Smashing life goals with laughter, positivity – and the right PBS game plan!

Behaviours of concern can risk the safety of the person expressing them, and the safety of others, and cause difficulties both at home and in social settings.

Better Rehab’s Behaviour Support Practitioners are experienced helping participants of all ages reduce the frequency, duration, and intensity of their behaviours of concern. And like Wollongong-based Behaviour Support Practitioner Lauren Staudt, they know that when a participant is prepared to work with them to address their challenging behaviours, their goals get achieved easier and faster. 

And this certainly was the case with participant Matthew, who has Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and Foetal Alcohol Syndrome. 

Lauren & Matty: the perfect match 

Matthew was experiencing significant difficulties communicating his needs and identifying, communicating, and regulating his emotions. 

These difficulties led to him expressing high rates of self-injurious and physically aggressive behaviours. “In group settings, he struggled to cope and was having a hard time building relationships with his peers and support staff,” explains Lauren. 

To help Matty – as he’s affectionately known – enjoy time with friends, doing the activities he loves, Lauren created a tailored Positive Behaviour Support program to reduce his behaviours of concern and build his emotional resilience.  

Game on! 

During their sessions, Lauren supported Matty to develop the skills he needed to recognise, communicate, and regulate his emotions. This included: – 

* Helping Matty become more comfortable discussing his negative emotions 

*Teaching him new regulation strategies like breathing exercises 

*Working with him on his interoceptive awareness. This is the sense of being able to identify, understand and respond appropriately to the body’s internal ‘signals’, such as emotions and sensations like hunger, thirst, and fatigue. 

Lauren also worked with Matty on developing his functional communication skills to help him communicate his needs with others around him, such as asking for space or for a break. 

Smashing goals in no time 

Lauren’s program helped Matty reduce his behaviours of concern from two to three times a day to just one to two per month. 

“He’s shown incredible progress with recognising and communicating his emotions, and independently engages in regulation strategies. Matty has learned to recognise a much wider range of emotions and is much more comfortable discussing how he’s feeling,” says Lauren. 

As Matty reduced his behaviours of concern, he started to become more engaged in community activities with his peers, and more often, which he thoroughly enjoys. 

“He now attends a day program several times a week and is always excited to talk about the friends he’s made and the activities they participate in together. It has also been reported by Matty’s day program that he has been able to carry these skills over to the group setting and they have also seen a significant drop in behaviours of concern,” says Lauren. 

A proud support team 

Matty’s family are incredibly proud of Matty and the progress he has made; “they’ve seen so many huge changes in his day-to-day life,” says Lauren. 

Lauren is equally proud of Matty and applauds his positive attitude throughout the program. “Matty’s contagious laughter and constant positivity make every session something to look forward to. It’s been an honour to watch him smash his goals and build new skills!”

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