As the saying goes, an apple a day keeps the doctor away because a little prevention goes a long way. We brush our teeth to prevent cavities, we recycle our water bottles to prevent pollution, and we wear a seat belt to prevent injury in an accident (and if you don’t do any of these, perhaps you should reconsider). The list could go on and on when left to your own imagination.
Just as the previous PBS blog post touted the importance of changing the environment to meet the needs of our Guests and Residents, now we must discuss the importance of prevention.
Positive Behavioral Supports places a strong emphasis on using preventative strategies in order to decrease the likelihood of problematic behaviors occurring. Encouraging Guests and Residents to engage in activities of their choice, making those preferred activities easily accessible, and recognizing health problems as early as possible, all prevent problematic behaviors from arising.
We know what this means for our Guests and Residents (i.e. happier and healthier lives), but what does prevention actually look like when our Colleagues employ it?
Colleagues in day programs and residences put forth considerable effort in order to ensure that our Guests and Residents are provided with preventative and proactive environments. Colleagues reduce boredom and frustration by engaging in enjoyable activities with our Guests, likes cooking, exercise, and independent living skills, to name a few, and modify the activities to fit the goals of each individual.
Our Colleagues see and interact with our Guests and Residents every day, and therefore know their likes, dislikes, and personalities best. Thus, if Johnny was sitting at a table with nothing to do, he could begin to engage in self-injurious behavior because he was feeling bored. Instead, Colleagues will take note that Johnny is sitting idly and will encourage him to engage in his choice of activity before boredom sets in. Engagement in activity is one example of a simple solution to prevent boredom and ultimately reduce problematic behavior.
As you can see, prevention is ever so powerful, even in the smallest of ways.