getting dressed

Full Post - Having difficulty getting mum/dad/child dressed?

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I’m going to be doing a few new FB live series’. Those that don’t know me I help families find great carers and we support families too.

I'm going to be looking at some of the key questions being asked on Facebook around care, health, dementia and behaviour.

One that keeps coming up… Mum won’t change her clothes… and has tantrums. Perhaps she screams, refuses, is rude or even hits out. 

1st why am I talking about behaviour.

Some of you will know me from earlier in my career, Mary, Harriet, Richard, Emma, Michael and will remember I was terrible at managing behaviour.

I was a teacher, my classes were fun but behaviour was not a strong point.

Then one day a headteacher I worked with handed me some papers in the corridor, stapled together at the top. 

I took it home and read it that night it was totally different to what the ‘experts’ tell you to do.

In fact it was the opposite.

I tried it and the behaviour got worse, it said it would, and then it began to work…

like magic. 

I went on somehow to work with children with extreme behaviour difficulties, working with them directly and made changes in just a few days and I now work with people living with dementia too. 

So… Mum won’t change her clothes… and has tantrums. Perhaps she screams, refuses, is rude or even hits out.

1st thing to do know.

If you’re going to try and make a change to behaviour.

I’ll tell you now, it’ll get worse first. They’ll test you and the behaviour will get worse. Whose going to win? See it through and you’ll win long term. 

2nd thing - check if it’s communication.

Behaviour is often communication. It’s not the right or acceptable way to communicate but sometimes it is communication. Are clothes itchy, uncomfortable, too warm or too cold? Sometimes I don’t want to change my warmest fleece jumper! It’s cold and the jumper is warm. Is it hot and its the coolest t-shirt etc?

3rd - seek to reduce the behaviour.

How you react to the behaviour will determine if it happens again. Generally if you react, show eye contact, any alarm in your voice, annoyance or respond with conversation. That’s attention even if it’s negative, it will happen next time too. 

Respond to behaviour, tantrums with NOTHING.

No eye contact, few or zero words. Use the same repeated words in a boring, monotone voice. If it’s met with boring repeated words and no eye contact, there’ll be no point in it continuing (after the test period of course!) No physical contact.

4th - Repeat simple 2/3 word instructions.

In a boring monotone voice, with actions. Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat. Then leave it. Jumper on, jumper on. 

5th - Perhaps use first and then.

Remember it’s ‘dressed first, then tea’, ‘dressed first, then ….’

‘first wash jumper, then wear it’

6th - Use hand signs, pointing, pictures. 

Now I’m putting together some scripts, some clever words and phrases, that you can use. And this is just the beginning… 

I’ve tested a lot of different techniques.

Some worked, some didn’t. I repeated and remembered the ones that worked and ditched the ones that didn’t.

I’m not a behaviour expert and I have no interest in being one. I don’t want to stand behind a clip board and tell people what to do. Do behaviour experts actually try what they say? Do they actually do it?

I’m doing some coaching on behaviour, get in touch if you want to work with me either with the elderly with dementia or with children. 

Share this with someone who needs to see it and watch out for the next live, have a great week. 

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