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What do we do that challenges children?
A teacher comforts a young black boy,
                  hands in head resting on his teacher's lap

However well-meaning your actions are, it is likely that at your behaviour will sometimes challenge particular children. This is particularly the case when working with children with complex needs.

This may be because you:

  • Impose rules and expect behavioural conformity
  • Have high expectations for achievement
  • Introduce changes and transitions during the day
  • Invade personal space, e.g. by carrying out basic care routines, such as toileting, and
  • Use physical intervention, e.g. touching, guiding and escorting.

All these elements form part of the daily routine for children with complex needs and are part of a positive response to their needs.

A case study: Jack

Listen to Maria, Jack's mum, talking about Jack's personal care needs. Maria faces a particular challenge because of the need to invade his personal space, a situation that triggers Jack's difficult behaviour.

What does Maria do to help Jack to cope with this necessary intervention?

  • Poster
A mother helps to calm her son

Maria helps Jack to cope by:

  • Recognising his need for privacy and dignity
  • Allowing his father to deal with his toileting needs, whenever possible, and
  • Calming Jack down by explaining (in symbols and words) what is going to happen and why it is important.