Low Arousal Approach Training – Surrey, BC – March 16 – 18, 2020

Presented by Sharon Power and Heather Lavigne

The Low Arousal Approach enables professionals, carers and family members to deal and manage challenging behaviours. The approach empowers the individual or team to focus on the ‘person’ in the situation, identify the cause and use proven low arousal skills to reduce the aggression.

The Low Arousal Approach emphasizes a range of behaviour management strategies that focus on the reduction of stress, fear and frustration and seeks to prevent aggression and crisis situations. The low arousal approach seeks to understand the role of the ‘situation’ by identifying triggers and using low intensity strategies and solutions to avoid punitive consequences for individuals with Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

The Low Arousal Approach enables practitioners to avoid punitive consequences for individuals from a variety of settings through early identification and intervention using low intensity strategies and solutions.

Studio III Canada Training Systems provides a non-aversive approach to challenging behaviour. Studio III offers criterion-based training, working with staff to develop specific skills to meet the particular needs of the service user.

It is essential that the background to the service user’s problems is understood by all staff and that this understanding is used to define the direction in which these problems may be addressed.


Course Participants Introduction to the Three Day Course “Managing Challenging Behaviour”

The ‘Managing Challenging Behaviour’ course is designed to address the sorts of problems you meet every day in your work and give you better solutions and strategies to cope with them. It is not an academic course, it is practical, ‘hands on’, and we can guarantee that it will be good fun!

The ideals of Studio III are to promote the management of challenging behaviour in a totally non-violent, gentle and dignified way, by providing a better understanding and insight into challenging behaviour and by the use of low arousal approaches and gentle physical skills.

Studio III trainers have been running courses in the management of challenging behaviour for many years and our courses are based on applied research, carried out in places similar to those in which you work, so the courses are down to earth, practical and user friendly. We aim to give you the tools you need to cope with challenging behaviour so that the environment for the clients improves and you enjoy your jobs more, hopefully with less stress.

Day 1

The first day of the course explores legal issues. Understanding the nature of violence expressed by people with learning difficulties; your own reactions and tolerances to challenging behaviour; understanding causes of challenging behaviour; an introduction to the low arousal approaches (including interaction, defusion and distraction strategies); an introduction to debriefing (why it is necessary and how to do it) and finally a brief introduction to physical skills.

Day 2

The second day of the course combines gentle physical skills with the knowledge gained on the previous day. Your service and Studio III feel very strongly that physical skills are very much the last resort and no matter how gentle they are, we would prefer not to use them at all. However, being practical, there are times when they may be necessary.

Our research has shown us which physical behaviours are most common and the course goes into how to manage these. The physical skills are gentle, simple and easy to learn and they work very well because they are designed to be part of the overall ‘low arousal’ approach to help defuse an incident.

Day 3

The third day of the course allows plenty of time for practicing the ‘low arousal’ approaches and physical skills together.

The last element of the course is learning the “Studio 3 Walk-Around”. This involves learning to walk a client, who is in crisis, around in a supported and safe way, interrupting the sequence of the behaviour, allowing them time to calm down. This technique of using movement to defuse a situation, in a safe and controlled manner, has the added benefit of not employing any form of immobilization, which in itself can be highly arousing and in some cases at cross purposes to the needs of the supported person.

We must emphasize that the philosophy of the course is not to use the Studio 3 Walk-Around (or indeed any other practice that might be deemed a restrictive practice) where less restrictive options are available.  Furthermore, its use would only be considered a viable option when everything else has been tried and failed and there is a very clear and immediate danger to self or others.  We believe, and have demonstrated, that if we know what to do to better support the client, we can back off and defuse an incident safely without having to resort to this or indeed other restrictive approaches. Any time that we use a physical intervention, be it the Studio 3 Walk-Around or another physical intervention, it is an admission that we have run out of other things to do.  However, realistically until we better understand the function and/or nature of the behaviour, there may be occasions when it might be needed.  The Studio 3 Walk-Around allows carers to talk to a client who has been able to calm down and so be let go of, giving the client some choice and control. Most other procedures we have seen are various ‘take down’ procedures giving the client no choice or control, often ending in a tangle of bodies.

Finally, the trainers will role-play a client with each course member, these role-plays will test the various skills learnt on the course and likely necessitate the use of the Studio 3 Walk-Around procedure.

Due to the topic covered on the course there is an emotional element and people may find some of the role-plays a little disturbing. The course tutors are there to support you throughout the three days should you find any parts of the course upsetting in any way.


Training sessions are Monday, March 16th through Wednesday, March 18th, 2020.
Sessions begin at 9:00 am and end at 4:00 pm.
Lunch and two snack breaks will be provided.

General Information


Resource and Education Centre
14123 92 Ave.
Surrey B.C. V3V 0C7

March 16 – REC 206
March 17 – REC 304
March 18 – REC 206


Cancellations are not permitted past the date of Monday, March 2nd. There are no refunds granted after March 2nd for any reason (illness, inclement weather, family commitments, etc.). You can send a substitute in your place.

To Register by Phone or Email Or For Books and Resources:

Maureen Bennie:
Phone:  403-640-2710
Toll Free:  1-866-724-2224
email:  maureen@autismawarenesscentre.com

Download the Low Arousal Approach Flyer and Registration Form