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A review of the literature concerning learning disability, challenging behaviour and social work.

This literature review outlines the key findings and ‘headlines’ from the empirical research, contextualised within significant policy developments. We have structured this review according to the topic areas agreed with TCSW during the research period. Please note that for ease of reading, not every reference cited in the sections that follow is included in the lists of ‘key references’; instead we have fully referenced important empirical studies and policy documents of particular significance. However, all citations can be found in the full reference list at the end of this report.

Explaining our use of the term ‘challenging behaviour’
This literature review uses the term ‘challenging behaviour’ as described in the Mansell report (DH, 2007) where the label ‘challenging behaviour’ is used to refer to people whose behaviour presents a significant challenge to services, whatever the presumed cause of the problem. Within the review we include behaviour that is attributable to mental health problems. When the term ‘challenging behaviour’ was introduced, it was intended to emphasise that problems were often caused as much by the way in which a person was supported as by their own characteristics. In the ensuing years, there has been a drift towards using it as a label for people. This is not appropriate and in this literature review the term is used in the original sense. Some people prefer to use the term ‘people who services label as challenging’ to make this point about placing the responsibility with services rather than the individual (NDTi, 2010 p.8).