• Behaviour modification and gentle teaching workshops: management of children with learning disabilities exhibiting challenging behaviour and implications for learning disability nursing

      Gates, B.; Newell, Robert J.; Wray, J. (2001)
      Background. Challenging behaviours (behaviour difficulties) represent a problem of considerable clinical significance for learning disability nurses, and a source of much human distress. Gentle teaching is a relatively new approach to dealing with behavioural difficulties, and has been received with enthusiasm by clinicians, but has so far received little empirical support. The current study attempted to compare gentle teaching with a well-established alternative (behaviour modification) and a control group. Objectives. To examine the comparative effectiveness of gentle teaching, behaviour modification and control interventions for challenging behaviour amongst children with learning disabilities. Design. Nonrandomized controlled trial. Setting. Service users¿ homes in East Yorkshire. Participants. Seventy-seven children who presented with learning disabilities and challenging behaviour (behaviour difficulties) and their parents. Procedure. One-day workshops in were offered by recognized authorities in either behaviour modification or gentle teaching that were not otherwise involved with the research project. Forty-one participants were recruited to the gentle teaching condition; 36 to behaviour modification; 26 to the control group. Random allocation was not possible, because of the slow uptake by interested parents. Measures was preintervention, and at assessment points up until 12 months following intervention. Analysis. Quantitative analysis of pre¿post differences between the groups, using t-test. Results. In general, no significant differences were found between the treatment groups and controls. Significant improvements were found for both gentle teaching and behaviour modification children over controls on the AAMR ABS XVII (social engagement) subscale. Controls had more contact with medical practitioner (GP) services than behaviour modification children and less than gentle teaching children. Conclusion. Although very few differences were found between the three groups, those that did exist generally favoured behaviour modification. Implications for service provision and learning disability nursing practice are described.