Developmental disability covers a diverse group of chronic conditions that include both physical and mental impairments.

Challenging behavior by developmentally disabled clients may be caused by a number of factors including biological: pain, the need for sensory stimulation, social boredom, frustration, noise, or psychological: stress, tension, anger, confusion, fear.  Common types of more serious challenging behavior include self-injurious behavior (such as hitting, headbutting, biting), aggressive behavior, inappropriate sexual behavior, and repetitive behavior.

Because of the potential for physical intervention when consumers engage in challenging behaviors, there is a tendency to make the subject of crisis intervention much more complicated than it actually is.  The key to success in de-escalating a situation and maintaining a therapeutic relationship both during and after a situation is to remain “affect neutral.”  At some level the out-of-control person wants to regain control (or homeostasis) and wants/needs you to demonstrate the capacity to help him regain his internal controls.  Some of the attributes of a good crisis counselor include being calm and unafraid, centered, balanced, empathetic, fair and non-threatening.

The same solidity, centeredness and balance required in verbal intervention is also required if physical intervention becomes necessary.

Tentative Touch v. Definitive Touch

There is a distinction between “tentative touch”, which can excite, overstimulate and further agitate someone, and “definitive touch”, which is the quality of touch inherent with a firm-feeling and secure therapeutic holding method.

Tentative touch in physical intervention is like an uncentered, emotionally charged person engaging in verbal intervention.  The quality and tone of the intervention belies the fear and apprehension which produces more anxiety and the continued agitation of the consumer.

Definitive touch in physical intervention is like a balanced, unafraid, emphathetic verbal intervention.  The quality and tone of the intervention communicates comfort, security, calmness and certainty which produces a calm state of mind and more rapid return to emotional homeostasis.

If your current verbal or physical intervention method is ineffective, tentative or does not produce the biochemical/physiological reaction to reliably produce a faster recovery arc and calm state of mind, you should consider replacing it with a method or program that does.

HWC has been extensively evaluated by leading forensic (forensic pathologists) experts, state policy makers, chief medical examiners, law enforcement, schools, doctors, nurses, paraprofessionals, licensed social workers, teachers, principals, superintendents, state approval boards in Juvenile Justice, Education, Human and Family Services.  HWC has also been reviewed by Dr. Michael Baden, formerly the chief medical examiner for NYS and arguably the foremost forensic (pathologist) authority in the United States.

HWC’s proprietary holding method, the Primary Restraint Technique®  or PRT® is patented for its safeguards to prevent positional asphyxia. These safeguards are additionally designed to prevent any other type of medical emergency.


  • On-Site Training: HWC sends a trainer to you
  • Seminar Training:  Your facility sends people to one of our seminars

For more information contact us:
Tel: 845-255-4031