Behaviours that Challenge

Behaviours that challenge are any behaviours that a person or persons may engage in which either place a person or property at risk of harm, or do not align with program rules.

Behaviours that challenge will be influenced by a combination of interactions among the individual, the environment, and the other people in the setting. These areas are continuously changing, therefore influencing a person’s responses.

Consistency in the enforcement of program guidelines and expectations will help patrons to know their boundaries. You should never take challenging behaviour by a patron personally, and you should remain detached from a conflict, or a person who is acting out.

What to do When Presented with Behaviours that Challenge

When you are working with someone who is presenting with behaviours that challenge, make sure you set limits that are clear, reasonable, and achievable. Always document any threats, get witnesses if possible and notify the police or call 911 if it is necessary.

Some guidelines for dealing with a person who appears agitated include:

Respect personal space

  • Ensure that you are at least one arm or leg span away from an agitated patron. Crutches, canes, and walkers will extend beyond this length and should be accounted for in judging personal space boundaries.
  • Always avoid touching a person.

Be in the moment with the person

  • Let the person talk. Be interested in what they have to say. Let them vent for a little while if this is not harming anyone else.

If you are doing something else, stop. Do not appear to be rushed or seem uninterested in what someone who is agitated is saying.

Demonstrate supportive body language

  • Avoid gestures that may be seen as threatening (e.g. finger pointing).
  • Avoid laughing or smiling inappropriately.
  • Approach an agitated person from an angle rather than facing them directly.
  • Demonstrate confidence in your ability to resolve the situation.