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Mental Health and Learning Disabilities

Improving practice: supporting people whose behaviour is perceived as challenging

Improving Practice: supporting people whose behaviour is perceived as challenging – an educational resource for support workers.

This resource has been developed to help support workers develop their ability to support people with learning disabilities who have behaviours perceived as challenging. It will help support workers improve their skills and feel more confident about the work they do.

People with learning disabilities who have behaviours perceived as challenging have rights, abilities and a rich history and experience. All of this must be recognised in the way we provide care and support. The resource will help develop support worker’s understanding about behaviours perceived as challenging and think differently about the people they work with.

This resource is for support workers who work with people with a learning disability who may display behaviours perceived as challenging.  Support workers have a wide range of titles and role remits in health and social care. They normally have education requirements at a range of levels, from Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) levels 6 to 8 (that’s Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQ) 2/3–5). Support workers can be defined as: “Workers who have delegated responsibility [from a registered professional] for providing care and support”.

This resource can be used for individual learning, learning as a group or team, in a facilitated learning event, or as a mixture of all these approaches. Whichever you favour, we recommend that you seek some opportunities for group discussions to help you to understand your individual experiences within a broader context and enhance your learning. There are many questions that are best answered – and points that are best discussed and expanded upon – with colleagues.

The resource should take you approximately 16 hours over eight weeks to work through.

There will be a supported roll out of this programme in 2014/15. If you would like additional information please contact Elaine Kwiatek, Education Project Manager at