The largest part of my work involves meeting individuals who are said to exhibit “difficult behaviors.” Most of these individuals exhibit difficult behaviors because they are misunderstood and/or because they are living lives that don’t make sense. Often they are lonely, or powerless, or without joy. Often they are devalued by others, or they lack the kinds of educational experiences that most of us take for granted. Too often their troubling behaviors are the result of an illness, or even a delayed response to traumatic events.
You might say their behaviors are “messages” which can tell us important things about their lives. Learning to listen (see Herb Lovett) to an individual’s difficult behaviors is the first step in helping the individual to find a new (and healthier) story.
I also believe, to paraphrase Jean Clark, that a “person’s needs are best met by people whose needs are met.” Supporting a person with difficult behaviors also involves an honest assessment of and attention to the needs of a person’s supporters.
Another part of my practice involves training. I provide workshops and seminars on a variety of topics, including supporting people with difficult behaviors and supporting the needs of a person’s friends, family, and caregivers.
In the recent past, I have provided consultation and training for individuals, families and professionals throughout the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, England, and the Republic of Ireland. I have worked with people in a variety of settings, including: home and professionally-staffed residential settings, schools, supported competitive job sites, sheltered workshops, and day activity programs.
The best, and most important, part of my life is my family. I live in Blacksburg, Virginia with my wife Cyndi. We have two boys, Joe and Sam.