Behaviour matters

This area includes general information relating to behaviour management and difficult behaviour.

Hair and Fingernail Cutting

Guide to haircuts & finger nail trimming


More information is also available on behaviours in young children & specific behaviours.

Dealing with challenging behaviour using positive behaviour support.

Down Syndrome Victoria (2008)
Brief introduction to the principles of positive behaviour support to address difficult behaviour in all age groups. Includes a school-age case study. 

Understanding behavior


Handling behavior

Beach Center on Disability
Good fundamental information for understanding, and practical strategies for addressing, challenging behaviour in all age groups. Fundamentals of positive behaviour support (PBS). The two above articles go together. 

Stubborn is… as stubborn does

Carol Johnson (originally published 1998 Newsletter of Canadian Down Syndrome Society)
Explodes the myth linking stubbornness to Down syndrome and offers more proactive way of viewing behaviour seem as stubborn. Should be read by every parent, teacher and other concerned with a child with Down syndrome.

Wood, Mandy & Gillian Bird (2004) Magic and sparkles: a creative approach to modifying children’s behaviour

Down Syndrome News and Update 3

(4) 128-131
Strategy for dealing with difficult behaviours. Aimed at younger children in school setting, but useful ideas for parents and teachers of older children too.

 Dodds, Susan (1994)

Managing problem behaviour. A practical guide for parents and teachers of young children with special needs Very readable handbook which elaborates the principles of behaviour management with lots of examples. Dedicated sections on a wide range of specific behaviours.

 Dennis McGuire and Brian Chicoine (2006) Mental wellness in adults with Down syndrome. A guide to emotional strengths and behavioural strengths and challenges Woodbine House
An excellent book that deals both generally and with specific challenging behaviour, and comprehensively tackles the wider issue of mental health that relates closely to behaviour issues in adults with Down syndrome. Recommended reading for families and other carers.

 Iovannone, Rose (2006) Positive behaviour support process for adults with Down syndrome and challenging behaviour in Adults with Down syndrome, Siegfried M Pueschel ch 7, pp 69-103
Describes the process of positive behaviour support with a detailed case study which illustrates its use to support an adult with Down syndrome.

White, Paul (1999) Practical approaches to behaviors that drive you crazy Disability Solutions Vol 4 issue 1
Good general overview of challenging behaviour, aimed at families, with a list of considerations for behaviour support and a number of actual examples.

Behaviour – Information sheet

Stephanie Lorenz, UK Down’s Syndrome Association
Aimed at teaching staff, useful reference for parents too. Examines some causes of problem behaviours and ways of addressing them.

Crimmins, Daniel B (1999) Positive behaviour support: analysing, preventing and replacing problem behaviors in Down syndrome. A promising future together Hassold T & Patterson D (eds) pp 127-132
Available from 

Down Syndrome Research Foundation

An introduction to positive behaviour support for addressing difficult behaviour.

 Carlson, Jane I & Christopher E Smith (1999) Finding the reason for problem behaviour and planning effective interventions: a guide for parents in Down syndrome. A promising future together Hassold T & Patterson D (eds) pp 115-125
Available from 

Down Syndrome Research Foundation

Intervention strategies based on PBS with case examples putting it into practice. Intended for parents but also good resource for teaching staff.

Services that may be able to help you

Department of Human Services (DHS), Behaviour Intervention Services (BIST) - provides services for people who demonstrate challenging behaviour and is available for family members of people with disabilities.

Stepping Stones Triple P - Positive Parenting Program gives you tips and ideas to manage the big and small problems of family life.

Signposts helps parents and carers to design a personalised program that suits the unique needs of their child and develop strategies to prevent and manage difficult behaviour. Click here to find a Signpost Program near you.