Originally published on the Burnaby Now 

Challenging behaviours can have a profound impact on a child’s ability to fully participate in home, school or community life. It is one of the toughest roadblocks to inclusion for children with disabilities. Kavita Kamat, the Clinical Director of Laurel Behaviour Support Services (LBSS), says that challenging behaviours often have a ripple effect that transcends far past the child. “It starts putting limitations on what they can do in the community,” Kamat explained, “causing their life to shrink further and further which really impacts the child and family’s quality of life.”

As a part of posAbilities, an agency that helps people with developmental disabilities lead meaningful and healthy lives, LBSS consultants see firsthand the impact of challenging behaviours on a child and his/her family. With several factors impacting and influencing the child’s challenging behaviours how does LBSS support the family in addressing the child’s needs?

The answer, Kamat said, is to have a wrap around service surrounding the child and family.

“All of the professionals we work with,” whether it be speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, social workers, school teams, or psychiatrists, “bring in their subject expertise and the family brings in their child expertise to the team. This helps LBSS consultants work collaboratively to develop individualized behaviour support using evidence based strategies,” Kamat said. “In addition to decreasing challenging behaviours the plan always includes teaching new skills that the child needs, to communicate, and feel comfortable and safe in the environment,” Kamat added. These plans are then bolstered by resources, training, and other aids to troubleshoot barriers in the best interest of the child. Inclusion of children with disabilities and their families is something Kamat says is integral to helping children reach their full potential.

LBSS consultants work with culturally diverse families with a wide range of cultural values, beliefs, knowledge bases, and skillsets. LBSS has developed a strong foundation of cultural competence and it has helped consultants connect with families in ways that help optimize parental contribution and participation throughout the process. An evidence based, culturally sensitive, collaborative approach defines the work of LBSS with each family and team they support.

Another aspect Kamat said that is essential for inclusion is promoting support and understanding throughout the community for all individuals with disability. Encouraging empathy, patience, and the understanding that not everyone is the same can and will lead to more fulfilled lives for everyone.

To learn more about posAbilities and Laurel Behaviour Support Services, visit www.posabilities.ca, call 604-299-4001, or email info@posabilities.ca. You can also find posAbilities on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.