provoking management practices that discourage quality, productivity, and creativity.  When people do not feel supported -- when they feel afraid -- they have a difficult time being supportive. Thus, it is critical that any effort to support an individual  include support for the person's supporters.  To paraphrase early childhood educator Jean Clarke, "A person's needs are best met by people whose needs are met." 

In a nutshell

It is simplistic to treat a person's behavior without understanding something about the life that he or she lives.  It is equally simplistic to develop interventions that do not take into consideration the needs of a person's caregivers.  The challenge is and always will be to build support for the person and the people who care.  When I work with people and their teams, I help them to focus on the development of support plans that include seven quality of life indicators:

  1. Health and well-being
  1. Relationships
  2. Fun and joy (things to look forward to)
  3. Power and choice
  4. A Sense of Value
  5. Skills and Knowledge
  6. Support for the person's supporters

If you're too tired to read one more word (and the people busiest providing support usually are), I encourage you to get some sleep.  I leave you with these four simple ideas:

  • Difficult behaviors result from unmet needs.
  • Finding out what a person needs is the first step in helping the person, and the person's supporters, to change.
  • Attempts to "fix" the person may be misdirected. It is often the "system" that needs fixing.
  • Taking care of yourself is one of the most important things you can do If you can't take care of yourself, it will be very difficult to care about someone else.



© David Pitonyak