Challenging Behavior in People With Learning Disabilities Through a Psychological Perspective

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This task will be focused on a service user group, more specifically on adults. It will explain challenging behaviour in people with learning disabilities through a psychological perspective which is behaviourism, and finally discuss how a social worker could address the issue by applying a psychological intervention or approach which will be behaviour modification. Valuing People (2001) recognises that learning disability can limit a person’s daily functions which can result in low status within the society where the person lives, producing social exclusion. Communicating can be difficult for people with learning disability because their difficulties can include speech disorders, problems with non-verbal communication and impact on their social interaction (Genders et al 2002). Adopting a social model, Oliver (1996) stated ‘Disability, according to the social model is all the things that impose restrictions on disabled people’ (p.33). A psychological perspective that provides some insights is behaviourism, which was established by B F Skinner (1976). Behaviourism is underpinned by the idea that a person’s behaviour is shaped by their experiences which can be changed by learning new behaviours. Norman and Redfern (1997) define behaviour as the individual’s actions and activities which are shaped by the environment, place, time, persons and objects present in the activities. They go on to suggest that behaviourism is a philosophy of mind with assumptions about human nature. This perspective focuses on behaviour and its consequences which can be characterized by positive reinforcements (Norman and Redfern, 1997). Behaviourism is a theory of learning which suggests that all behaviours are obtained as a result of conditioning... ... middle of paper ... ...mediate environment. The worker must ensure that the service users’ priorities and best interests are being considered by creating a relationship of trust and confidence (Norman and Redfern, 1997). In conclusion, from a behaviouristic perspective pleasing experiences are positive reinforces and unpleasant experiences are negative reinforces which influence a person’s behaviour. Behaviour modification for people with learning disabilities helps services manage some service users who present major challenges to services. However, there is a need to recognise the role of Campling (2006) ‘Social workers must be able to assist individuals to access the services that will permit them to maintain independence and choice within their own lives’ (p.115). To this end, behaviour modification is an understanding of behaviourism may be a useful tool for social work to use.

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