Support Planner:  Problems or solutions?


Site Index



Behaviour Management
Support Cycle
Broken Windows
Summary T1 2006
Emerging themes
Problems or solutions?

See also...




Starting with data about problems

Virtually everyone begins with a major focus on tracking problematic behaviour. In the early stages staff, newly informed about behaviour, tend to implement better counter measures rather than actual support. Later on they begin to have informed conversations more like those around traditional special needs students.


Only when staff have got the tracking of problematic behaviour  'under control' do they open up to the wider possibilities and begin to see things such as

  • problem behaviour is just a form of behaviour
  • problem behaviour is purposeful - an attempt to meet needs
  • problem behaviour is problematic in several ways
    • it creates problems for others
    • it creates problems for the actors
    • it rarely achieves its purposes
  • the inability to meet one's needs is can be a form of disability
  • problem behaviour is just another indicator of a need for support just like any other disability.


 And our society doesn't help. As a society we provide extra support for people with physical disabilities and withdraw support from people who 'do the wrong thing': we put some of them in gaol!!


Because behaviour problems are associated with negative experiences for staff and others we tend to put 'offenders' in a different category from students with other kinds of need. It takes time, experience, reflection on experience to get past a problem orientation - there don't seem to be any short cuts I am afraid.

Planning, managing and monitoring support are the key and unique strengths of the Planner. These are often under appreciated possibly because responding to problematic behaviour often seems more urgent than support and schools are used to making responses anyway. Knowing more about problematic behaviour is helpful but comprehensive on-going support is what makes the difference.

Solutions rather than problems

Strong emphasis on incidents indicates a problem orientation rather than a solution (support)  orientation - subtle but important difference. Solutions relate to helping the student meet his/her needs and not directly to the behaviours that are simply indicators of the students needs.

Understanding cause and effect

In engineering situations problems and solutions are usually closely and tightly connected. The same is rarely true in social situations. Of course serious incidents do need to be resolved as well but that is as much about others as it about the perpetrator'.




Ivan Webb Pty Ltd 2001 onwards