As your son or daughter gets older they will inevitably grow bigger and stronger. When they were little you could pick them up and remove them to a place of safety when their behaviour became challenging but as they have grown this is no longer an option. The onset of puberty can make the teenage years a testing time for any family carer, however, the addition of a severe learning disability and challenging behaviour can test your patience and resilience to the limit.
Do not despair! Effectively managing behaviour before it escalates is possible.“Over time my persistence has paid off. Now we both enjoy our new found freedom of doing new things and experiencing new places”…
By using the behaviour strategies consistently and working in partnership with others who are also caring for your child most challenging behaviour can be reduced to an acceptable level or eliminated completely. Keeping lines of communication open and discussing what works and what doesn’t is vital.
As with all teenagers as their bodies start to develop and puberty kicks in your child is likely to start to show sexual behaviour. Children who have no speech or very limited communication will need to be supported to understand that it is natural to have such feelings, but boundaries will need to be put in place so that they do not put themselves or others at risk. Difficult sexual behaviour can be managed by teaching what is acceptable and what is not. Help should be available from your local learning disability nurse and your child’s school.
In the teenage years some parents can be faced with their child being excluded from school, out of school clubs, respite etc. and find there is a lack of suitable local services. Josie, 16, was excluded from her special school “Much to my dismay I then had to come to the conclusion that Josie had to go to a residential school, as she couldn’t get the education or help she deserved”. Read Full Story
Teenage years are a time to explore your son or daughter’s dreams and aspirations and a time to start planning for the future. It’s never too soon to start!
The process of moving from children’s to adult’s services is known as “Transition”. Planning should focus on what your child would like to do once they finish school: further education, employment, day services or activities and where they live. Transition can be a difficult time for some but there is support available. You should be assigned a transition social worker or adult team social worker between the ages of 16 and 17, who will help you consider what is important for your son or daughter’s future. p>
Further information about what to expect for your teenage son or daughter can be found in “Challenging behaviour: a guide for family carers on getting the right support for teenagers.” Social Care Institute for Excellence. For more information on education and care options see Further information for Parents’ .
Whatever the issue and however difficult things may seem, you are not alone and help is available. To be put in contact with other family carers who have a family member with a severe learning disability and challenging behaviour you could join our Parents email network or our Facebook page.
To discuss any issues you may have about your child please contact one of our Family Support Workers.