1. ITV Report

Behavioural study 'significantly improves' lives of autism participants

The study measured the Credit: Christoph Soeder/DPA/PA Images

A Jersey Behaviour Advisor has carried out a four-year study on islanders who have autism and/or a learning disability.

The study is the largest of its kind to ever be conducted and "significantly" improved the behaviour of most participants.

Dr Darren Bowring says his findings could impact how the UK supports individuals with challenging behaviour.

The study worked with nearly 90 islanders who had been referred to the Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) Service for their challenging behaviour.

The PBS team, which is part of the Health and Community Services Department, has three staff and receives around 100 referrals a year.

  • The study

The study measured the "frequency and intensity" of people's behaviour, and "looked at data about individual's health and quality of life".

The results showed that the PBS approach "made a real difference in terms of reducing levels of problem behaviour for people, but also making sure that they had better quality of life" says Dr Bowring.

The aim was to see the difference in having a community based team (PBS) that would keep people on the island and out of institutionalised homes.

The whole approach of Positive Behaviour Support is to understand why people are behaving the way that they are. People with a learning disability or autism are more predisposed to challenging behaviour for a number of reasons such as they may find it difficult to communicate needs, the environments they access may not suit their social or sensory needs or their may be restrictions that prevent a good quality of life.

We want to understand why challenging behaviour occurs, so we can come up with strategies to address this and promote people to have a better quality of life.

– Dr Bowring, Senior Behaviour Advisor with the Positive Behaviour Support Service
Clinically significant improvements of the behaviour of participants.

According to the study:

Of carers said challenging behaviour now "stressed" them less than it did.
Of carers said they were more effective at preventing challenging behaviour from occurring.
Of individuals were now able to communicate their needs more effectively.

Dr Bowring says the study "will have quite an impact and will showcase the work we are doing in Jersey".

Adding "Jersey is at the forefront of Positive Behaviour Support".