Challenging behaviour displayed by some people with intellectual disabilities is often a response to social, biological and environmental factors, particularly the behaviours and attitudes of carers. The nature of staff interactions with clients often depends on the training staff have received and the degree of stress they experience, as well as on the design and culture of services. In mistakenly assuming that clients are in control of what they do, carers may become angry and respond inappropriately. Strategies are needed, therefore, to address the conduct of carers as well as the challenging behaviours of clients.
Anthony McGrath explains how a cycle of reciprocal behavioural reinforcement can develop between service users and members of support staff