Managing Challenging Behaviour by TS parent Carole Hagan


Carole Hagan, a parent of a 28 year old daughter with challenging TSC and autism, shares strategies from what she has learned both as a parent and from a long career in education.



 

Over the years, I have attended many sessions on behaviour strategies, but didn’t learn much that worked.  Everyone is different and what might work for one might not work for another.   If Autism is involved then my advice is 'Go with the Flow!'  However bad things are - it will get better!  Sometimes I have felt that I am on my knees then suddenly the behaviour has disappeared! 

Try to avoid being confrontational, stay the adult, stay calm and in control.  Avoid raising your voice if you can.  Move the person out of harm's way.
Ask yourself if this could this be the period before a seizure? The Prodrome?  You might need to put care strategies in place.
Sometimes our behaviour can trigger theirs – identifying this might help resolve the problem.  For example, my daughter resents me looking at my mobile phone.
Sometimes behaviours are a result of bad habits, which can creep up on us and before we know it our person always expects, for example, a treat if they go shopping!
Try to get into the habit of reframing  - in simple terms this means instead of saying “don't run” try saying “please walk.” Instead of saying “stop shouting”, try saying “find your quiet voice.”  Instead of saying “stop hitting me”, try saying “give me a hug.”
Redirection can help – instead of saying “No, don’t do that.” try “Let’s feed the dog.”
Distraction techniques can work, for example, if the person is upset and shouting –put an ice cube into their hand!
Try not to bear a grudge. Always be positive and move on. Praise your person when they are showing good behaviours.
Finally instead of putting your person into Time Out, give yourself Time Out!   Walk away and take away the audience!        
     
Summary of strategies
Reframing,  be positive, demonstrate the behaviour you want.
Redirection, Let’s go outside, for a walk, what do you want for tea?
Distraction, find a spider! (I’ve always had a bug viewer to hand).
Change the environment, if possible.
Change the carer/adult, if possible.
Bribery & Corruption - whoops, I mean rewards for good behaviour like a sticker, a sweet, pocket money etc. 
…and also remember try walking away, taking a deep breath, give yourself a moment, remove the audience. 
Stay the adult!  That’s important.
Look after yourself, it’s not just a glib phrase, develop coping strategies, you need to stay strong and positive. 
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.