What is challenging behaviour?

Challenging behaviour also known as behaviours which challenge, is defined as:

culturally abnormal behaviour(s) of such intensity, frequency or duration that the physical safety of the person or others is placed in serious jeopardy, or behaviour which is likely to seriously limit or deny access to the use of ordinary community facilities. 

Families can become quite isolated as they may feel criticised or judged by others when their loved one is acting in challenging ways. Sometimes families can be ostracised by their own extended families due to the person’s challenging behaviours. DDWA offer a range of supports and information to help families find strength, hope and resilience through programs such as Side by Side (SBS) which has been operating for over 8 years.

Side by Side’s vision and aim is for families experiencing challenging behaviour to be better supported, and to develop family leaders to grow the reach of support offered. SBS works with families to support them to develop their own capacity and also build the strength of the Side by Side peer group collectively. Families can join for free, and also access the private FaceBook group . 


DDWA also offer parent and carer training to help families to think about and understand behaviour and the reasons why someone may be behaving in ways that challenge us, such as having unmet needs (families can access training and support with their NDIS funding). When families have information and support about behaviour and unmet needs, they often begin to feel confident to participate in activities and events in the community.

If you would like more information about Side by Side, please contact Maggie or Bron or call the DDWA office on 9420 7203.

Bronwyn Pike bronwyn.pike@ddwa.org.au

Maggie Visser maggie.visser@ddwa.org.au

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

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.


What is your child’s challenging behaviour trying to tell you?

This introductory guide is for parents, family members and carers who are worried about their child’s/family members behaviour.  You can download it for free on the DDWA website.


How to approach kid’s challenging behaviours.

When a child has challenging behaviours, it can be difficult for both parents and teachers to know what will really help. In this short video, Dr. Mona Delahooke, author of Beyond Behaviours, shares helpful tips using the latest neuroscience. When we ask why and look beneath the surface, the answers can become clear.

How to Approach Kids’ Challenging Behaviors, with Dr. Mona Delahooke – Bright & Quirky (brightandquirky.com)

Understanding Meltdowns

Here is a 30 minute podcast with Sue Larkey talking about understanding meltdowns in children and teens.

Episode 70: Understanding Meltdowns with Jed Baker – Sue Larkey