Tuesday, 30 May 2006

Caring for learning-disabled clients with challenging behaviour

Care staff working with learning-disabled clients who also exhibit challenging behaviours – for example, throwing objects, screaming and hoarding things – could be particularly prone to making the ‘fundamental attribution error’, that is believing the client is behaving that way deliberately because of who they are, rather than because of their circumstances. That’s according to a study by Luise Weigel and colleagues at the University of East Anglia.

Fifteen care staff were asked to recall two recent negative events, one involving a client of theirs who had intellectual disabilities and displayed challenging behaviours, and another involving a client who had intellectual disabilities but who did not exhibit challenging behaviour.

Unlike their view of negative events involving the learning-disabled client who didn't have behavioural problems, the staff tended to describe the negative events involving the client with challenging behaviour as being more within that client’s control, and they believed such events had less to do with environmental circumstances and more to do with the client. Moreover, when asked to comment for five minutes on the two clients, the staff were more critical, hostile and overly emotionally involved when talking about the client with challenging behaviour.

To help care staff working with people with intellectual disabilities and challenging behaviour, Dr. Peter Langdon, a co-researcher on the study, told The Digest that he and a colleague were attempting to adapt a family intervention programme used with families who have a relative with psychosis (previously developed by Elizabeth Kuipers and colleagues). The new intervention for care staff would involve “psycho-education, and a cognitive component” he said.

Weigel, L., Langdon, P.E., Collins, S. & O’Brien, Y. (2006). Challenging behaviour and learning disabilities: The relationship between expressed emotion and staff attributions. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45, 205-216.

Post written by Christian Jarrett (@psych_writer) for the BPS Research Digest.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am the Guardian, Payee and Case Manager for the disabled adult in my home. It is hard to find a good Case Manger in 2008. Many are in the game for the wrong reasons. Many companies see disabled adults as dollar signs and not the person the are. Many case managers spend time with disabled adults for the sole reason to bill Medicare or Medicaid. How should case managers act? Treat the disabled adult like your brother or sister. Do not bill for services not needed. The is not fare to the Federal Government or the State Government. Do not make a big deal about anything that happens. Some disabled adults have many ups and downs. Do not read too much into anything. If the person is having a bad day just let them be. Enroll the person in some type of a program. This will fill the day. Enroll the person in a Community College. There are many easy courses they can take and they can get help at school. If the person is prone to getting in trouble, move out a little farther. This will make it easier for the person to cope. Make sure you question the case manager and make sure they went to college. Many case managers have no college or little experience. The biggest thing is no matter what happens always play down the problem. This will take stress off the disabled adult.

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