Behaviour is a form of communication. You've likely heard it said many times before. Every child with 'challenging behaviour' is telling us something.
Working with a School Behaviour and Attendance Partnership (SBAP) team supporting children at risk of exclusion from school always puts this in perspective for me.
Speech and Language Needs such as difficulties understanding what is happening or what is being said, difficulties effectively expressing wants, thoughts and needs, managing anxiety, recognising and describing emotions, making and keeping friends and using language for complex tasks such as problem solving and negotiation are just one group of many challenges a child may be experiencing. Even a child with fantastic language skills will have times when processing information is challenging - how do you feel when you're tired, angry or anxious? In the right place emotionally to learn, answer complex questions and analyse your own behaviour....unlikely.
Speech and Language Therapists are just one cog in a complex wheel. Each and every person who has contact with the child or young person with so-called 'challenging behaviour' or 'social, emotional and mental health needs' can make a difference. Adults should work together to identify the factors underlying a child's behaviour and use their skills and experiences to help those living and working with that child to understand their needs, and we can often help young people learn skills to manage their own difficulties. We can help build bridges, and provide support for the child, their family and other professionals. Even with families, schools and professionals all working together we might not have all the answers. But we must always try. Little changes can make a big impact on a child's future.
This is why I get up and go to work each day.