Ask the expert: The What, How and Why of Behavioural Support Plans

Posted on 19 October 2017 by Shanna White

Young woman and caseworker

Sometimes children and young people in care need additional support to manage the difficulties they are experiencing. These could be difficulties at school, in the carer home, or out in the community.

Often, when these difficulties occur we can use our resources as carers, families, case managers, residential workers, and practitioners to navigate the behaviours and the situations that may trigger certain behaviours. In these instances, the intervention is usually reasonably fast and relatively easy.

But there are occasions when the behaviours and situations that occur for the child or young person do not have a simple solution. When these situations arise, it is important that we (carers and staff) work collaboratively and therapeutically to support the child or young person.

Part of this therapeutic support is to put in place a Behavioural Support Plan (BSP).

The first step in developing a BSP is to complete a comprehensive Behavioural Assessment by qualified behavioural specialists such as psychologists, psychiatrists, occupational therapists, speech therapists and clinical practitioners.

Within the Behavioural Assessment will be a series of recommendations to assist the child or young person with any behaviours of concern. MacKillop Clinical Practitioners then work with the young person’s Case Manager to develop a detailed and structured BSP, in consultation with the child or young person (if appropriate), the carers and any other members of the multidisciplinary team.

A BSP is information about the child or young person, their strengths and difficulties, what is happening for them and how it is affecting them. Specific behavioural, therapeutic, pharmacological, educational, emotional and psychological strategies are agreed on by the child’s care team to manage or reduce identified behaviours. There is information about any formal diagnoses the child or young person has that are contributing to the behaviour, a medication schedule and NDIS information (if necessary) to make sure that all possible resources are reported and accessed.

The Case Manager is then supported by the Clinical Practitioner to uphold the strategies within the Plan with all the members of the multidisciplinary team. Every three months a review of the BSP is required to make sure that the behaviours, strategies and care team members remain relevant, approved and involved in the plan.

So, the next time your Case Manager wants to speak with you about a BSP for a child or young person in your care, you’ll know that you are being asked to participate in creating a therapeutic approach to meeting the needs of the child or young person, where the entire care team is involved and motivated to achieve positive change in the life of that child.

If you have any questions about BSPs, Behavioural Assessments, NDIS, therapeutic strategies, interventions and approaches to behavioural challenges for a child or young person in your care, please don’t hesitate to ask your Case Manager or Clinical Practitioner.

Shanna White is one of MacKillop's Therapeutic Practitioners in NSW Services Illawarra Shoalhaven.