I went to a local forum yesterday on positive behaviour support (PBS).
It's quite unbelievable to think PBS only really came into it's own in the 1980's. For the older of us, that just doesn't seem all that long ago! I left school in the 80's. Although I was completely unaware of what was happening for people with a disability at that time, it was the era of behaviour management, or behaviour modification.
Yesterday the discussion ventured onto the topic of restrictive practices. I am not a fan of 'shock and awe', and when some of the extreme examples of restrictive practices were presented, I found myself becoming annoyed. I am certain there are few 'workers' who turn up to work determined to use restrictive practices on any given day. Similarly, I wouldn't think there are any organisations that deliberately write restrictive practice strategies into either their policies or procedures. If there are, then as far as I'm concerned the legal ramifications are appropriate natural consequence.
The session I did value was the scenario shares. Each table was presented with a scenario so we could discuss those 'grey areas'. It's easy to identify a restrictive practice when it's extreme, but what about those acts of 'welfare' that have an underlying safety intention? It was interesting to hear other people's perspectives and interpretations of situations.
As I was driving home, I couldn't help but think about the day. The workshop was a local event and all the scenarios presented were based on local kids. The behaviours we were presented with were extreme.
We are in a regional area and when situations get tense around service provision, particularly for kids with complex needs, I commonly hear 'put down's of local expertise. I scanned the room yesterday and all I saw was committed, informed and passionate professionals. I think we should value our local expertise.