We have identified a number of organisations that have published best practice guidance on challenging behaviours.
The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) is an independent charity that promotes good practice in social care services for adults and children throughout the UK. The following is a summary of some of the key points from its guidance on challenging behaviours in adults (2010).
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is a UK government body which supports healthcare professionals and others to make sure that the care they provide is of the best possible quality and offers the best value for money.
NICE has not published any specific recommendations on treating self injurious behaviours in people on the autism spectrum. However it has published recommendations on treating challenging behaviours – which includes self injurious behaviours – in people on the autism spectrum.
The following is a summary of the NICE guidance on challenging behaviours in people on the autism spectrum (2012, 2013).
Before initiating other interventions for challenging behaviour, you should address any identified factors that may trigger the behaviour by offering:
Once you have tried these, you may need to consider a psychosocial intervention. When deciding on the nature and content of a psychosocial intervention, use a functional analysis. The functional analysis should facilitate the targeting of interventions that address the function(s) of problem behaviour(s).
In addition to the functional analysis, base the choice of intervention(s) on:
Psychosocial interventions for challenging behaviour should be based on behavioural principles and informed by a functional analysis of behaviour.
They should include:
Consider antipsychotic medication in conjunction with a psychosocial intervention for challenging behaviour when there has been no or limited response to other interventions. Antipsychotic medication should be prescribed by a specialist and quality of life outcomes monitored carefully. Review the effects of the medication after 3–4 weeks and discontinue it if there is no indication of a clinically important response at 6 weeks.