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Positive Behaviour Support changes lives. It is something we see time and again. Gateways Support Services is committed to the power of positive behaviour practices over restrictive options. Our deeply experienced and multidisciplinary team, combines best practice with creative approaches to keep participants building skills and achieving goals.
Gateways Support Services brings many years of hands on and practical experience to its Positive Behaviour Support services with the goal of improving each person’s quality of life.
For us, it is not just about the requirement to limit use of restrictive practices. We consider this a privileged opportunity to work closely with participants, families and support staff to develop and implement successful positive behaviour support strategies. Over many hours and many visits if required, we listen and build relationships to develop a deep understanding of each person’s needs and challenges. Our team will not walk away.
We are not a desk-based team producing paper-based assessments. We walk the journey with each participant and their support team. We will be beside you observing and understanding triggers and providing practical advice, training, materials and support whenever needed.
Denzel and Amber’s story
In his previous home, Denzel was subject to a number of restrictions for the safety of himself and those sharing the house. Being an escape risk, support staff needed to ensure the front door remained locked, as did the bathroom door to guard against unsafe behaviour around water.
Amber needed chemical and environmental restraints to keep her and her family safe from behaviours of concern, including inappropriate eating and aggression.
Not only have the restraints and restrictions eased since their move to Edmill Gateways’ transitional housing community in Geelong - but the duo have also struck up an organic friendship.
Accommodation Team Leader at Edmill, Daniel Broomby, says Denzel enjoys sitting outside and participating in various activities, games and socialising with other participants.
‘One day, Amber joined Denzel outside, where he offered his toys to her to engage with. So now, on sunny days, they sit outside together and complete activities and games together,’ Daniel says.
The two often enjoy going for walks together with their support staff to explore their new town and surrounding environment.
Gateways Support Services Positive Behaviour Support Practitioner Carolyn Foot says the successful outcome has been a combination of her team’s planning, the uniqueness of the Edmill Service and the support provided by Support Workers on site.
‘At Edmill they have their own space and haven’t got other people around them, so they can retreat to their own safe space when required and be in total control of what is happening in their environment,’ Carolyn says.
‘They have the comfort of predictability and routine, which has reduced their behaviours of concern and the need for restrictive practices, which then gives staff the chance to focus on building Amber and Denzel’s skills.’
What is Positive Behaviour Support?
The National Disability Insurance Scheme describes behaviour support as creating individualised strategies for people with disability that are responsive to the person’s needs. This should be done in a way that reduces the occurrence and impact of behaviours of concern and minimises the use of restrictive practices.
Under the NDIS Commission, behaviour support focuses on person-centred interventions to address the underlying causes of behaviours of concern or challenging behaviours, while safeguarding the dignity and quality of life of people with disability who require specialist behaviour support.
Behaviours of concern refer to things that may prevent an individual from participating in activities they enjoy or from accessing desired supports.
Providers must meet the requirements outlined in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Restrictive Practices and Behaviour Support) Rules 2018.
The Gateway Support Services difference
In consultation with therapists, support staff and families, our behaviour support practitioners assess each individual to determine their needs. A Positive Behaviour Support Plan is then created with recommendations on how to help the person and their carers best manage the behaviours of concern. This will include contextual explanations of behaviours and potential triggers, supports to manage things that may trigger or influence these behaviours and scripts to guide carers in encouraging desired behaviours.
But the work doesn’t end once the plan is delivered.
‘A lot of what we do is about working directly alongside team leaders, house staff and clients,’ says Gateways Positive Behaviour Support Practitioner Carolyn Foot.
‘For us the requirement of a plan is just the beginning. We continue to be involved. We up-skill team leaders and staff in positive behaviour support. We look outside the box for solutions when challenges arise.’
We know that every behaviour support plan involves two clients: the participant and the support team, without whose commitment nothing will change.
Our team is out in the field, assessing, understanding and supporting participants and support teams, listening to them and gaining their trust to find solutions and change practice that enrich the quality of life participants and increase the safety of the workplace.
As a young man who enjoys regular social interaction within his local community, Anthony was finding it difficult to deal with restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The unexpected changes to his regular routine triggered anxiety and significant distress.
When the Positive Behaviour Support and Accommodation Support Services teams learned of Anthony’s struggle, they offered him a volunteering role doing odd jobs to assist the site manager at Gateways Support Services North Geelong headquarters.
Almost immediately, the behaviours of concern were alleviated as Anthony kept busy collecting rubbish, spotting graffiti and conducting equipment stock takes.
‘I was really upset,’ Anthony says, when asked how the pandemic restrictions made him feel. ‘Now I am excited and happy to work.’
Gateways Support Services Team Leader Sam Mackie says the role has given Anthony renewed purpose.
‘He feels he can do it well and expand the role when things go back to normal. This has been a game changer and will certainly lead to other opportunities for Anthony. He’s really so much happier.’
Expert consultancy and advocacy
Through education, culture and support, we want to increase skills and understanding in the value of best practice Positive Behaviour Support throughout the disability sector.
Our team is now offering expert consultancy services to other organisations that want to build their knowledge and skills in meeting and exceeding NDIS requirements to improve quality of life for their participants.
Gateways Support Services Positive Behaviour Support team also assists in preparing NDIS plan applications and reviews, working with support coordinators to provide quotes and any required reports, as well as attending planning review meetings if needed.