My name is Hayley and I work for Facing the Challenge, a multi-disciplinary team of behaviour specialists, assistant behaviour specialists, community learning disability nurses and a clinical psychologist. We are part of the Mental Health and Learning Disability service in Swansea Bay and we are based in Cimla Hospital.
Who do you work with?
We work with children aged 5-18 with diagnosed learning disability and their families. The children must present with challenging behaviour in order to meet the criteria for a referral to our service; behaviours that pose a risk either to the child or those around them and that are complex in nature. Facing the challenge works towards a model of Positive Behavioural Support, a useful framework to help understand behaviour and aims to improve the quality of life of the child and those that provide them care. We have a systemic approach to behaviour change and therefore work closely with education, respite services, social services and any other environment or setting the children may frequent.
What does your typical day look like?
There is no ‘typical day’ for me in my role as an assistant behaviour specialist, which is one of the things I like about the job. Typical duties involve assisting the behaviour specialists in undertaking initial assessments, undertaking observations in classrooms and at respite, attending multi-disciplinary meetings run by social services and school reviews and working directly with families, providing psychoeducation and intervention. It can be difficult to change the behaviour of a child with a learning disability so we work with the system around the child and make environmental changes to reduce the likelihood of challenging behaviours. Part of my role also involves writing reports and case notes, analysing data, creating visual communication aids and referring to other services, such as Occupational Therapy.
Would you recommend your role?
I would recommend my role to anyone who has a passion for working with children, challenging behaviours and learning disabilities. It is incredibly rewarding to see families who are in crisis, coming out the other side with a good understanding of their child’s behaviour and an improved quality of life.
The children we work with are exceptional and unique in their strengths and it is an honour to work with them day in and day out.