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Mainly as a result of its activities in Teteven leading to the closure of the baby home, Equilibrium has developed a strong relationship with the social services network in the small town of Cherven Bryag where experts from the Ruse complex have provided both training and technical support for the development of new services (Centre of Social Support).

Cherven Bryag has a day centre for disabled children and young adults and the director requested a combination of ‘professional supervision’ (one-on-one support for staff members) and training on the specific issues of aggression, self-harm (auto-aggression) and dealing with the disruptive impact of hyperactivity.

During the weekend of 19th – 20th May, David and Elitsa provided the first phase of the practical training to all staff members (including ancillaries).

A number of mental illnesses and personality disorders are associated with an increased risk of aggressive behaviour. In some instances, people with disabilities or learning barriers may be aggressive as a result of the types of difficulties they experience and / or the resultant frustration. David was capable of profiling a number of the children at the centre in the context of their daily schedules, routines and group dynamics, spotting things likely to trigger aggression and provided practical advice about how to respond or, indeed, avoid the situation in the first place.

In her role as an occupational therapist, Elitsa introduced the ABC method of identifying the reasons for challenging behaviour and led a hilarious practical session on sensory stimulation and (very) messy play. This was linked to an introduction to the benefits of an entire repertoire of techniques including music and rhythm, arrhythmic (alpha) music, aromatherapy, immersion therapy (flooding the senses) and a variety of outdoor activities that can all impact positively on challenging behaviour.

David and Elitsa will return to Cherven Bryag in October when they will look at hyperactivity and its possible causes in more detail. Meanwhile experts from Equilibrium will continue with the programme implementation in the area of professional supervision.