Saturday, 12 December 2015

Positive Behaviour Support is Applied Behaviour Analysis with add ons

Great marketing. 
[summarised]...."Got an autistic person in your life?  Use this "positive behaviour support" thing.  By using it, you teach the person how to cope better.  In positive, relationship-forming ways."

Doesn't that sound great.
Or is it?

Well, positive behaviour support is another name for Applied Behaviour Analysis, with a few add-ons. That video at the top makes it clear that this is what it is.

It starts with the assumption that autistic people display "challenging behaviour", because we can't think of a good way to simply ask for things.

This is not true.

That's a bit of a problem, isn't it, when a whole behaviour programme is designed to address that particular situation.

Suppose I'm in a café.  Here is my experience of being in that café.  Genuinely deafening, genuinely painful.   Two minutes.  Needs sound.  Turn the sound up to maximum. 

In that setting, my brain is literally overheating, internally. The pain is real and physical.

OK, watched the two minutes?   Is the child just in need of a better way to cope?  Suppose we took the child's favourite things away from them, and bribed the child with them so they stayed in the café and behaved nicely? The only way they get those favourite things is to do as they are told.  Endure the pain, little Jonny.  Endure the sensory hell, little Jonny.  Behave more nicely, or you don't get the only thing that allows you to cope at all....your favourite things.  After all, we are not punishing the child (directly).  (Just coercing them to endure pain in a really non-confrontational way).

And everyone is so nice.  Endlessly nice.  After all, it's a really Nice behaviour support plan.

Or is it.

Actually, little Jonny is in a lot of pain.  If we want to stop pain, we take the source of the pain away.  We do not bribe the child to put up with the pain.

I do hope that is more clear.   It's not challenging behaviour.  It's distress behaviour.  Be a good carer/parent and stop putting your young person in pain.  Learn about autism instead.