How can families provide training to support workers?

There are many different ways to provide training on how to support your family member with challenging behaviours.

The most important thing is to ensure the supporter gets to know the person really well and the person feels safe with them. Families may need to train the support worker to use different ways of communicating with the person if they have complex communication needs. This may include the need to explain their sensory needs and provide ideas or strategies about calming the person (keeping them regulated). One idea that can be helpful is to try buddy shifts to get the new worker to gradually phase into supporting the person. There are various online training opportunities you can access to increase family members and support staff’s knowledge.

Here are some suggested resources and places to find out more information.

DDWA have lots of resources to support families who have a family member who has complex communication needs.

Communication • Developmental Disability WA – DDWA

NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Commission and PBS

Behaviour support | NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (

Understanding Me Positive Behaviour Support activity cards have been developed by WAiS to generate conversations about positive behaviour support. They are based on contemporary disability practice and align with the NDIS Quality & Safeguard Commission’s Regulated Restrictive Practice Guides.

Understanding People: Positive Behaviour Support | WA’s Individualised Services (

Microboards Australia has developed a course: Is there a better way? This is online training for families that can’t access positive behaviour support and can be a great start. Support workers can also do this online training alongside families.

Plumtree is an organisation that has many great resources including this one on communication.

AAC: Strategies to support children with communication difficulties | Plumtree

Allison Davies is a Music Therapist who works with music to support brain function and reduce anxiety.

Home – Allison Davies – Music and the Brain

Kristy Forbes is an autistic support specialist for neurodivergent people and their families and professionals; (In Tune Pathways)

Kristy Forbes – Autism & Neurodiversity Support Specialist

The NDIS have developed this training module which encourages workers to consider and respond to different scenarios in the context of supporting a person with disability. 

Mona Delahook (author of Beyond Behaviours) Beyond Behaviors provides the basis for a paradigm shift in understanding and treating children with disruptive behaviors. Historically, educational and therapeutic models treat anti-social and asocial behavior as motivated and incentivized. In this accessible and beautifully written volume, Dr. Delahooke pulls the veil off this myth and replaces it with a neurobiologically-informed treatment model that provides insightful directives leading to effective outcomes.”

Foundations to understanding behaviour is a free learning package of five video modules developed to help you enhance your knowledge and skills around supporting people with disability and complex communication needs. It has some great information about neuroscience and some reasons behind the challenging behaviours.