History of SUPPORT


Support training has its roots in a training program that was developed for the Department of Mental Retardation in Connecticut in the 1970’s. That program was widely used by employees in State run facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities and challenging behaviors, as well as by private, non-profit agencies running group homes and vocational programs. That training program was fairly traditional in that it provided some level of what they termed “prevention,” as well as a variety of techniques for blocking, re-directing, and restraining aggressive or self-injurious adults.

In the mid-1980’s, State employees requested a more intrusive program as there was a significant percentage of staff who were injured when interacting with aggressive individuals. A number of smaller private agencies, however, felt that the issue was less that the physical techniques were not effective, but that more emphasis wasn’t put on the prevention of behavior and on providing staff with de-escalation training (and therefore had no interest in moving to a more restrictive model). In transitioning to the new program, the State allowed an agency to take over the old program as long as the name was changed and that the techniques were reviewed and revised to make them safer and more effective. 

This was when Rob Davis, who was working for a large agency that was providing behaviorally-based services to individuals with developmental disabilities and challenging behaviors who were transitioning from institutional living to smaller group home settings, took control of the program and re-named it Support Training. Having received training in behavior analysis, Rob, in consultation with other behaviorists and direct care staff, began to dismantle the original training program. A much greater emphasis was placed on the teaching of skills and the creation of environments where individuals were less likely to exhibit challenging behaviors. Sections were created to teach staff about why individuals acted the way they did and why it is our job to teach and support them, not to be angry at them for their behaviors. The de-escalation component was expanded upon and all of the techniques were either revised to make them safer and more effective or removed entirely from the program. 

For much of the next 40 years, Rob has worked with BCBA’s, Psychologists, OT’s/PT’s, Speech Pathologists, Paraprofessionals, Teachers, Direct Care Staff.

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