Family Support Conference 2012
Dr. Candace Cole-McCrea
PLAYING DETECTIVE: RECOGNIZING TRIGGERS THAT CAUSE BEHAVIOR CHALLENGES IN THE PEOPLE WE CARE FOR AND LOVE.
This workshop will focus on triggers in environmental contexts that can lead to or reduce behaviors, such as rage, aggression, withdrawal and/or meltdowns. We will identify cues and signals that are likely to predict negative behaviors, as well as discuss how we can help reduce the effects these behaviors have on individuals and their families to improve quality of life.
THE FOLLOWING CASE STUDIES WILL BE EXAMINED TO HELP US UNDERSTAND OUR “DETECTIVE WORK”:
- Brian is 9 1/2 months old. He can sit, but did not babble or want to “play”. His parents both work and he is left with the same caregiver every day since his mother returned to work. There had never been any problems with this lifestyle until he turned 8 months of age. Since then, when his parents leave for work, he will scream frantically and not be comforted. He will vomit anything fed him, cry himself to sleep at nap time cry for most of the day. He will no longer rest comfortably when the caregiver tries to
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rock him. He throws his blanket and bunny. This does not happen on weekends or when either parent is home, but only when he was left with the caregiver. He will happily let others hold him when his parents are home.
- Jonathan is 15. He will not brush his teeth. His parents have been trying to get him to do so since he was very young. Even as a toddler, he would scream when a toothbrush was put in his mouth. All sorts of incentives had been tried, including having a functional support professional assess and work with him. Nothing has worked.
- A housekeeper comes to Janet’s house once a week. Every time the housekeeper comes, Janet will vomit and continue to vomit all day. She can keep nothing down. Janet is 6.
- Arthur is 90 years old and recently placed in a nursing home (5 star) due to advancing parkinsons. Though, very
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intelligent, he has withdrawn into himself and will not communicate, eat and responds, when he has to, in a very passive manner. He has some brain damage due to alcoholism.
- Diane was born with clubbed feet which were corrected quickly after birth. She is now 5 and should be going to kindergarten, however, she makes such a fuss at getting dressed that she can not go. She will not dress herself and will hit and kick at her mother, if she tries to dress her.
- Michael will only travel in the car during late autumn until early spring. At other times of the year, he will kick, fight and scream if anyone forces him into the car. Michael is 8.
- Connie is 65. She will have anxiety attacks sometimes in different buildings, regardless whether she wants to be part of the activity or not. She will have to leave the building or she will actually pass out.
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- Ricky was homeschooled until 8th grade. Now,in 8th grade, every morning at 8:30 his mother receives a phone call that Ricky has been put into in-school suspension for aggression and fighting again. Ricky has never shown signs of aggressiveness prior to this time even though he has spent much time in multiple, large social groups.
- Nancy is 70. She always refuses to eat anything yellow or orange. She will also refuse to eat any cereals or oatmeal. When younger, she would scream and refuse to open her mouth. Now older, she will simply refuse and turn away, nauseated. She will not stay in the kitchen when these foods are being cooked.
- Jimmy is failing his junior year of high school and will have to repeat for a third time. Every year of schooling since high school began has had to be repeated at least once even though he tests with an average IQ. His class load is ½ the normal load. He has 4 study halls and active supports. He fails partially because he fails all tests in
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every subject. Jimmy is also an advanced leader in ROTC and has achieved prominence in Leadership camp, Basic Training summer camp, and passed Glider camp. He has passed every test for promotion from basic to senior m/sgt with a 95 or above. He is a flight commander of his squadron and able to lead fifteen 12-13 year olds for three hours on a weekly basis. Jimmy also can not manage daily living skills and activities at home, yet can serve as sergeant, directing young cadets throughout every day of summer camp.
- Don is 32 and lives with a new family. He has had many “homes”. He has some visual impairment as well as having developmental delays. He is not very talkative. He is a big man, 6’3” and can be very intimidating, which helps him get his way. Every day before lunch, Don goes into his room and throws the furniture, screaming and cussing. The family has called the police often out of fear. They cannot calm him down. All they figure to do, is to shut his door until the police come. They report that if this continues, they will have to have him move again.
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Dr. Candace Cole-McCrea lives in New Hampshire. She is a retired professor who works with persons who have experienced disease, trauma, disability, mental illness, addiction, violence and convicted felons. She writes and consults on recovery and quality of life, relying primarily on Gandhianism, Quakerism, Logotherapy, and her Iroquois heritage. Her services are offered free of charge to those who need. She uses a wheelchair, was herself blind and physically and psychically victimized for many years but has learned how to use her challenges to enrich life. She is also the adoptive mother of a son with autism/fetal alcohol syndrome who has achieved far beyond any prognosis. She can be reached at raptorscalling.inc. or through email at email@example.com and is available through Second Life, Skype, and Google Plus for those at a distance. She can also be reached at 603 652-7594.
(The font has been enlarged in this handout in respect of those who may be visually impaired.)