Health and Challenging Behaviour

Health and Challenging Behaviour from The CBF on Vimeo.




Children and adults with learning disabilities are more likely to have physical and mental health problems than the general population.

There are many reasons for health problems in children and adults with learning disabilities. These include:

Some illnesses and health problems are very common amongst people with learning disabilities. These include:

  • Respiratory disease
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Sensory impairments (e.g., vision or hearing)
  • Epilepsy


It is vital to think about health problems when assessing why a person is displaying challenging behaviour.

If an individual is in pain, they are more likely to display challenging behaviour. If this behaviour gets the child or adult what they want, they may be more likely to display it in the future.


What can I do to help someone with a learning disability stay healthy?

  • Seek professional support for challenging behaviours that could impact on the person's health
  • Consider the possibility of a medical reason behind behaviours that challenge
  • Ask health professionals to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ so the person you’re supporting can get the help they need 
  • If the person you care for needs to go to hospital, ask if they can have their own ‘Hospital Passport’
  • If the person you care for refuses medical treatment, make sure health professionals assess their capacity to make that decision in accordance with the Mental Capacity Act (2005)
  • Support the person to get a Health Action Plan
  • Make sure the person receives an Annual Health Check
  • Make sure you are aware of any potential side-effects of the medications the person is taking and monitor them carefully
  • Support the person to stay active
  • Support the person to make healthy food choices.
  • Seek advice from a dietician if you are worried about a person’s weight or eating habits.


What is Challenging Behaviour
Find out how to support us
Volunteer with the CBF

Your Stories

Follow us

See us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Watch us on YouTube

Sitemap | Accessibility | Contact Us | Shopping Cart

Make a donation

Registered charity no. 1060714