FAQ and problem solving

Select each of the questions below to find answers to frequently asked questions in Behaviour Support.

What if others do not agree with the person’s decision?

There are two common reasons why someone might disagree with a decision a person with disability makes:

  1. They are worried that the decision has too much risk.
  • It is important to have an open conversation about risk and how important it is for people with disability to be supported to take risks and have an opportunity to learn from mistakes.
  • Not allowing a person to make a decision that has risks takes away their human right to have control over their own lives. On the other hand ignoring the possible risks might lead to the person being harmed.
    Risk continuum
  • If there is a concern about the risk of harm, it is important to
    • Consider risks for the decision maker and others.
    • Work with the decision maker to explore the positive or negative consequences of the decision.
    • Explore ways to manage the risk and reduce harm.
    • Offer support and ideas that are in line with what is important to the decision maker.
    • Provide opportunities to reflect and learn from mistakes.

2. They disagree because it goes against their own personal values or beliefs.

  • A person might disagree with a decision because they hold certain beliefs that are different to the person with disability’s beliefs. For example, they may not believe in sex before marriage, therefore do not support the decision of an unmarried person to move in with their partner.
  • As a supporter, it is important to advocate for the right of the person to make decisions that are in line with their own will and preference (their own beliefs, values and everyday likes and dislikes).
  • It is important to explain to others that they do not have right to influence the persons decision or make a decision on behalf of the person based on what they think is best.
  • If you feel you need help to advocate for the person, you can contact an advocacy service for advice. Find an advocate | Disability Advocacy Network Australia

How do I support decisions for a person under guardianship?

People who have a legal guardian still have the right to make decisions about their life. Legal and public guardians usually only have the authority to make substitute decisions about certain parts of a person’s life. For example, a guardian might only have the legal authority to make health and medical decisions on behalf of someone. It is important to find out what legal authority the guardian has.

If a guardian has the legal authority to make a decision on behalf of someone, they should first make sure that the person has access to the supporters and adjustments they want and need, to make more of their own decisions, before a substitute decision is made.

If a guardian has made every attempt to communicate to the person, but is unable to understand the person’s will and preference (their own beliefs, values and everyday likes and dislikes), they must make a substitute decision based on what the person would choose for themselves, if they could make the decision.

There will be instances when a person wants to make a decision that puts them or others at risk of serious harm. In this instance the person should be supported to understand the risks of that decision, and be supported to minimise the risk of harm. If this is unsuccessful and the risk of serious harm remains, then a guardian has the responsibility to make a substitute decision to ensure they and others are safe. When this occurs, the guardian must explain to the person why they made the decision, to provide an opportunity for the person to learn from the experience.

Who can help me with supported decision making?

Learning how to support someone to make decisions can sometimes feel overwhelming. It can be helpful to involve a speech therapist or occupational therapist. They can help with communication and making adjustments so the person you support can make more of their own decisions.

You might want to share this website with family, friends, support workers and service providers, so you can talk to each other about how to best support the person to make decisions.

The Behaviour Support Practitioner will work with you to support the person to make decisions about their Behaviour Support plan. If the person you support has not been included in the decisions about their Behaviour Support plan you can tell their practitioner that they want to be more involved and share this website with them.

What if we are not happy with the Behaviour Support service?

  • If the person you support is unhappy with their current behaviour support service you can support them to speak directly to the practitioner about their concerns.
  • Sharing this website with the practitioner might help you to explain what you, and the person you support, would like from them. If you do not feel comfortable talking directly to the practitioner, you can talk to the service provider they work for, or you can search for another behaviour support service that will better meet the person’s needs.
  • The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission) have created fact sheets about behaviour support, including what you can do if you are not happy with your behaviour support service.

How do I find a Behaviour Support Practitioner?

Click here to find a registered NDIS Behaviour Support service in your area.

When looking for a new Behaviour Support service you might want to ask the following questions.

  • What qualifications and training do you have?
  • What is your experience in providing behaviour support?
  • Do you have an area of disability that you specialise in (working with children, intellectual disability, brain injury etc.)?
  • What can we expect from the service you provide? (How long will you be involved, how often will we meet, will we meet face to face, when will we have the behaviour support plan, can we get the plan in plain English, and will you provide training?)
  • How will you involve the person I support in the decisions about their plan?
  • What is the cost of the service?