The Role of Furniture in managing Challenging Behaviours – Part 2
In the previous blog post we looked at ways in which careful furniture design can help to minimize the potential harm caused by challenging behaviours such as aggression and self-harm in mental health or learning disability environments.
In this month’s blog we will conclude our look at the specifics of challenging behaviour with a focus on Destructiveness and Disruption.
Destructive behaviours can arise from a number of sources and motivations. A common motivation is strong negative emotions such as rage or frustration, that become unbearable to the individual experiencing them and require a physical outlet. In many cases, the boredom that is often associated with the restricted nature of some mental health care environments can also be a cue for destructive behaviour. For such ‘deliberate’ acts of destruction, it is vital that furniture is built to a level of robustness and security that will allow them to withstand destructive behaviour, and to achieve this the use of specialist providers such as Tough Furniture is highly recommended.
On the other hand, destructive behaviour can also emerge from some of the needs for sensory stimulation often experienced by individuals on the Autism spectrum. Activities such as repeated rocking, bouncing and jumping on furniture, and biting or scratching furniture surfaces can all be seen as ways of getting sensory needs met that result in damage to the environment.
Again, the use of specialist equipment and manufacturing techniques is key to mitigating the risk here. For example, all Tough Furniture beds can be equipped with multiple reinforcing bars to reduce damage from jumping on bed surfaces.
Furthermore, the reinforcing of all joints in our furniture with heavy-duty steel dowels can also go a long way in minimizing the kind of damage caused by repetitive motions such as rocking or jumping.
And on all of our TV cabinets and media protection units, the use of extremely robust polycarbonate screens can negate even some of the more severe attempts at destruction – as the following video demonstrates: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQvd84Ce9Po
Of the 4 challenging behaviour types identified in NHS social care guidance (www.nhs.uk/conditions/social-care-and-support-guide/practical-tips-if-you-care-for-someone/how-to-deal-with-challenging-behaviour-in-adults/) disruption is the challenging behaviour type most closely linked to Special Educational Needs environments, where the disruptive behaviour of some individuals can have a serious negative impact on the rest of a class’s learning outcomes.
The Tough Furniture range includes a number of items designed to minimize the effects of disruptive behaviour in SEN classrooms. A very popular product is our SCR Classroom divider screens, which can be flexibly arranged and adjusted to create ‘quiet zones’ in SEN classrooms and allow for better outcomes all round. Likewise, our SCD and FCWS workstations provide both secure storage and use of computer equipment, as well as being fitted with privacy/sight screens that can mitigate the effect of disruptive behaviour in an SEN setting.
Over the last 2 blog posts we have looked in some detail at challenging behaviours and the way their potentially harmful effects can be mitigated by the careful selection and use of specialist furniture. At Tough Furniture we specialize in producing furniture for challenging environments, all designed and manufactured in our purpose-built facility in Shropshire, UK. And all of our items are designed from start to finish to cope with the rigours of this specialist field – we don’t make furniture for anybody else !