Identifying anxiety triggers in ‘challenging behaviour’

Aidan has a learning disability and used to suffer from extreme anxiety.


Over time, and through trial and error, his support team and family have learned to understand what’s important to him, what triggers behaviour that challenges and how to support him well.

By taking time to observe Aidan – his routines, instances of distressed behaviour and possible causes – his team now better understand his needs. Fewer staff, predictable shift patterns and only male support workers have all helped reduce his anxieties and, in turn, behaviour that challenges.

Aidan benefits from control over his morning and evening routines. The unpredictability that came with sharing a home with other people was detrimental to his peace of mind. Aidan has now moved into his own home where he enjoys his independence in a bungalow with a garden and space for his mobility vehicle.

Aidan’s four Dimensions staff were recruited using best practice person-centred methods including input from Aidan himself. Aidan now has a structured morning, afternoon and evening routine and is supported on a 1:1 basis at all times. The person who starts the shift with Aidan is the person who sleeps at his home – this has proved to be very reassuring for Aidan.

His behaviour of distress has reduced dramatically and his confidence has grown. Aidan gets out and about every afternoon, enjoying a range of activities including hydrotherapy, horse riding, dog walking and shopping.

Aidan and his family are closer now, too. Seeing his parents was often a trigger for behaviour that challenges. Now, he visits them and is relaxed in their company.