How to Encourage Positive Behaviors For People with Disabilities
The goal for everyone involved in helping care for someone with disabilities is helping them achieve their best life possible, but that can be difficult to do alone. Not only are there tangible skills but also social behaviors that need to be corrected, encouraged, or redirected.
It is the responsibility of the caregiver to recognize when a client has become too withdrawn, or overly dependent on the caregiver and to take the necessary steps to restore positive behaviors, increase their independence, and ultimately restore as much as possible of an active, healthy and quality lifestyle.
The following outline will provide insights to help caregivers and home health professionals recognize when their clients are regressing into antisocial, or negative behavior.
There are also suggested techniques to help clients overcome negative behaviors.
Watch for Behavioral Indicators
- Inability to focus on activities like personal care, watching television or interacting with others.
- Inattentiveness when being spoken to.
- Lack of interest in eating meals or talking to others.
People who live with loved ones may unknowingly be exposed less to different socializing activities, and they may become sensitive or resistant to new experiences or activities.
- Reluctance to leave the home.
- Not going to stores or engaging in outdoor activities.
- Not wanting to be taken anywhere, even a short drive or walk.
Adopt Positive Interactive Traits
- Focus your full attention on the person.
- Try to encourage the other person to respond.
- Always maintain an open and accepting attitude. This means being careful not to use negative gestures or phrases like ” Do not say that”.
- A light approach is often beneficial, rather than a stern demeanor. Some light conversation about simple things like the surroundings, the day outside or the upcoming meal might be appropriate.
- Always remain calm and in control. Remember, people with mental or emotional challenges can exhibit spontaneous behaviors. It is your responsibility as a caregiver to remain calm under all circumstances.
- Always remain positive. Avoid any statements that seem negative.
- Avoid being overly sympathetic or condescending.
- A relaxed posture is a ” Body Language” technique that will transfer to the person you are talking to. Be careful not to be too aggressive and not to intrude into their ” Space” which may cause anxiety.
Encourage Positive Behavior
- Encourage participation in family events. Community events, neighborhood gatherings, Church and other organized events are all positive experiences.
- Encourage the development of friendships. Create play dates and find others that can participate.
- Young adults need to complete all academic and homework assignments. Loss of interest in school work is one of the first indicators of a deeper issue.
- With adults watch for loss of interest in work, hobbies, favorite sports or activities.
- Encourage participation in sporting events. Physical participation is an excellent way to encourage healthy interaction with others.
- Sometimes a simple surprise like a vase of flowers, a new magazine, or a treat to a favorite meal or dessert is all it takes to rekindle a joyous feeling.
These are the responsibilities of the caregiver and seeing someone recover from negative behavior to a positive and happy lifestyle is as rewarding for the caregiver as it is for the person with a disability.
We provide services for people with disabilities including residential settings, day programs, employment assistance, managed care, and home and community-based services.
We have facilities in Arizona, Utah, Oregon, and Idaho. Contact us today!