Who we are
Is There a Better Way was initially established as an approach and support to families and disability support providers to understand why people may experience a need to show others they need support in ways that can place themselves and others at risk or in relation to concerns about their or other's wellbeing. We are part of the broader approach of Microboards Australia.
Led by families and people with lived experience, over time ITaBW has become synonymous with our broader approach, firmly grounded by a human rights and body and brain response to stress framework.
Some people may know we were approached to help the conversation about safeguards and restrictive practices many years ago. This is where the name Is There a Better Way originated. We are not focussed on restrictive practices though. We are about human rights and being neuroscience and regulation informed.
The ITaBW approach helps support people to develop a clearer understanding and insight into the reasons a person may experience the need to engage in behaviour/responses that can be concerning for others or place themselves at risk. It is guided by the underlying recognition that behaviour that may trigger the concern of others results from unmet needs or at times just differences in our neurodiversity. It is often a way of expressing the stress and distress the person is experiencing in navigating life. Our response, therefore, being to better understand what the person is experiencing, what it's like to be them and what needs they may have that has led to this ongoing stress. We take a neuroscience and human rights approach to understanding why we respond in ways that sometimes are not in our control and how to support people to feel good, feel connected and feel in control.
Often the needs and experiences of people with a disability and behaviour can be misunderstood, ignored or overlooked. Often, in an attempt to ‘fix’ a behaviour, we focus on wrong things, trying to change a behaviour and motivate a person to do something differently. Supporting a person to have a less of a need to use behaviours that can concern us however requires us to look, not at the behaviour but what might the person be experiencing and possible gaps in meeting heir underlying needs. What would it be like to be that person from within and what is influencing their stress whether this is observable or not?
Utilising evidenced-based practice and lived experience, we delve into understanding what the person with disability is experiencing and the influencing factors, both personal and environmental that contribute to possible unmet needs or impact on our body an brain stress systems. Like an iceberg, we look at what lies underneath what the person is doing to get a deeper understanding of how to support a person’s needs and improve their wellbeing and skills over time.
Positive Behaviour Support
ITaBW is grounded by a contemporary view of Positive Behaviour Support approach embedding a range of evidence-based practices. We are led primarily by a neuroscience and neurodiversity affirming lens, seeking to understand the experiences of people from what it might be like to be them from within. The main focus is to reduce the experience of anxiety, stress and dysregulation for people and to therefore improve their quality of life and relationships.
ITaBW seeks to support people to feel in control, connected and heard.
It seeks to support people to be ABLE to adapt or learn new skills and behaviours by reducing stress and increasing the brain and the body’s capacity to cope.
The knowledge of ITaBW founders in communication, health, human rights, regulation and behaviour support ensures that ITaBW is unique in its approach to better understand the underlying needs of people and how to therefore develop lifelong supports. The ITaBW framework has evolved over time into a robust model of practice that underpins the approach utilised by all employees.
It is also the foundation for the development of family leadership in behaviour support across WA. You can find out more about family leadership through contacting the Side By Side Program at DDWA.
University of Western Australia
The Is There a Better Way family program has been independently evaluated by the Business School at the University of Western Australia. We have done this twice! Once with our face-to-face training program and now with our online learning program. You can access the results of these evaluations by clicking the UWA logo.
Overall, most families who have attended our programs have reported significant changes in their relationships, wellbeing, capacity to cope, vision for the future and development of skills for both themselves and their loved ones with a disability. Most importantly they experienced positive change and felt empowered to continue to create change into the future.
ITaBW is a service arm of Microboards Australia. Microboards Australia provides a range of services to families who may have a family member with disability to develop a Microboard, to provide general support, training, advocacy and to support a sector-wide change to uphold the human rights of people with a disability. Broadly, a Microboard is a sustainable network of unpaid relationships with a strong values-based culture committed to the Social Model of Disability. Microboards takes each network through a detailed formation process culminating in incorporation to create a not for profit association supporting just one person & which legally mandates adherence to microboard principles in person-centred thinking, vision, robust communication needs supports, social inclusion, self-determination and supported decision making, risk management and dignity of risk, full citizenship, safeguarding, medical planning, futures planning, advocacy, governance, and recruitment. You can find out more by accessing our main Microboards Australia website. Just click on our logo and we will take you there!