An app for iPhone, iPad and Android in which you can keep track of behaviours of concern and observe trends and patterns.
Where there are people, there are problems
When we look back in human history, it’s lined with wars and conflicts between people.
As long as not everybody agree, that the overall goal is to take the responsibility to get along, it’s a hard goal to reach.
Maybe it is not realistic to believe that we will be able to stay friends, at all times. Heated discussions, debates and conversation, causes development, proximity and relationships that enable us to develop. It is important however to take the responsibility to make sure that nobody feels offended or sad by what we say, because that will cause an imbalance of power, and the conversation that could have lead to development instead risk to become a brawl, a conflict.
There are contexts and forms of interaction where there are natural power imbalances. For example, in families, parents are allowed to make more decisions than children. Since they are responsible for their children’s safety, security and development, they sometimes have to stop their children from doing things. Parents are also have a responsibility to look after their children’s right to be children. To enable them to make their own experiences and learn from them is an important part of development. We allow children to make new experiences and take more responsibility as they grow and mature.
When adults give children the right to be children, we also have to accept that children need to make a fuss, say no and in other ways train themselves in their pursuit of greater independence. The parental challenges can be many. All parents who have tried to curb their child’s experience or development know that when we say no, the child can make different amounts of resistance. They can hit the doors, call us insulting names, fight or hurt themselves. The low arousal approach call such behaviours, behaviours of concern.
Thus, where there are people, there are behaviours of concern.
In all families and contexts where there are people, conflicts arise. That’s the way it is. But sometimes conflicts get out of control and we need to understand and solve the problem. Sometimes the causes are obvious and the roots of the conflict are easy to resolve. Sometimes it’s not. It may feel like the altercation came from nowhere. Or it may seem like there are nothing but fights. That’s why we developed the app Behaviour of concern. The app is designed to help parents and care facilities to understand and solve problems. To systematically examine when there are behaviours of concern, is the first step in being able to solve a problem. And that’s where the app can be an aid.
Behaviour of concern is an app that helps you get an overview of trouble and behaviours of concern. The app is simple to use, the analysis of the behaviors can be trickier. Some people might see clear patterns by themselves and can adapt demands or in other ways make facilitations in order to minimize trouble. Our experience is that sometimes it can be difficult to understand the behaviours of concern. Then you may need professional consultation to understand the variety of functional variations and thus how to deal with the problematic situations.
How should I use this app?
The app is a way to track when behaviours of concern arise. Every half hour you note down mood changes in the app. The affect level is preset to ”everyday”, so you only register severe, behaviours of concern and warning behaviours.
Behaviours that create serious conflicts and interferes with daily living, with an average of around 1-4 times a day are marked with red. The behaviour has such a powerful emotional strength that it is not possible to talk about the problem or solve it in the moment. Register the behaviour by pushing the affect bar upwards until it becomes red.
Behaviours that are less powerful in emotional strength, than the red bars, are called warning behaviours. They signal an increased pressure. The emotional strength of the warning behaviour is of a magnitude, that if we try to solve the problem by talking about it, we risk increasing the pressure and emotional strength further. At the level of warning behaviours, low arousal methods can be used to mitigate emotional strength, so we can avoid more severe behaviours of concern. Learn to recognize the warning behaviours and code them with the yellow bars.
What does the statistics mean?
The statistics show patterns or trends in the person’s behaviours of concern, over time. It allows us to analyze and identify situations that increase the person’s stress level and find possible explanations for fluctuations in the person’s mood. A lot of yellow bars can imply that the expectations and demands on the person are too high. The statistics gives the information that there might be a need to evaluate if the assessment and handling of the person’s maturity and level of functioning is correct. Such information is important because, among other things, the person’s own experience of its own capabilities to meet the demands of the surroundings, is connected to the level of experienced stress.
The longer period you register a person’s behaviour in the app, the more confident you can be that it is not a matter of chance, but a recurring pattern. A longer period of use increases the possibility to predict situations where the person is liable to lose his temper.
We recommend that you register the behaviour for at least two weeks. Then you should evaluate the behaviours you have chosen to examine. Are the behaviours still a problem? And do you get an idea of the extent? Then proceed to use the app at least two weeks more, before it is time for the next evaluation. If needed, redefine and/or specify the chosen behaviour in a way that makes it more relevant to work with and easier to identify.
If we want to work with action plans to better be able to handle behaviours of concern, it’s also possible to use the app for before and after measurements.
Levels of arousal
Green – Everyday
Everyday life flows, the person is calm and behave as expected / usual. The green behaviour differs between individuals but is the expected behaviour in terms of that particular person’s maturity and level of functioning. You can say that green behaviour is the most anticipated behaviours, when conditions are good.
Yellow – Warning behaviours
Warning behaviours suggests that the person feels stressed. What constitutes yellow warning behaviours are related to the behaviour defined as green. Yellow warning behaviours are always more powerful than green and more unexpected than the behaviours that characterize normal state. Yellow warning behaviours may include physical anxiety, incoherent language, irritability, light self-harming behaviour, confusion, hangups or loss of specific skills that the person otherwise have under ”green conditions.” Warning behaviours can also be quite different than those behaviours mentioned above. Study and observe what kinds of yellow behaviour you see.
When a person exhibits ”yellow warning behaviours”, you should reduce and / or adapt demands. Give the person space and when needed extra support. Divert if possible.
Red – Behaviours of concern/Chaos
The stress level is high and the person exhibits powerful and severe behaviours that interfere with everyday life. The red behaviour is behaviour that creates major problems for the person and for his/her surroundings, and is the behaviour we want to understand and work with. What constitutes a severe behaviour of concern is related to what behaviours are acceptable warning behaviours. It could, for example, involve violent outbursts of anger or physical violence against themselves or others. What constitutes red behaviours of concern are individual and can vary over time. Red behaviours are always severe and the behaviour that is most powerful in affect strength.
When a person needs help to lower their stress level, we minimize demands, provides space and make sure that no other people are nearby who risk getting injured. Speak calmly and don’t block any escape routes. Avoid physical contact.
If you have questions regarding the app you can get in touch with Carita-Li Smyth, Daniel Elvén and Christian Bergbom at the site pedagogisktkapital.se/contact/.
To learn more about the Low arousal approach and behaviours of concern, visit Bo Hejlskov Elvén’s website – eng.hejlskov.se.
There’s also www.lowarousal.com for further information and resources about the low arousal approach.