Peter Baker, Tony Osgood

Understanding and Responding to Behaviour that Challenges in Intellectual Disabilities


A handbook for those who provide support

Challenging Behaviour and People with Intellectual Disabilities (second edition) addresses the need for an up-to-date handbook which, while well-grounded in research and latest clinical practice, is essentially non-academic and accessible for staff occupying many roles



Children and adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD) and/or autism who display behaviour that challenges, are particularly vulnerable to being misunderstood and inappropriately supported, despite policy and best practice guidance. Children and adults whose behaviour challenges are also vulnerable to having fewer opportunities to engage in society, having their quality of life reduced, experiencing abusive or coercive practice, and being placed in schools or services many miles from home.

Many families of children whose behaviour challenges often remain likewise unheard and isolated. The intention is that upon reading the book family members and support staff will better understand behaviours and help to improve the quality of the lives of people with intellectual disabilities.

The book is split into four sections, each representing a crucial step in understanding behaviour that challenges. Part 1 presents fundamental approaches to thinking about and responding to behaviour that challenges. Part 2 is all about trying to understand the messages underpinning the behaviour. Part 3 is about putting into action the knowledge gained through exploring and assessment. Part 4 is reflective in nature and considers the real experiences arising from supporting people whose behaviour challenges and the implications.

The new edition is a complete revision and updating of content, aiming to address key knowledge requirements and concerns of people working in the field, with opportunities for reflection and professional development. The content is illustrated by case studies to help the reader explore how to best to address issues in practice.

You may also be interested in our Ten Rules for challenging behaviours.





This handbook will benefit:

Support workers and managers in learning disability service settings
Community learning disability teams
All professionals who support a person with a learning disability
Family members
Students of mental health and intellectual disability.


Challenging behaviour handbook running order


Part 1: Clearer Values

Foreword: Responding to a changing world

Peter Baker & Tony Osgood

What is behaviour that challenges?

Edwin Jones

Behaviour that challenges: how big is the problem?

Jon Mason

Positive behavioural support

Anne McDonald

Legal considerations

Rachel Forrester-Jones

Listening to people using services

Tony Osgood

Part 2:  Gaining a Better Understanding

Assessing behaviour that challenges

Lawrence Patterson & Jenna Szymanski

Communication and behaviour that challenges

Jill Bradshaw

Conceptualising quality of life

Julie Beadle-Brown


Part 3: Delivering Support

Practice leadership and behaviour that challenges

Roy Deveaux

Building a good rapport

Maria Hurman

Getting the environment right

Sandy Toogood

Keeping people safe – reactive strategies

John Shephard

Learning new ways of behaving

Ciara Padden & Shelley Brady

Cognitive approaches to behaviour that challenges

Stephen C. Oathamshaw

The use of medication for the management of behaviours that challenge in people with intellectual disabilities

Shoumitro Deb

Part 4: Lessons Learned

We’re in this together: supported staff

Peter Baker & Nick Gore

Working together with families

Isabelle Garnett and Holly Young

Working for change: policy and practice contexts

Viv Cooper


Tony Osgood and Peter Baker


ISBN: 9781911028956

Publisher: Pavilion Publishing and Media Ltd

Publication date: June 2019


Tony Osgood is a Senior Lecturer in Intellectual Disabilities at the Tizard Centre, University of Kent. He teaches on positive behaviour support, autism, intellectual disabilities, human services and challenging behaviour. He has a background in direct support work in the NHS and the private and voluntary sector. He is interested in service organisations, person-centred support, family support, inclusion, diversity, mindfulness and communities of practice. He has taught and lectured in the UK and Europe and has written extensively on a variety of topics. His first book on challenging behaviour, Supporting Positive Behaviour in Intellectual Disabilities & Autism: Practical Strategies for Working with Challenging Behaviour is to be published in 2019.

Dr Peter Baker (BCBA-D) is a Senior Lecturer in Intellectual Disability at the Tizard Centre, University of Kent. He worked as a Consultant Clinical Psychologist for the NHS in Sussex for over 20 years where he had leadership responsibilities for learning disability psychology services in East Sussex & Brighton & Hove. He lectures at the Tizard Centre on Certificate, Diploma, Graduate and Masters programmes and is widely published in the area of challenging behaviour and intellectual disability. He is the senior editor of the International Journal of Positive Behaviour Support.


  1. British Institute of Learning Disabilities News and Views

  2. Sarah Leitch, BILD-RRN Director of Programme Development

    The international Journal of Positive Behavioural Support Book Review 9,1 August 2019

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