What is Behaviour Support?

Behaviour support, a crucial party of therapy that aims to understand and address challenging behaviours. These behaviours often arise from unmet needs, communication barriers or environmental factors. By delving into the root causes and implementing strategies tailored to the individual, behaviour support promotes positive change, enhancing the quality of life for both the individual and those around them.

Table of Contents

Understanding Behaviour

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Every behaviour, whether deemed positive or negative, serves a purpose. It’s a form of communication, especially when words fall short. For instance, a child might act out when they cannot express their feelings verbally. By understanding the underlying reasons for these behaviours, professionals can develop strategies to support the individual in more constructive ways.

The Role of Therapists

Therapists play a pivotal role in behaviour support. They work closely with individuals and their families, employing a family-centred approach. This approach recognises the importance of involving the family in the therapeutic process, as they often have the most insight into the individual’s life. Therapists provide guidance, tools, and strategies to help manage and address challenging behaviours.

Key Principles of Behaviour Support:

  • Respect: Valuing and honouring the views and beliefs of each individual and their family.
  • Inclusion: Ensuring all individuals have the opportunity to participate in the community and receive the support they need to achieve their goals.
  • Partnership: Collaborating with primary caregivers, acknowledging their expertise regarding the individual’s needs.
  • Integrity: Maintaining confidentiality, honesty, and professionalism at all times.
  • Positivity: Adopting a solution-focused approach, celebrating successes, and fostering a positive environment.

Why Seek Behaviour Support?

Behaviour support isn’t just about managing challenging behaviours. It’s about understanding the individual, their needs, and the environment they’re in. By addressing these aspects, behaviour support can:

  • Enhance communication skills.
  • Improve relationships with family and peers.
  • Boost self-esteem and confidence.
  • Promote a better understanding of emotions and how to manage them.
  • Foster a more inclusive and supportive community environment.

Strategies in Behaviour Support

Behaviour support isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Each person is unique and so are the strategies employed to assist them. Some commonly used strategies include:

  • Positive Reinforcement: Rewarding desired behaviours to encourage their repetition. This could be through verbal praise, tokens, or other rewards.
  • Skill Development: Teaching new skills that can replace challenging behaviours. For instance, teaching communication skills can reduce behaviours stemming from frustration.
  • Environmental Modifications: Adjusting the environment to reduce triggers. This could mean changing the physical space, routine, or interactions.
  • Functional Assessments: Understanding the function or purpose behind a behaviour. This helps in tailoring strategies that address the root cause.
  • Consistency: Ensuring that everyone involved in the individual’s life is on the same page. Consistent responses to behaviours are crucial for effective management.

The Importance of Early Intervention

Recognising and addressing challenging behaviours early on can make a significant difference. Early intervention:

  • Prevents Escalation: Addressing behaviours before they become ingrained can prevent them from escalating into more severe issues.
  • Promotes Development: Early support can ensure that individuals develop essential skills at the right developmental stage.
  • Builds Resilience: With the right tools and strategies, individuals can better navigate challenges, building resilience over time.
  • Supports Families: Early intervention not only benefits the individual but also their families. It provides them with the tools and knowledge to support their loved one effectively.

In Conclusion

Behaviour support is a multifaceted approach that requires understanding, patience, and tailored strategies. By recognising the importance of early intervention and employing effective strategies, we can pave the way for positive change. Everyone deserves the opportunity to lead a fulfilling life, and with the right support, this is entirely achievable.

If you or someone you know is seeking guidance in behaviour support, don’t hesitate to contact Stepping Stones in Life Therapy Service. Based in Darwin, we offer a wide range of therapy services to help individuals and families cope with difficult situations and modify negative behavioural patterns. Contact us today to book a session.


Picture of Barbara Kapser

Barbara Kapser

Barbara Kapser is our psychologist at Stepping Stones in Life Therapy Service in Darwin. She's a member with the Australian Psychological Society and the Australian Association for Infant Mental Health.
She specialises in perinatal infant mental health, attachment disorders, developmental trauma and behaviour support.