Cause and effect?

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Problem behavior, "challenging behavior" ... What causes it? Where does it come from?

"They're so!", "That's part of his disability", "The will just have to properly educated times", "You got to know no limits", "He probably did not get his medication" - phrases that you in connection with occurring problem behaviors often hear. Although in each set sometimes puts a grain of truth, these statements lead but quickly cancellations and recriminations, are an expression of helplessness and resignation and a narrow vision.

Rather, it is so that the causes of a so-called problem behaviors, "challenging" behavior, varied and we are our opposite guilty to approach this, to fathom it. The influence of behavior presupposes a detailed analysis and a statement to that theory. Most multiple causes come together, which condition or are mutually reinforcing.

Especially in people with multiple problem areas, restrictions in different areas personality, an exact look is particularly important to draw the wrong conclusions and therefore not premature to initiate the wrong consequences. Usually it is necessary that experts from different disciplines make together with the members a comprehensive picture, to arrive at a suitable formation theory. In particular, the presence of cognitive impairment - ie a mental disability - if the linguistic expression are limited or missing, an autism spectrum disorder, this is particularly important in my opinion.

Is often treated with medication or premature resignation or refrain meaningful drug therapy too soon. It initiated consequences for which lacks the ability to understand or not shown necessary limits ...

What are the causes for a problem behavior can be found frequently or should be excluded? The following list does of course not exhaustive, but it is the causes which personally I encountered again and again in my professional practice. The actual variety is a lot bigger and the following causes are intended as a small insight into this and to encourage closer look and think.

As banal as it sounds, but especially for people with intellectual disabilities, especially when the linguistic expression possibilities are limited and the problem behavior perhaps even "suddenly" occurs, are primarily physical causes ruled out! Pain, discomfort, gastrointestinal problems may trigger sudden aggression or self-harm. If I do not know what is going on in my body, if I can not identify it and describe, if I can not inform my opponent, so this often triggers despair or anger. Pain in the joints -  also in overweight -.., An ingrown nail combined with the invitation to walk can also trigger such reactions.

Physical causes can be very diverse, chronic and sometimes hidden. All the more it is important to put these considerations before a supposed problem behavior is treated or treated with medication, especially since the cause would continue to exist.

Side effects of medications, "funny feelings" of the body, which can not be put into words, is can also be reflected in sudden behavior.

Mental disorders: people with cognitive impairments can, like everyone else suffer from mental illness. As various studies have shown that this occurs even more frequently than in people without cognitive impairment. Since the diagnosis is made ​​to a large extent on the experience and behavior of the person notified, the difficulties to make a timely diagnosis in this group of people explain. Unfortunately, experts in this field are few and still quite thin.

In addition, there are genetic diseases in which certain behaviors - including problem behavior - occur more frequently. One speaks in this case of so-called "behavioral phenotypes". These include the "Fragile X Syndrome", "Prader-Willi Syndrome", "Cornelia de Lange Syndrome", "Rett Syndrome", "Smith-Magenis syndrome". Although the existence of forces not necessarily a specific behavior, in particular interactions but come on specific behaviors more frequently.

Behavior - even behavior problems - is often a response to an (inappropriate) environment. Over- or under-exposure, uncertainty, unclear structures, communication difficulties or -misunderstanding  evoke appropriate responses, which might seem incomprehensible and meaningless for us. For those but they are often subjective sense, a competence, a coping strategy. In this sense, this behavior is often learned in the interaction with the environment and the original trigger sometimes no longer immediately recognizable. Here it is important to open up the subjective sense. This is often not easy. It is also time to think about "cross", allowing "unorthodox" explanatory models and back to make our own logic. For example, one wonders why anyone maintains a certain behavior, although it is perhaps ever sanctioned, punished. And perhaps fails to recognize that the person who receives attention and response. In a negative way, but if it becomes otherwise suffers from a defect in this basic need, this may be (currently) the only possible for him to satisfy this need.

In order to approach the subjective meaning of a behavior, I go to my company from certain basic assumptions made.

A principle of (healing) pedagogy is, pick up the people where them stands. This means in the educational process as well as in the preparation of explanatory models to take into account the respective individual stage of development.

In the field of cognitive and psychomotor development, this usually succeeds very well. So you would certainly not on the idea of ​​a child who has not yet learned the letters to demand the reading of a daily newspaper. Someone, in whom a paralysis of the legs is present, it will not work out climbing the stairs.

Is quite different (unfortunately!) still in the field of socio-emotional development of. By default or misjudgements occur in this area repeatedly to excessive demands. Too little, this is disregarded still (even among experts). With the (technically correct!) averting ups for adults with intellectual disabilities as "he is on the level of development of a 6-year-old", taking into account the age-appropriate needs and dignity as well as the paradigm change in special education towards self-determination and autonomy, locked you partially the views of present facts.

It has long been that people go through with cognitive impairment, the same stages of development, just like everyone else. However, this development extends from often slower, delayed or incomplete.

We know also that this development often runs disharmonious. This means that a person can have a very different level of development in the various fields of personality with such impairments.

This has consequences for both the derivation of explanatory models for behavioral abnormalities, as well as for educational support. So has an adult   with 30 years of course the needs of a 30-year, the right to dignity and appropriate response. The cognitive "mental age" perhaps equivalent to a 10-year-old and must be taken into account in the monitoring and assistance. If the socio-emotional development of the phase of a 4-year corresponds to and is stopped there, this has a major impact on the necessary relationship formation   and the possible requirements, for example, a crisis management.

An example will clarify this: So you did not come (hopefully) the idea of ​​a 3 year old child who screams in despair because maybe his toy broke or cannot be found, to his room to send the prompt "If you're have calmed down, you can come out. " Intuitively, we know as a parent that this child as the current crisis cannot cope. Rather, it will sympathetically hugged, comforted. We know this just breaks a complete world for the child together and jointly - in the emotional unity with the caregiver - is to overcome this crisis in a position of this child. In a 12/13-year or even an adult often lack this understanding. The behavior shown is classed as a non-conformist, as "challenging behavior" declared, although he also currently has no other way to overcome the crisis because of its level of development.

Although already BARBARA SENCKEL 1994 developed a concept for the "development-friendly design relationship", this knowledge in special education and also in the evaluation of behavioral problems still seems to play a subordinate role. For several years, holding - obviously with similarly limited success - the concept of "development dynamic relationship therapy" by ANTON DOŠEN collection, which takes a similar approach.

Professionals who deal with it could prove that delays in the socio-emotional development of increasingly result in behavioral disorders and that these at an appropriate development are well influenced relationship offer.

So what does this mean in practice?

Behavioral disorders, behavioral disorders, behavioral problems, "challenging behavior" challenge us!

It can have many causes. Most of my experience is by a combination of different causes before. Drugs for "treatment" of behavioral problems are used or demonized too fast. Too fast for. Ex. Overlooked physical causes or not factored. Hypotheses are formed and acted too quickly.

Due to the complexity, it is important to look for those one and the environmental problematic behavior from various angles to sit together - families, doctors, therapists, educators, etc. - and TOGETHER creation and setup working hypotheses and then derive the appropriate consequences. Diseases are excluded (or treated), the living and learning history is also to be regarded as the environment and the existing structures, in which man lives. In order to provide a development-oriented approach ensure the methodology is on the respective individual stage of development - especially in the area of ​​socio-emotional development, agreed.

In particular, the combination of several problems in the personality development, so for example, the existence of a language delay, an autism spectrum disorder, an additional attention deficit disorder with cognitive impairment, known as behavioral problems can have a variety of reasons, which mutually dependent and / or strengthen.

This "interdisciplinary" approach remains in practice unfortunately still all too often on the route. But be at the "stakeholders" to meet, we owe him this multidimensional view.

As an educator, my main focus is the support of children and youth in the field of non-medical causes.You can find my access to it here: find ways