Teaching staff and family carers benefit from combined training around children with learning disabilities and challenging behaviour

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The researchers in this study were interested in the impact of training in supporting children with learning disabilities described as having challenging g behaviour. This training may be delivered to families and to teachers, but rarely at the same time. The authors were interested in the impact on outcomes if training were delivered to both groups at the same time and set out to do an initial evaluation of such an approach.

A brief training programme was developed using a functional model of challenging behavior which facilitated the production of individualized support plans for the target children. The programme consisted of two workshops in two segments. In the first segment workshops were held for teaching staff and parent carers separately and then in the segment, both groups met together. They completed a related homework task after the first segment before coming together for the second part.

Before the training, both groups completed a range of measures including the Checklist of Challenging Behaviour, the Challenging Behaviour Attributions Scale, and the Emotional Reactions to Challenging Behaviour Scale. They then completed the same measures after the training to look at the impact.

The authors found that there were some positive changes regarding ratings of challenging behaviour, participants’ causal attributions and their emotional reactions following the training. They also found differences in relation to the outcomes for teaching staff versus the family carers. The authors conclude from their study that teaching staff and family carers can benefit from combined training when involved in supporting children with learning disabilities and challenging behaviour.

Challenging Behavior Training for Teaching Staff and Family Carers of Children With Intellectual Disabilities: A Preliminary Evaluation, Gore, N. & Umizawa, H., in  Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities, 8: 266–275

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John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

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