The learning disabilities challenging behaviour service, offers a service to the whole of County Durham and Darlington.  It is based at:

  • Sniperley House, Lanchester Road Hospital, Durham, County Durham, DH1 5RD. Tel number: 0191 333 6258/3544
  • Acley Centre, Carers Way, Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, DL5 4PE. Tel number: 01325 529520

About the service

The challenging behaviour service employ registered learning disability nurses who have had additional training to work with children with learning disabilities who have challenging behaviour.

Positive behaviour support is very important in the work the team carry out and places emphasis on respect for the young person being supported.

The team works alongside the learning disability child and adolescent mental health service community team to ensure a seamless service is provided.

The team, which serves the County Durham and Darlington area of the trust, works mainly into schools and the child's home. They will provide advice and guidance for parents as well as other professionals.

The team

The challenging behaviour team is made up of a clinical nurse specialist, staff nurse and an associate practitioner.

How to access the service

Referrals can only be accepted from  learning disability child and adolescent mental health professionals and will be made following a multi-disciplinary discussion.

The team will carry out a functional behavioural assessment with the child or young person. This assessment attempts to look beyond the obvious interpretation of behaviour as "bad" and determine what function it may be serving for a child. Truly understanding why a child behaves the way he or she does is the first, best step to developing strategies to stop the behaviour.

The process usually involves documenting the antecedent (what comes before the behaviour), behaviour, and consequence (what happens after the behaviour) over a number of weeks; interviewing teachers, parents, and others who work with the child; evaluating how the child's disability may affect behaviour; and manipulating the environment to see if a way can be found to avoid the behaviour. This is usually done by a behavioural specialist, and then becomes the basis for a behaviour intervention plan. All intervention plans are monitored before the child/young person is discharged.