Our Lady of La Vang School provides specialist education for students with intellectual disability aged between 5 and 20 years. Their mission is to teach in ways that each child can learn, in a safe, supportive and joyous learning environment.

The school has a capacity of 63 students. All students have an intellectual disability; many also have an autism spectrum disorder, or multiple disabilities and complex medical conditions.
 
Background
 
Our Lady of La Vang had previously trained staff with CPIs Non-Violent Crisis Intervention (NCI), and this was replaced by Management of Actual or Potential Aggression (MAPA®) in 2016.
 
Following a comprehensive search, our Lady of La Vang entered into a partnership with CPI to implement MAPA® training across their staff.  MAPA® principles complemented the school’s mantra of utilising individualised approaches for students, a least restrictive approach towards students and protective practices for staff and students.
 
Implementation

The initial training consisted of the Train the trainer MAPA® five-day programme for two staff members.
The MAPA® Programme was launched in January 2019 and delivered over one day by the in-house MAPA trainers and Catholic Education SA, Students with Disability, Inclusion and Learning Consultants.

The programme implementation included training for all 65 staff, with the first implementation phase focused on prevention, individualised approaches and the disengagement skills. Staff were divided into three groups with 2 trainers allocated for each group.

Our Lady of La Vang provides refresher training once a semester for practicing the disengagement skills as part of the belief that repetition is important for learning and retaining key areas of learning.
 
School MAPA® instructors are on hand to offer support to staff who may require refresher training as well as being on hand for de-brief after an incident. They are embedded within the staffing structure that supports students and staff every day. Having this knowledge and skill set available to the school community ensures that MAPA® principles are monitored and maintained.
 
Although challenging to find time to debrief following incidents based on the complexities of staffing availability and school hours, the MAPA® trainers aim to meet the best practice approach of MAPA®.
 
Outcomes and Benefits

Our Lady of La Vang has had encouraging progress from its partnership with CPI and the introduction of MAPA® to the staff training programme including:
 
Compliments Schools Positive Behaviour Approach

Being part of the school’s positive behaviour approach by allowing staff to meet student needs, encouraging positive engagement for their learning and the broader discussions about the functions behind behaviour for students. MAPA® is part of the school’s positive behaviour support which focuses on individualised and tailored strategies for students.

Development of framework for staff approach

MAPA® has provided a framework for staff on how they approach situations with their students, which was consistent with positive behaviour support practices and prevention, de-escalating behaviours and supporting students that are experiencing heightened emotions.
 
Communication and Student Focus
 
The school has developed a consistent language across all staff, who are encouraged to review principles for ongoing application. MAPA® reinforced the understanding of non-verbal behaviour and how it communicates the wants and or needs of students in their behaviour. This is consistent with the understanding that behaviour is communication.