Executive functioning is the ability to plan, strategize, organize, and focus on details. Impaired executive functioning plays a significant role in behavior disturbances. Lack of inhibition, impaired abstract reasoning, thought perseverance, rigidity in routine, and lack of insight disrupt social skills and daily life. Autism and schizophrenia present some similar behaviors, including impaired executive functioning, often resulting in pharmacological management as many healthcare professionals receive limited training in executive functioning. Non-pharmacological tools used in autism for behavior management include functional behavioral analysis and social scripting, which help to identify causes of behavior and teach more appropriate behavioral responses. Described here is an educational program for healthcare workers in a long-term care skilled nursing facility, to help them understand the basis for behaviors in individuals with impaired executive function, to use these same tools for behavioral modification techniques, and to help patients learn more appropriate social skills. Program evaluation suggested the educational program was successful in increasing the staff's knowledge and comfort level in addressing the behavioral issues that arise with this population and staff also reported less use of medication as first-line treatment for behavioral issues.
Markwick, Laura; Smith, Charlene; and Mick, Diane J. (2014). "Functional Behavioral Analysis and Social Scripting for the Older Patient with Schizophrenia: A Staff Development Program." Issues in Mental Health Nursing 35.11, 883-890.
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