Specific behaviours

This section provides resources (information sheets and video) for specific behaviours associated with challenging behaviour, including hurting others, self-injury, eating inedible objects, running off, spitting and difficult sexual behaviour.

Specific behaviours associated with challenging behaviour might include:

  • Hurting others
  • Self-injury
  • Destructive behaviours
  • Eating inedible objects
  • Constant drinking of liquids
  • Running off
  • Spitting
  • Difficult sexual behaviour

Specific behaviours associated with challenging behaviour

Click on the titles below to visit each page, where you can download information sheets about each behaviour. You can get a brief summary of each page by clicking on the downwards arrow.

Self-injurious behaviour is any behaviour that results in someone causing physical harm to themselves. Examples of this behaviour shown by people with severe learning disabilities include: eye poking, self-biting, head banging and skin picking.

Meet Laura and Tobias, learn how their self-injurious behaviour has affected their lives and the lives of their families, and how some simple, straightforward steps can help to reduce self-injurious behaviour.

Pica refers to eating objects which are not suitable to be eaten, such as stones, faeces and clothing. Polydipsia involves the constant desire to drink any type of liquid (for example, bleach or toiletries) even if the individual is not thirsty.

Spitting is something that many people find disgusting or at least deeply disrespectful. We must therefore support people with learning disabilities to avoid spitting except in socially acceptable ways – and particularly to avoid spitting at other people.

This quick read guide and downloadable information sheet is designed to help family carers understand, and respond to, any sexual behaviour which may cause difficulties.

Read our topic page, with questions about the issue of running off and how you can keep your relative safe.

What is challenging behaviour?

What is challenging behaviour?

‘Challenging behaviour’ is how we talk about a range of behaviours which some people with severe learning disabilities may display when their needs aren't being met.

What is a Severe Learning Disability?

What is a Severe Learning Disability?

The CBF is a charity specialising in severe learning disabilities. Read this page and watch the video to understand the signs of a severe learning disability and diagnosis.

Information and guidance

Information and guidance

Do you need information about challenging behaviour and connected issues? We have a broad range of information sheets, webpages, packs, templates and DVDs, grouped into different sections.