Positive Behaviour Support

Positive behaviour support (PBS) is a person-centred approach for proactively addressing challenging behaviour. The framework is often used when working with children – especially those with special needs – but the principles can help anyone struggling with behavioural issues. 

As an approach that involves understanding a person’s behaviour and responding proactively, positive behaviour support is meant to improve quality of life – not just of the person experiencing behavioural challenges but also of those around them. It emphasises cooperation n a team led by a positive behaviour support practitioner, together with psychological, healthcare and education professionals as well as family and even friends. 

What Positive Behaviour Support?

Positive behaviour support is, first and foremost, a framework for helping people overcome their challenging behaviour. Any habit that causes distress or threatens the safety of the person or the people around them can be challenging behaviour.

Importantly, people tend to act disruptively because it serves a purpose. It could be a way of expressing pent-up feelings or communicating an unmet need. Regardless, the approach in positive behaviour support is to understand why the behaviour happens and to respond by offering habits that perform the same function.

Anyone can exhibit challenging behaviour, but it is most often seen in kids. Some common examples of challenging behaviour in children include:

  • Aggression: Physical fights are very common among children.
  • Self-Injury: Some children bang their heads or poke their eyes. 
  • Disruptive Behaviour: Some children throw tantrums or shout during class; adolescents may be truant or non-compliant with rules. 
  • Eating Non-Food Items: Younger children may put their toys, paper, or crayons into their mouths.
  • Other Behaviours: Some children take off their clothes, act rowdily, or spit out their food; they may be doing other things that cause distress to themselves or their caregivers. 

The Positive Behaviour Support Model

The positive behaviour support model involves the creation of individualised behavioural intervention plans based on a thorough analysis of the target behaviour. It involves giving reinforcement to replacement action that the person can utilise in place of the target behaviour. Strategies to help prevent unwanted habits and support training for families and educators are also crucial parts of the model. 

Behaviour Support Team Formation

Positive behaviour support in action starts by getting together all the relevant stakeholders. This would include everyone that has a significant role in the life of the recipient of behavioural intervention. For most children, the team consists of family, guardians, and the faculty at their school. Together with our specialists, they will be the key players in every step of the process. 

Holistically-Directed Planning

Planning at this stage is mostly about goal-setting and commitment to a team-based approach. It is also about orienting everyone about positive behaviour support and what to expect from the process. Making sure that everyone understands their role and remains on the same page is a critical component of success.

Functional Behaviour Analysis

Positive behaviour support is an approach that emphasises comprehension of the individual and their behaviour. One of the chief prerequisites of crafting an intervention plan is a thorough understanding of what purpose the behaviour serves and how it affects the person and others.

Led by the positive behaviour support professional with the help of all stakeholders, analysis of challenging behaviour involves observations, interviews, and sometimes written tests. The goal is to note patterns, triggers, and consequences of the behaviour in question. Ultimately, this will inform decisions about how to address it.

Positive Behaviour Support Plan

Based on the functional behaviour analysis, your positive behaviour support professional will head the development of an individualised plan to help the person overcome their challenging behaviour. It is the cornerstone of the positive behaviour support approach.

Behaviour support plans generally include the following:

  • Preventive Strategies: These are ways to reduce the likelihood that the challenging behaviour will persist. Changes in the environment, calming rituals, and new activities can all be part of these strategies.
  • Replacement Behaviour: The replacement behaviour should fulfil the same need that the challenging behaviour was serving. It will be more productive and healthier for the individual and those around them. 
  • Responses & Consequences: These are guidelines for how the individual and other stakeholders (e.g., family, educators, etc.) can proactively respond if the behaviour resurfaces. Positive reinforcement and encouraging sternness come into play here. 

Monitoring & Long-Term Outcomes

Positive behaviour support is an ongoing journey. The professional in charge of the plan will check on the individual’s progress as time passes. They may suggest changes to the plan if something is not working or if something can be improved. Family and other stakeholders will have their parts to play in continually providing encouragement and support to the individual. 

How Does Positive Behaviour Support Work?

The positive behaviour support approach is grounded on the belief that challenging behaviour happens for a reason. This means that it operates under the assumption that your child’s problematic actions are serving some sort of function for them. Most often, it is to communicate something to the people around them. 

Positive behaviour approach in action starts by involving everyone that has a major role in the life of the recipient of the support. For most children, the team would include family, guardians, and the faculty at their school. Together with our specialists, they would be involved in planning for and assessment of the child, the results of which would then be used to create a behaviour management plan. 

Each behaviour management plan created under the guiding principles of positive behaviour support is individualised to suit the specific needs of the person. It would include an explanation for the behaviour, as well as strategies on preventing it. Replacement behaviours would be one of the cornerstones of the entire process, together with appropriate consequence strategies (mostly guidelines for how to deal with negative behaviour, which often includes positive reinforcement and gentle correction). 

PBS was a framework that was originally conceived to be focused on the individual. While it is still primarily concerned with the child, it has now grown to be a holistic approach that involves everyone around them, to create a comprehensively supportive environment.

Getting The Help You Need: Positive Behaviour Support

Positive behaviour support is a framework that was originally focused on the individual. While the individual is still the primary concern, it has now grown to be a holistic appraoch that involves other stakeholders, to create a comprehensively supportive environment.

Positive behaviour support is evidence-based, empowering, and holistic. It is aimed at helping anyone that exhibits challenging behaviour reach their full potential. With cooperation and teamwork, positive behaviour support can improve the quality of life of everyone involved. 

Feel free to get in touch with us to learn more. 

 Frequently Asked Questions about Positive Behaviour Support

Who is Positive Behaviour Support for?

Positive behaviour support is helpful for anyone that is exhibiting challenging behaviour. It is most commonly used to help children – especially those with special needs, such as those on the autism spectrum or those with social, learning, or developmental disorders. However, the principles can be applied to help people of all ages. 

Who can administer Positive Behaviour Support (PBS)?

A trained positive behaviour support practitioner takes the lead when it comes to the analysis of behaviours as well as the crafting and implementation of an intervention plan. However, the team is diverse and can include medical, psychological, and child-focused professionals. The patient’s family, those involved in their education, and even friends are also made part of the process. 

Does Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) help children with autism?

There is extensive research demonstrating the effectiveness of PBS in helping children with autism overcome their challenging behaviour and improve their quality of life. PBS has been shown to help improve school performance, social skills, and reduce tantrums in children on the spectrum.