Postgraduate taught 

Positive Behaviour Support MSc/PgDip/PgCert: Online distance learning

Understanding & Assessing Challenging Behaviour MED5595

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Health and Wellbeing
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Taught Wholly by Distance Learning: Yes

Short Description

This course will focus on challenging behaviour in people with intellectual disabilities. This will include developing an understanding of the social context of challenging behaviour for people with intellectual disabilities. Students will learn how to undertake behavioural assessment as the initial stage of implementing a Positive Behaviour Support approach, and will learn to use a range of behavioural assessment tools. 


This course is made up of lectures in semester 1.

Excluded Courses





Challenging behaviour recording tool with short rationale (40%)


Infographic with explanatory report (60%)

Course Aims

The aim of this course is to teach students how to assess and analyse challenging behaviour in people with intellectual disabilities. This will include exploring contextual frameworks and causal models. Students will learn about tools to record and analyse challenging behaviour and the course will provide students with the opportunity to develop their skills and confidence in using these tools in practice.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

1. Critically discuss the context of challenging behaviour, with particular attention to environmental issues.

2. Develop and design a person-specific recording tool to measure challenging behaviour in practice.

3. Critically analyse and interpret behavioural data in order to understand results and draw valid conclusions

4. Demonstrate critical understanding of challenging behaviour within this population through carrying out a brief behavioural assessment of challenging behaviour for an individual with intellectual disabilities, and presenting the findings.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.