Affinity Trust has launched a new Positive Behaviour Support service for children and young people with learning disabilities in Bradford.
The service was jointly commissioned by Bradford Council and local NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups.
Affinity Trust has recruited a specialist team to run the service. The team is led by Matthew Hodder, who has many years’ experience of working with families and individuals with different disabilities and behaviours that challenge.
The four children referred to the service so far are aged up to 12. All live at home, and their key workers will spend an average of 30 hours a week with them, at home and school.
Matthew and his team are already assessing the children’s behaviours, and working closely with schools and residential units.
An important part of the service is the support given to the children’s parents, helping them develop their skills.
The service uses the Positive Behaviour Support competency framework. Matthew explains: “Positive Behaviour Support is a way of us understanding challenging behaviour. It’s based on a detailed assessment of the environments, interactions and circumstances in which that behaviour occurs.
“It works by developing the skills of the person and those who support them, rather than by using aversive or restrictive interventions.”
The overall aims of the service are to:
Improve the life experiences and wellbeing of each child and their family by reducing rates of entry to full-time residential care.
Reduce the frequency, intensity and duration of behaviours that challenge displayed by the child.
Support the child’s development of independence and life, social and communication skills.
Support regular attendance at school and an ongoing place in the education system.
Develop parents’ skills and confidence in looking after their child.
The service is funded partly by a social investor, and Affinity Trust will be paid only if the children and young people stay out of residential care.
Matthew has been with Affinity Trust since November 2017, when he was recruited to lead the new service. The set-up phase is now complete, staff are in place, and the team has started working with the children and their families. Matthew says he is “absolutely loving it”.