aspect aside will massively change peoples lives, which is after all the most important and valid argument anyone could have.
The Challenging Behaviour Foundation offers a wide and varied selection of resources which can be found on their website. They also offer training for parents and professionals. There is a newsletter and parents can also email questions which other parents can answer to help solve problems. They have family support workers who work with families and offer good advice.
I am now a fully trained Challenging Behaviour Foundation Champion, I am proud to fly their flag! I will be going to local events to let people know who are in a similar situation to us that there is an organisation which will help them and signpost them to the wonderful staff at the CBF.
The Challenging Behaviour Foundation have been shortlisted for funding from the National lottery’s ‘People’s Projects’. If you have a few minutes please vote for them, they stand to get a £50,000 grant which will help them deliver vital training to families.
Please find information below and vote, vote, vote!
If we got this funding we would run challenging behaviour workshops for families throughout the Meridian East region. The workshops have already been delivered to many families, who have told us how helpful they were. Now we want to reach more families who we know are struggling or in crisis.
Our workshops will give around 500 of families the skills and knowledge to understand the reasons for the behaviour, and how to prevent it or respond to it safely. They really do make a long term change to the person and their whole family’s lives.
Please vote for Learning Disabilities – Supporting Families now, to make a difference to families’ lives.
Voting is open from 1st April until 15th April. You can vote from anywhere in the country and you can vote in more than one region, but you can only vote for one project per region.