Positive behaviour support practitioners are professionals who play an important role in the lives of individuals that need help managing challenging behaviour. They utilise a framework called Positive Behaviour Support – a holistic approach to addressing problematic habits by focusing on understanding their underlying causes and replacing them with more constructive actions.
Practitioners work with all sorts of people that exhibit behavioural issues. They are essential to ensure that these individuals receive the support they need to thrive and coexist harmoniously with the people around them.
What does a Behaviour Support Practitioner do?
Positive behaviour support practitioners assess challenging behaviour and develop individualised interventions for the people that exhibit those behaviours. In particular, the responsibilities of a positive behaviour support practitioner may include:
- Conducting functional behaviour assessments (FBAs): These assessments are meant to identify the underlying causes of challenging behaviours.
- Developing tailor-made behaviour support plans (BSPs): Plans are always grounded in evidence-based interventions and work from the results of the assessments.
- Training for those involved: Family, caregivers, teachers, and other professionals are given training on how to implement the BSP effectively so that everyone around the client can help them overcome their negative habits.
- Monitoring and evaluating: PBS practitioners assess the effectiveness of the plan regularly, tweaking it as needed to get the best results.
- Collaborating with other professionals: Practitioners often work with psychologists, social workers, and medical professionals to provide comprehensive support to individuals with challenging behaviours.
- Collecting and analysing data: Behaviour support practitioners often measure the progress of their plans, so that any future decisions will be driven by reliable data.
One of the core strategies of Positive Behaviour Support is to help people to replace their problematic behaviour with more productive actions. Practitioners employ several strategies to promote these replacement behaviours, including positive reinforcement, behaviour contracts, and environmental modifications.
Behaviour support practitioners help clients and their families develop skills such as communication strategies, coping skills, and self-management techniques. They try their best to empower individuals with challenging behaviours by helping them learn independence, practice self-determination, and develop positive relationships.
Behaviour Support Practitioner Qualifications: Becoming a PBS Professional
For starters, you may want to look at the NDIS guide on how to be considered as an applicant for a PBS professional. However, becoming a positive behaviour support practitioner in Australia would typically require that you follow these steps:
- Complete a relevant degree: Generally, a bachelor’s degree in psychology, social work, or a related field is necessary to become a positive behaviour support practitioner.
- Get practical experience: After completing your degree, you will need some experience working in the field of behaviour support. Internships in the field with a recognized provider will be helpful for your application.
- Training in PBS: To become a certified positive behaviour support practitioner, you will need to attend a recognized PBS training program. Universities, professional associations, or specialist organisations offer these programs.
- Obtain certification: Once you have completed the training program, you can apply for certification as a positive behaviour support practitioner. In Australia, you would do this through the NDIS.
- Update skills regularly: To maintain your certification, you will need to keep your skills and knowledge up-to-date through ongoing professional development activities.
Behaviour Support Practitioners may also pursue further education and training to specialise in specific areas. Some choose to work more closely with children on the autism spectrum or those with developmental disabilities; if you would like to work with a particular type of people, you may want to look into acquiring skills that will equip you to be of better assistance to them.
Who do Behaviour Support Practitioners work with?
Positive behaviour support practitioners can be of help to anyone experiencing behavioural challenges. Many (but not all) of the individuals that PBS practitioners work with are developmentally or intellectually challenged – both children and adults on the autism spectrum often seek out their services.
Because a holistic perspective is a key ingredient of Positive Behaviour Support, practitioners also work with the people in the homes and schools of their clients. Making family members, faculty, and even friends of the people that they treat a part of the intervention plan is vitally important to increase the chances of success.
This collaborative approach is a principal characteristic of positive behaviour support. Working with other professionals such as educators, therapists, and medical professionals is critical to addressing the complex needs of individuals with challenging behaviours.
How much is a Positive Behaviour Support Practitioner salary?
According to the Australian Government’s Job Outlook website, the median salary for a behaviour support practitioner in Australia is $71,020 per year. However, entry-level positions may start at around $50,000 per year, while more experienced practitioners can earn upwards of $100,000 per year.
Your exact salary as a Behaviour Support Practitioner in Australia would vary depending on your experience, education level, and location. The industry that you would work in also matters – those in healthcare and social assistance tend to earn higher salaries than those in education or government.
Positive Behaviour Support Practitioners: A Vocation
Positive behaviour support practitioners can help individuals that require specialised support to manage their challenging behaviour. They work with all sorts of people in all sorts of settings.
A practice in positive behaviour support can make a significant difference in the lives of many people – especially those with disabilities. As the field continues to grow and evolve, a career in behaviour support is as attractive as ever, with new opportunities for professionals to make a positive impact in the lives of their clients.
Frequently Asked Questions about Positive Behaviour Support Practitioners
What skills and qualities are important for a Positive Behaviour Support Practitioner?
To be successful as a Positive Behaviour Support Practitioner, you need to have strong interpersonal skills. Effective communication, empathy, and active listening are all great to have, especially when working with families.
Problem-solving and collaboration skills also go a long way when it comes to crafting PBS plans. Additionally, a patient and non-judgmental attitude as well as commitment to helping individuals with challenging behaviour are at the heart of the PBS approach.
How can individuals access the services of a Positive Behaviour Support Practitioner?
Individuals can access the services of a positive behaviour support practitioner through government-funded programs, private insurance, and walk-in clinics. Practitioners may work for schools, hospitals, or community-based service providers. Some of them also operate independently. You may also opt to ask your healthcare provider or social worker for a referral to a practitioner if you are having trouble finding one.
What are the 4 levels of behaviour support practitioners?
The 4 levels of positive behaviour support practitioners in order of capability rating are:
These levels can be determined via the NDIS Behaviour Support Capability Framework. Professionals can also make a personal assessment of their levels via the NDIS Self-Assessment Tool.