Behaviour Analysis Talk for Health & Social Care Students at Cornwall College

Published by Jo on 6th October 2023

Behaviour Analysis Talk for Health & Social Care Students at Cornwall College

On 5th October 2023 Green Light’s Behaviour Analysts Mollie Salter-Prescott and Darina Donnellan were invited by Florence Everington ​Study Programme Manager at Cornwall College to speak to a group of students at the Health & Social Care Department at Cornwall College in St Austell, Cornwall. Mollie describes the morning: 

We spoke to the group about the approach we use at Green Light, Positive Behaviour Support (PBS).  PBS uses a person-centred approach to ensure that the person receiving support is at the forefront of all decisions. The support the person receives should be highly individualised as a result of careful assessment of their needs and preferences.

We asked the group of students what kind of support they thought people with autism and learning disabilities might need. They contributed some excellent ideas from support with personal care to support building self-confidence. We also discussed what was meant by the term “challenging behaviour”.

Challenging behaviour is defined as:

“Culturally abnormal behaviour(s) of such an intensity, frequency or duration that the physical safety of the person or others is likely to be placed in serious jeopardy, or behaviour which is likely to seriously limit use of, or result in the person being denied access to, ordinary community facilities”.

What this means in practice is that any behaviour can be challenging, depending on the extent and the context in which it occurs. 

At Green Light, we ensure that all of our employees understand that challenging behaviour is very often the result of unmet needs and/or an inability to communicate. People may engage in challenging behaviour because they are unable to communicate what they need or access it independently. Often, challenging behaviour is a last resort that people turn to to try and get what they need. Over time, these behaviours may prove to be effective meaning people use them more and more often.

We talked to the group of students about the main reasons why people engage in challenging behaviour: to escape or avoid something or someone, to access something, to gain attention, or because it fulfils a sensory need. We explained that our role, as Behaviour Analysts, is to find other ways that people can meet these needs without needing to use challenging behaviour.

We then talked through the different roles available at Green Light and the different qualifications needed. Many students expressed an interest in the support worker role. This role involves directly supporting someone with whatever they need to live a life they are proud of. We discussed that from here, staff can choose to pursue a route into management (via becoming a Senior Support Worker and then Deputy Manager) or a route into behaviour analysis (via becoming a Behaviour Technician).

Many people in the group asked us lots of valuable questions and expressed interest in both routes. We hope to receive some applications soon from the enthusiastic students we spoke to.

Thank you for having us, Cornwall College!

Mollie Salter-Prescott

Clarissa Mitchell joined Green Light as a Support Worker but trained to become a Behaviour Technician and now works closely with Mollie and Darina to help people learn new independent living skills [read on]

Behaviour Analysis Talk for Health & Social Care Students at Cornwall College