During the course of my career its probably fair to say I’ve worked alongside individuals who are sometimes referred to as having ‘Emotional & Behavioural Difficulties’ (EBD) if you want to dig a little deeper and understand what this means we’re talking about behaviours or emotional responses that would be commonly be considered well erm unacceptable. Of course, in turn this may have an undesirable influence on the individuals outcomes in life. EBD is also referred to as ‘Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties’ (SEBD). The terms are a general label and it must be remembered as with all such descriptions every person attached to one is unique.
OK, working in this area can be challenging for all concerned, including the young person. You may come to expect the occasional occasional ‘headache’ but it’s worth remembering these difficulties may have prohibited the young person from undertaking many activities and with such missed opportunities It really is worth understanding their position and doing everything we can to help
Understanding What type of behaviour might this include?
Some of the characteristics of EDB might include:
Heart beating faster
Tense, aches and pains.
Lack of focus
Excessive fear and apprehension
Irritability or intolerance.
Restlessness – need to keep moving
Irritability – being aggressive towards others
Increased risk taking behaviours
Where do these difficulties arise from?
Yes, again no bonus for guessing that the causes of emotional difficulties are many and varied, however as a starting point its worth having a basic understanding of some underlying difficulties to as a starting point of how best to help
Attachment Disorders. Attachment is the profound association founded between a child and parent it forms as the basis of the child’s ability to articulate emotions and foster relationships. A child with attachment disorder is often unable to construct relationships with meaning. This can have an adverse reaction on their behaviour and so the child may exhibit unwanted actions such as absenteeism or aggression.
Anxiety Disorders. This its self covers a broad range of difficulties. Anxiety is a normal part of life -It is the most elementary of all emotions. We need to appreciate why it happens and what the indicators are. Yes, anxiety can feel horrid but it does have its place.
Temporary anxiety, when reacting to circumstance, is often known as the ‘fight or flight’ response its roots are very primal back and go back when we needed to respond to very real dangerous situations. When a young person is feeling anxiety or fear over a prolonged period of time this may present challenges it is possible young people in this group are prone to panic attacks and experience physical symptoms such as stomach ache or sickness. Those experiencing high levels of anxiety may demonstrate inappropriate emotional reactions, for example unexpected laughter or outpourings of emotion
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder with this condition the young person can take part in repeated and continual obsessions or compulsions. Examples may comprise of repetitive hand washing, checking doors are locked or cleaning. The compulsion to perform these activities can be so strong it may interfere with other aspects of the young person’s life or in extreme cases challenge their safety.
What can be done?
If you take the time to image how difficult it is to experience these difficulties we can start from a place of understanding and
One of the keys to overcoming these barriers to a young person’s success is ensuring they are able to interact securely. In my experience a young person with these difficulties will often feel more comfortable in groups with well-known classmates, safe in the knowledge that additional support can be provided. Think wisely thought-out group settings or one-to-one activities
Provide clear structured routines and instructions, everyone knows what to expect feels fairly treated and supported in reaching their goals
Specialist approaches are occasionally needed for young people with EBD/SEBD. Because the profiles of each individual can be so different, interventions and even medication vary from one individual to another. Thought will always be required as to the requirements and most appropriate action for each young person.
The careful use of monitoring and targeting can be valuable in these situations, and this need not necessarily be dry and formalised either. Simply having a regular conversation can help to keep track of how a young person feels and keep the door open to spot patterns and triggers. Of course formal planning will be used at some stage many young people will have IEP’s and Objectives generated in their EHCP’s
4. Make clear the expectations and rules
Do you have this conversation? It might seem obvious that we shouldn’t throw books and whilst wailing, but clearly outlining the rules of any organisation and letting everyone know why our best conduct is needed is valuable. Especially if it’s clear that everyone is trying their utmost to create the kind of inclusive environment where one and all can thrive