Challenging behaviours following paediatric acquired brain injury (ABI): The clinical utility for a manualised behavioural intervention programme

Damith T. Woods, Cathy Catroppa, Celia Godfrey, Rebecca Giallo, Jan Matthews, Vicki A. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – Children with acquired brain injury (ABI) are at significant risk of serious behavioural and social difficulties. The burgeoning growth of research documenting behavioural sequelae after paediatric ABI has not been met with a concomitant level of research aimed at treating the problem. The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether a manualised behavioural intervention support programme could reduce challenging behaviours in children with ABI and improve family-parental well-being and functioning. Design/methodology/approach – A total of 61 parents (48 mothers and 13 fathers) of 48 children aged between three and 12 years with mild, moderate, or severe ABI received an ABI adapted “Signposts for Building Better Behaviour” programme (Hudson et al., 2001) in group-support (GS) or telephone-support (TS) format. Trained “Signposts” practitioners delivered the programme over a five-month period. The programme consisted of nine information booklets, a DVD, and workbook. All families completed pre-intervention and post-intervention evaluations. Findings – On an average parents completed 7.92 out of a possible nine intervention sessions (range 7-9). Parents in both TS and GS formats reported significant reductions in challenging child behaviours irrespective of injury severity. They also reported significant reductions in dysfunctional parenting practices, stress and family burden. Originality/value – Overall, the current research provides support for Signposts to be used with families of children with ABI in an attempt to ameliorate negative outcomes for family, parent, and child.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-159
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Care and Neurodisability
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Acquired brain injury
  • Behaviour intervention
  • Behavioural and social difficulties
  • Challenging behaviour
  • Children
  • Family-centred care

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