SUPPORT Training is a comprehensive behaviorally-based program for teaching staff and family members how to work with individuals who exhibit challenging behaviors. The primary focus of the program is to provide the information necessary for individuals supporting persons with special needs to prevent the need for them to use aggressive or disruptive behaviors in the first place. It also teaches staff how to create positive environments and use positive reinforcement as the primary tool in educating all children. The SUPPORT curriculum provides instruction to staff in how to look for early warning signs of aggressive behavior and how to re-direct the individual and de-escalate the situation before the behavior becomes dangerous. Acknowledging that this is not always possible, the SUPPORT program also teaches a wide array of emergency environmental and physical strategies for keeping staff and students safe until the individual has calmed down enough to return to a reinforcing routine.
SUPPORT Training was originally adapted from an aggression and prevention program run by the Department of Mental Retardation in Connecticut as a way of interacting safely with individuals with developmental disabilities in institutional settings. In the 20 + years that the program has been under Rob Davis' direction, it has been extensively revised and improved upon in a number of ways. Rob has held positions in direct care, staff management, and as a behavioral clinician and has drawn on his education and experience in ensuring that the SUPPORT program truly meets the needs of those individuals with challenging behavior and the people who support them.
The first major change in the original program is that the lecture portion of the is behavioral in nature and focuses on on preventing behaviors at multiple levels (before the person becomes agitated, at the earliest signs that the person is upset, and once the person is engaging in the aggressive or disruptive behaviors. Using data to measure the efficacy of our interventions, we systematically train and apply these strategies in order to eliminate these target behaviors from the person's repertoire. The physical techniques have also been greatly modified to maximize their effectiveness and safety. Techniques that were considered unsafe or too intrusive have been removed and newer, more effective techniques have been added. The third major change is that all techniques are taught to standard and participants are certified to use only those techniques where they have shown proficiency in the training classes.
Written evaluations and verbal feedback from hundreds of participants have shown that they prefer the SUPPORT program philosophy, pragmatic and effective preventive strategies, and physical techniques over other regional and national programs that they have participated in.