How staff supporting children with learning disabilities and challenging behaviour is clearly of major importance. This Scottish study set out to look at the knowledge that teaching staff had regarding definitions of and management of challenging behaviour displayed by children with learning disability.
They found that the levels of knowledge amongst staff levels were relatively low. Those participants in the sample were likely to define challenging behaviour by function or topography.
In terms of knowledge or understanding of responses to challenging behaviour, they found that the staff were largely unaware of positive programming strategies. The authors state their concern that this may mean staff are poorly equipped to appropriately manage challenging behaviour in the longer term.
They also found that staff attributions of challenging behaviour were associated with reduced helping behaviour and increased anger.
The authors conclude that their findings suggest the need for better training and support of teaching staff to ensure that they have better and more up to date knowledge of challenging behaviour and more positive attributions.
Teaching staff knowledge, attributions and confidence in relation to working with children with an intellectual disability and challenging behaviour, Rae, H., et al., in British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 39: 295–301.