Professional Crisis Management…What Is It?

March 22, 2016 - Brittany Leffew

Professional Crisis Management…What Is It?

Professional Crisis Management (PCM) is the crisis intervention procedure we use at Cornerstone.

Brittany Leffew has been our Greenwood PCM instructor for about a year now. She has traveled to Sunrise, Florida to receive her instructor certification. Prior to that, she was a therapist for about 2 ½ years where she was a practitioner. It is important to Brittany to keep our kids and staff safe, so having the knowledge of the procedures and being able to instruct others is something that she enjoys.

Phillipe Sallade has been West Lafayette’s PCM instructor since November of 2014. He received his bachelors in Psychology at Indiana Wesleyan University and is certified as a BCaBA.  He came to Cornerstone’s West Lafayette center in November of 2011.  He was a therapist for almost four years, two of which included clinical support duties. In September of 2015, Phillipe moved into the Behavior Support and Quality Assurance position.

In order for our staff to be certified, they need to complete 28 hours of training along with passing a written exam and multiple physical exams.

Professional Crisis Management:

  • Reduces violent and aggressive behavior
  • Designed to use in different areas such as a center, school, homes etc.
  • Evolved over more than a decade
  • Based on scientific principles
  • Emphasizes human dignity and choice
  • Avoids the use of “pain”, uses the body’s natural movement
  • Immediate feedback is given to the individual (letting them know when their behavior is appropriate)
  • Proven effectiveness with lasting results
  • Sensitive to specific needs of the individual

PCM mainly focuses on prevention. The ultimate goal is for teachers, therapists, parents etc. to try our best to prevent high intensity behaviors from occurring. We make sure to give our kids functional communication (telling us how they feel), or placing them in an environment that is comfortable to them (quiet areas, less crowded). We can also teach deep breathing when they are getting worked up. These are just some prevention techniques that we can use to minimize the need for more intrusive procedures. It is so encouraging when a child is able to calm themselves down when we are effectively focusing on the prevention stage! It has been observed time and time again here at Cornerstone where our kids are becoming a participant in their own intervention which means they are learning new coping skills. It is very cool for all of us to see!

When our children have maladaptive behaviors that need more of a hands on approach, PCM calls that a “crisis”. That is defined as having continuous aggression, continuous self-injury and continuous high-magnitude disruption (throwing objects, damaging items around the center, yelling and disrupting peers). This can look different for every child.

So what are the different procedures we use?

Personal safety techniques are used to release a hair pull, a bite or a dangerous object. Some objects that are typically removed would be a pencil, chair or a toy that could cause harm. We also use personal safety procedures to avoid a punch or a kick.

Transportation procedures are implemented for a number of reasons. We will us these procedures to move a child away from a dangerous area (ex. At the top of the stairs), follow through with a demand (often seen in non-compliance behavior) or take them to a safe area if their behavior has intensified.

Vertical immobilization procedures are implemented when transportation procedures breakdown. This means that the child is trying to injure themselves or the therapists. They will stop the transportation procedure and wait for a safe moment to continue to transport the child again.

Brief Assisted Required Relaxation (BARR) is a procedure used with a 2-inch foam mat. We gently lower them face down, and wait until they are calm. If we put them in the BARR they have met crisis criteria. This procedure is meant to be very short. We will remove ourselves when the child displays calm behavior.

PCM plays an integral role in the therapeutic process with our children. When prevention strategies are used, our kids are set up for success. They are able to follow directions, have conversations, social interactions, request items or activities etc. This can happen here at the center, but also in the home and community. PCM definitely lives up to its mission to improve quality of life for all individuals!

To learn more, visit the PCMA website by clicking here.

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March 22, 2016, Brittany Leffew

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