Thursday, 8 May 2014

Story Fifty Five - Baked Beans

I wrote in the introduction to this blog that I was planning to include a range of stories about Steven's time in the Unit - including the good times he had. And after the distressing stories of the last few days, I thought it was time to include a good story. Trouble is, they're a bit thin on the ground, despite the Unit manager saying in court that Steven had lots of good, fun times in the Unit.

The good times were never recorded - I guess they weren't considered important or relevant. I was never allowed to read the daily logs whilst Steven was in the Unit but I did get to see them when we got to court. They were either bald, factual statements ("Steven accessed his community programme this morning") that didn't tell you anything at all, or, the vast majority, were endless, upsetting records of Steven's "challenging behaviour". They felt like evidence rather than logs but I suppose that's exactly what they were.

My friend Mary, who came with me to the first DoL review made an impassioned speech at the meeting: "Why don't you record and of the good things that happen?" We were told that recording the good things didn't fit with the model of functional analysis that the Unit were using to elucidate the reasons why Steven was being so challenging. Mary persisted - "But surely the good things are as important as the negative. If you can see the positive things about Steven, you'll be able to understand what works for him. And then you just do more of that". Simple. But not to the expert behaviourists.

So, for examples of the "good times", I'm reliant on Steven's stories, his support workers and the more human members of the Unit's staff who would share good stories.

Last night, I asked Steven - "Steve - tell me a good laugh from M House".

He thought about for a bit.

"Baked beans makes you do massive farts".

There we go. A great life lesson. Thank you positive behaviour team.

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