What is a Positive Behaviour Support Plan (PBSP)?

A Positive Behaviour Support Plan (PBSP) is an evidencebased and individualised plan that is designed to improve a persons quality of life by helping them to develop appropriate functional behaviour and by decreasing their challenging behaviour. It is tailored to the individual and is based on an individualised assessment of the persons strengths and needs.

Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) is an evidence-based person-centred approach to addressing challenging behaviours. It emphasises teaching people new habits to replace problematic behaviours. In the context of disability support services, PBS can help individuals improve their quality of life and achieve their goals.

The plan is designed to provide clear expectations and consequences for behaviour, as well as strategies for addressing the underlying causes of the challenging behaviour. It typically involves the development of an individualised behaviour plan, the use of positive reinforcement to encourage the desired behaviour, and the use of other strategies to address the underlying causes of the challenging behaviour.

The essential tool for utilising the approach is the PBS plan, which outlines the steps for addressing challenging behaviours and promoting positive outcomes. In this article, we will discuss how to write a positive behaviour support plan and the importance of having one in disability support services.

Why is a Positive Behaviour Support Plan required?

A Positive Behaviour Support Plan is developed as a child or young person exhibits challenging behaviour that goes beyond what you can reasonably be expected to manage as a carer.

A Positive Behaviour Support Plan is also developed when positive parenting approaches and behaviour support strategies have not successfully addressed the behaviour.

A Positive Behaviour Support Plan is developed to:

  •  strengthen the positive behaviours and personal interests of the child or young person
  •  understand the causes and underlying functions of the presenting behaviour, including the effects of trauma
  •  equip you with appropriate strategies and skills to address or prevent challenging behaviours which have concerning consequences for the child or young person, or other members of your household
  •  clearly identify the circumstances under which any restricted practices can be used within the context of behaviour management, and to include the appropriate authorisation of those.

What happens after a Positive Behaviour Support Plan has been developed?

After a Positive Behaviour Support Plan has been developed, a Behaviour Support Plan is developed by a psychologist or similar expert who is skilled in working with challenging behaviour.

Once the Behaviour Support Plan has been developed, your caseworker should review the Behaviour Support Plan with you within the first few weeks, and then every three months from then on.

Positive Behaviour Plan Template

A positive behaviour support plan template is a document that outlines a structured plan to manage and improve the behaviour of an individual with challenging behaviour. The plan is based on the principles of positive behaviour support (PBS) which focuses on identifying the underlying causes of challenging behaviour and addressing them in a positive and proactive manner.

The template includes a comprehensive assessment of the individual’s behaviour, including triggers, antecedents, and consequences of the behaviour. This information is used to develop a plan that includes positive strategies to prevent challenging behaviour and promote positive behaviour.

The positive behaviour support plan template includes specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals that are designed to help the individual achieve their desired outcomes. The goals are typically focused on increasing positive behaviour, reducing challenging behaviour, and improving quality of life.

The plan also includes a list of positive strategies that can be used to promote positive behaviour. These strategies may include teaching new skills, reinforcing positive behaviour, providing positive feedback, and using positive reinforcement techniques such as token economies.

How to write a PBS Plan

The PBS plan is a comprehensive document that outlines the steps for addressing challenging behaviours and promoting positive outcomes for individuals. Plans are created by a trained professional in cooperation with the people involved with the recipient of treatment. Below are the basic steps for writing a PBS plan:

Step 1: Functional Behaviour Assessment (FBA)

Functional behaviour assessment is the process of understanding the underlying causes of a person’s challenging behaviour. It involves observing the individual, collecting data about the behaviour, and getting to know their support system. The FBA provides the foundation for developing an effective behaviour intervention plan (BIP).

Step 2: Identify the Challenging Behaviour

The next step is to identify the specific behaviour that needs to be addressed. The behaviour is defined in observable and measurable terms, such as hitting or yelling. This step is important for informing the parameters of the plan, as well as the choice of replacement behaviour. 

Step 3: Identify the Replacement Behaviour

The replacement behaviour is the new habit that the individual can adopt as a more productive substitute for the problematic behaviour. The replacement behaviour should be practical and socially acceptable. Most importantly, it should fulfil the same need that was being met by the challenging behaviour.

Step 4: Develop a Behaviour Intervention Plan (BIP)

Behaviour Intervention Plans outline the specific strategies and procedures for addressing the challenging behaviour and teaching the replacement behaviour. The BIP should be tailored to the individual’s unique needs and preferences. It includes the specific goals, strategies, and techniques that will help the individual overcome their problematic habits. 

Step 5: Monitor and Evaluate

It is important to monitor the effectiveness of the behaviour intervention plan. It is not uncommon to make adjustments as necessary along the way. This includes tracking the individual’s progress and collecting data on the behaviour.

Tips for Creating a Successful PBS Plan:

The success of a PBS plan depends on multiple factors. There are 

Involve the Individual and Their Support System

It’s crucial to involve the individual and their support system in the development of the PBS plan. This includes gathering input from the individual and their family, friends, and caregivers. Since they will be participants in both the creation and implementation of the plan, it is important for them to understand how they can help. 

Use Clear and Concise Language

The positive behaviour support plan should be written in clear and concise language that is easy to understand for all stakeholders. Since it will be used by healthcare professionals, the individual’s family, and even friends or educators, a good plan should be easily comprehended by virtually anyone that will be referring to it. 

Ethics and Alignment with the Individual’s Values

The behaviour intervention plan should be developed with consideration for the individual’s values, cultural background, and ethical principles. It will be much more difficult for anyone to agree to something that is misaligned with their beliefs. Making sure that the individual and everyone involved are all comfortable with the plan is a key determinant for success. 

Consider the Individual’s Strengths and Preferences

The BIP should take into account the individual’s strengths and preferences. This will help them adhere to the plan more easily, while also increasing its chances of success. You may want to incorporate activities that calm them down, or perhaps use familiar objects to soothe children. 

Ensure that the Plan is Evidence-Based and Realistic

The BIP should be based on evidence-based practices. A key aspect of positive behaviour support is that it is grounded in sound theory and executed via interventions that have proof to back their effectiveness. The plan also has to be feasible to implement given the resources available.

Potential Challenges in Implementing PBS Plans

Implementing PBS plans can be challenging at times. There are lots of different obstacles that can appear along the way. Some potential challenges include:

  • Staff training and support: Staff need to be trained on how to implement the BIP effectively and support the individual in learning new skills.
  • Communication barriers: Communication barriers between the individual and their support system can make it difficult to implement the BIP effectively.
  • Cultural considerations: Cultural considerations need to be taken into account when developing the BIP, and staff need to be trained on how to work effectively with individuals from different cultural backgrounds.

Creating a Positive Behaviour Support Plan That Works

The PBS plan is a critical tool for implementing positive behaviour support in disability support services. By following the basic steps for writing a PBS plan and using the tips outlined in this article, individuals and their support systems can work together to address challenging behaviour and improve the lives of everyone involved.

Frequently Asked Questions about Positive Behaviour Support plans

​​How can I ensure that my positive behaviour support plan is effective?

To ensure that your positive behaviour support plan is effective, it is essential to involve all stakeholders in the development and implementation of the plan. This includes the individual with challenging behaviour, family members, caregivers, and support staff. 

Additionally, regular monitoring of progress can be helpful in identifying areas that need adjustment or improvement. It is also essential to provide ongoing training and support to caregivers and support staff to ensure that they can effectively implement the plan.

Who can benefit from positive behaviour support (PBS)?

While it is often used to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, or mental health issues, positive behaviour support can benefit virtually anyone experiencing behavioural challenges. It is not limited to any age group and can be used for both children and adults. 

How can Positive Behavior Support be implemented in different settings?

Positive Behavior Support (PBS) can be implemented in a variety of settings, including schools, homes, and workplaces. Aside from healthcare professionals and family, educators usually have a big role to play in plan implementation. 

The plan may involve changes to the environment, teaching new skills, and providing ongoing support to maintain positive behaviour changes. It is important to have ongoing data collection and review to ensure the plan is effective and to make adjustments as needed.