Help needed 25 year old adrenaline junkie looking for fix

I’m a carer supporting a young non verbal male whom is “kicking off” in public. I think its to do with being “challenged” and being man handled ect in public that he likes…at home we tend to leave him so he’s always watched but we tend to go to the garden, so he’s not being challenged… So when we are out and about he gets challenged as he would be out of control and dangerous to others and himself, any ideas of how to deal with his outburst in public or activities that would get his energy down or buzz he’s looking for?!

Many thanks xx

Hi, thanks for posting this question.It’s good to explore these issues on the forum as we can all share thoughts from professional and personal perspectives.

Am I right that you are a support worker or are you a family member? Have you been in touch with the learning disability teams as they have a lot of expertise to offer?

I am posting as a parent of a non-verbal young man who has certainly provided some challenges to us when we are out and about but thanks to great support from his staff team, he is learning new ways of dealing with situations and we have come to learn a lot about how to meet his needs to avoid some of the situations you describe.

I think one of the things that started to help us get things right was understanding his sensory needs as he is on the autistic spectrum.He was referred to an OT who did a lot of detailed work with him to understand his sensory profile.We discovered that he liked deep pressure, as this calmed him and helped him understand where his body is in space.This was a revelation to us.We have explored using a Squease Jacket that you can rent to try out.We also came to realise that he was hitting our elbows/knees as well as his own because he was enjoying deep pressure.
He also finds noises in the supermarket a challenge to him but he has learned in time to tolerate this providing he can just spend a short time choosing his things he wants and then he goes to the cafe for a reward.

I know some friends whose family members use ear defenders to great effect as it reduces the impact of the noise etc. though my son won’t tolerate them on his head.

Each person is an individual and each person’s sensory profile is unique but it really helps you understand how the world feels to that person.

I suspect that when he is at home in the garden he is relaxed because he is not being bombarded by so many sensations that are causing him to get stressed.

Re his energy levels, my son lives with another young person who is very energetic- he is taken for long walks in the countryside each day and also loves water to calm him - things like waterplay/swimming/having a shower calm him.This young man loves the sensations playing with shaving foam too.

I have found my son is very calm if he goes on a boat ride but not on a bus.He also loves steam trains as he loves the sounds and sights and sensations on a train ride.

We also have found that our son is calmer if he knows what is going to happen throughout his day, using photos velcroed to a strip of laminated paper.When an activity is completed we take that photo off so he knows what is coming next.He can see the sequence of the activities and he can also choose between photos so he has control over what he is doing.

You might find some really useful materials on the BILD website about Positive Behavioural Support.

The Challenging Behaviour Foundation also have a lot of very useful fact sheets on behaviours that can be seen as challenging.
I think these are behaviours that are trying to communicate something to us and we have to learn, often by trial and error, to be a detective to find out how to change the environment around the person.Once that is right, it becomes easier to manage the situation.
You might also find it useful to get in touch with someone who is an expert in intensive interaction as this can also lead to great improvements in building a bond of communication with someone who is non-verbal.This link leads to training events in this technique

I hope you’ll keep in touch and let us know how you get on.

Does this young man have some kind of statement of special educational needs or something that lists his difficulties and the strategies that should be utilised to manage them? Have you checked with your manager and reviewed his file? Have you asked his family? I am assuming you are a professional carer rather than a family member from the way you have written your question, and I wondered why you assumed that your client/patient (whatever the term) is an ‘adrenaline junkie’? Have you considered that maybe he is reacting to overwhelming anxiety, over-stimulation or frustration? Is he Autistic? Have you thought about whether the places you are taking him to are appropriate or are they the trigger?

With so little information, it is hard to offer firm advice other than to make sure you know what his underlying difficulties are and what strategies have been recommended to manage them. Apart from that, I would recommend that you use the tried and tested iceberg method i.e. that you look at his behaviour (the symptom) as being the tip of an iceberg, with a whole lot more out of sight under the water (the real cause of the behaviour). If you can see the behaviour as being a symptom that something is not right and he cannot verbalise it, rather than the problem in itself, you can try to find the underlying cause and a way to deal with/avoid it. Once you understand what is really happening, you will be in a position to make this young man’s life a lot more pleasant - as well as your own!