“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’ (NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission).
What does behaviour support include?
A behaviour support plan is a document that overviews a participant, their ecosystem, and behaviours that may arise within this ecosystem. The plan should set out to overview things such as what the behaviour is, how often it occurs, how long it occurs for, the impact or risk this behaviour creates, what are some things that make the behaviour more likely it occur or trigger it, what is the function of the behaviour, and what are some things that reinforce or maintain the presence of the behaviour. After providing an overview or taxonomy of the behaviour a good plan will outline person centred and evidenced based strategies to limit the impact of this behaviour on the participant and their support network and to increase their overall quality of life. Behaviour support plans also look to identify and address the use of restrictive practise to work toward reducing or eliminating it in line with relevant legislature. Implementation of the behaviour support plan should be overseen by the therapist with training in the proactive, reactive, and skill building strategies contained in the plan.
Specialist behaviour intervention support details the ongoing 1-1 intervention that a practitioner provides to a participant. The nature of this work is generally targeted toward the unique and specific needs of the participant in consultation with relevant stakeholders. Interventions may involve things such as psychoeducation around disability, understanding the impacts it can have on a participant functioning, individual skill building, and support for carers or support teams.
Who does a behaviour support practitioner liaise with?
The stakeholders that a behaviour support practitioner may engage with is determined through consultation with a participant, or in certain cases their parent or formal guardian. A behaviour support practitioner my want to source information from the participant, their informal supports such as family members, health practitioners, allied health therapists and support co-ordinators, support workers, schools, and/or workplaces. As part of the role of behaviour support the practitioner may also need to share information with relevant third parties, such as the NDIS, support co-ordinators, allied health therapists, schools, and support workers. This should also be done in consultation with the participant and their parent/guardian to ensure their right to privacy and confidentiality is upheld.
What can I expect in my engagement with behaviour support?
Dependent on the circumstances, if there is a high level of risk identified as a result of a participant’s behaviour, or there are unregulated restrictive practises, a behaviour support practitioner is required to produce an interim behaviour support plan within one month from being engaged. If there are restrictive practises being implemented then this needs to be reported to the NDIS Quality and Safeguards either through identification of a NDIS accredited implementing provider, or a reportable incident. For all restrictive practises being implemented by NDIS accredited implementing providers it needs to go through a Restrictive Practise Authorisation Panel (RPAP) which will be convened by an independent specialist from Family and Community Services (NSW). If after an interim behaviour support has been developed, or if there are no identified restrictive practises or significant risk, a comprehensive behaviour support plan should be provided by the practitioner within 6 months of being engaged.
What are restrictive practises?
A restrictive practise is deemed by the NDIS as ‘any practise or intervention that has the effect of restricting the rights or freedom of movement of a person with disability’ (NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission). Under the NDIS rules, certain restrictive practises may be regulated including seclusion, chemical restraint, mechanical restraint, physical restraint, and environmental restraint. The NDIS is working toward the reduction or elimination of the use of restrictive practises, a big part of which includes focusing on the role of positive behaviour support. It is important to remember that restrictive practises should only ever be used in limited circumstances as a last resort, be the least restrictive response possible to ensure the safety or the participant or others, be used for the shortest possible time, only used when underpinned by a positive behaviour support framework, and not be used as a substitute for adequate supervision.
How can I get behaviour support?
An individual’s eligibility for behaviour support funding will be determined by a NDIS delegate in consultation with their local area co-ordinator after reviewing reports and documentation provided by therapists and other stakeholders within a participant’s circle of support. Behaviour support is provisioned through a participants Improved Relationships funding and provides for different types of services including the development of a behaviour support plan, and specialist behaviour intervention support. The provision of services can only take place with consent from the participant, or in certain cases from their responsible person such as a parent or formal guardian. If you have any questions about this process please refer to the NDIS website or reach out to your Local Area Co-ordinator (LAC).