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Children (0-11) (archived)

If your child has a severe learning disability and displays challenging behaviour you may find that you have many questions that need answering. 

At around 4 Niamh started to hit and pinch herself and exhibit prolonged episodes of screaming. What had happened to our child? ” Click here to read more about Niamh and how her family have learnt to manage her behaviour.

Difficulties that you and your child may face will inevitably be more complicated but help is out there and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation is one organisation who is there to support you and provide information to help you and your child.

If your child starts to display behaviour that you and others find challenging such as hitting, kicking, headbanging, breaking furniture or pulling curtains down the Challenging Behaviour Foundation can help you to understand why these behaviours happen and how to manage them.

Learning what your child is communicating through their behaviour and teaching them a better way to get what they want or need is an important step towards understanding your child.

Getting help early is really important: starting at as young an age as possible will help your child to learn more easily.  Addressing behaviour problems early makes it more likely that your child will learn to get their needs met in a more appropriate way than using challenging behaviour.  Professional help should be available from a Clinical Psychologist or Behaviour Specialist specialising in challenging behaviour in children with severe learning disabilities. You can ask your child’s GP or social worker for a referral for an assessment of your child’s behaviour.   

Most challenging behaviour can be reduced or eliminated, however this may not happen overnight. Whilst you are teaching your child a better way to get themselves understood you may want to think about making some changes to your home or furniture especially if your child is showing lots of destructive behaviours or eating inedible objects.

There may be other issues that you need extra help with such as sleep, toilet training and education and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation can tell you about other organisations that can help.

Having a child who displays challenging behaviour can be a profoundly hard and isolating experience. “Simon is a fantastic 6 year old boy with Fragile X syndrome, but as is no doubt true of many other parents, we have found it hard to enjoy Simon and have felt our hearts sink when he comes home.”  To read more click here .

You may find it helpful to speak to other family carers who have experienced some of the same issues as you.

To read more about caring for a child with learning disabilities and challenging behaviour an at-a-glance guide “Challenging behaviour: a guide for family carers on getting the right support for children” is available . If you have unanswered questions after looking around our website you can contact one of our Family Support Workers .

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