Challenging Behaviour

We are not going to give you a definition of challenging behaviour here as we think people who support/live with people with complex needs, know what they find challenging about that persons behaviour (and you can find plenty of definitions online).

Recently a number of new terms have been put forward to describe challenging behaviour such as, ‘Behaviour that Challenges’ and ‘Behaviours of Concern’. We endorse both of these terms, but don’t want to steal them. We have also heard terms used such as ‘Communication about unmet needs’ and even ‘Exotic Communication’ and we understand why people use all of these.

The term challenging behaviour is still most widely used and so for now, we are sticking with it. The use of language used to describe behaviour is without doubt important, but we feel it is the action taken to support that person that is even more important.

For us, the two most important things when it comes to describing behaviour are:

  1. That there is an understanding that challenging behaviour serves important functions for the individual (i.e., the description of why that person is engaging in the behaviour (the function) is more important than the description ‘challenging’)
  2. That we (and others that work in this field) avoid the use of derogatory terms such as kicking off!