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Launch of new animation to support understanding of behaviour in the early years and reduce the use of restrictive practice

4th October 2021

The Institute of Health Visiting (iHV), working together with the Challenging Behaviour Foundation (CBF), The Sleep Charity and parents/carers, is delighted to share an animation for health, education and social care professionals to raise awareness and understanding of behaviour in the early years, what restrictive practice looks like in the under 5s, and the importance of respectful, behavioural support strategies that safeguard the rights of young children with disabilities.

This co-produced animation shares the voices of parents/ carers through one family’s journey. This new animation aims to help inform the practice of all professionals when supporting families to aid understanding of behaviour. The animation is supported by a range of new resources specifically for health visitors that collate information about understanding behaviour and using appropriate interventions, and to offer alternatives to restrictive practices. To find out more about these resources and accompanying training to support practice please contact [email protected] .

Vicky Gilroy, Head of Projects at iHV, said:

“Health visitors are often the first person that families turn to when they are struggling with their child’s behaviour. However, identifying, understanding and supporting non-restrictive practice is not part of a health visitor’s general training and there are few resources available for health visitors to help them in this specific aspect of their role. Developing evidence-based resources for health visitors will support health visitors and their teams to improve their knowledge, skills and confidence in identifying and supporting children and their parents in this area of practice.”

Gemma Grant, Children & Young People Policy Lead at the Challenging Behaviour Foundation, said:

“Children who have a developmental delay are more likely to display behaviours that challenge. Health visitors have a key role in supporting families in the early years and offer trusted advice on how best to respond to the challenges parents face. We are delighted to support the launch of this animation which will equip health visitors with the knowledge to support families to understand behaviour, reduce the use of restrictive practices and ensure children with developmental disabilities get the best start in life.”

This project, supported by a grant from The Burdett Trust for Nursing, aimed to raise health visitors’ awareness of the practical and ethical issues of restrictive and restraining practices in the early years and to promote the importance of respectful, behavioural support strategies that safeguard the rights of young children with disabilities. Improving health visitors’ awareness and confidence in this area of their work will enable them to support and encourage parents to implement behavioural strategies with their children from an early age and avoid restrictive practices which can become difficult to change once embedded.