What is Positive Behaviour Support and How Does It Facilitate Independence?

positive behaviour support

Positive Behaviour Support is a person-centered approach that teaches new skills and uses positive reinforcement to encourage desired behaviours rather than punishing unwanted behaviours. This approach can facilitate independence for people with disabilities and improve communication and relationships within families and communities.

In this blog post, we will explore what Positive Behaviour Support is and how it can facilitate independence. We will also discuss the benefits that PBS can provide for the person with disability and their caregiver and family.

What Are Challenging Behaviours?

challenging behaviours

Challenging behaviours are actions that can significantly put the person concerned in danger or distress.

They can be any of the following:

  • Verbal outbursts
  • Physical aggression such as self-harm or harming others
  • Destructive behaviours such as throwing or breaking things
  • Other intense responses such as spitting, running off or tearing clothes

For people with disability, these behaviours and responses can be more common and intense, especially when their individual needs aren’t met. Challenging behaviours often serve as an attempt to regain control over what’s happening around them.

Persistent challenging behaviours can curb their independence and negatively impact the person’s quality of life.

While these behaviours can be difficult to manage, it’s essential to understand what they are, what triggers them, and how to deal with them respectfully and positively for everyone involved.

The Role Of Positive Behaviour Support

Role Of Positive Behaviour Support

Positive Behaviour Support is an evidence-based framework for helping those at risk of challenging behaviour.

It emphasises individualised support and proactive strategies, rather than reacting to a challenging behaviour after it has already occurred. This approach can be extremely beneficial for families and caregivers, as it allows them to feel more in control of the situation and their loved one’s care.

Through PBS, family members and carers must understand that all behaviours have a purpose.

When they understand why someone might do something, it becomes easier for them to figure out ways to resolve the situation without negative consequences or feedback. This way, they teach and encourage the person with disability more positive and socially appropriate behaviours.

For instance, if a person becomes frustrated during an activity, a positive behaviour approach might include modifying the surroundings to promote a calmer, more relaxing atmosphere. The carer may also encourage an effective communication strategy to help the person express themselves safely.

How Does PBS Work?

To devise an effective positive behaviour support plan for the participant, the support workers, together with the family and carer, work through the following:

  • Functional Analysis
    The PBS process begins with a functional analysis. This functional behaviour assessment identifies the challenging behaviour that needs to be addressed. It also determines the situations and events that result in such a response.
  • Behavioural review
    The support team should review the participant’s responses over time to better understand the causes and consequences of the behaviour.
  • Plan of action
    The service provider then develops a positive behaviour support plan that includes education, adaptation, and proactive or reactive strategies. The plan is entirely dependent on the analysis and review, thus is unique to each participant.
  • Patient and family education
    The team involves the person’s family and carers throughout the process. They educate them to ensure that they can effectively participate in and support the PBS plan.

The provider ensures that expectations and outcomes are clear and that each person involved understands the circumstances that may lead to the program’s success.

There are many different PBS interventions, but all share common principles such as individualised assessment and planning, positive reinforcement, team collaboration, and right support network.

How Does PBS Facilitate Independence?

PBS is a holistic and individualised approach to supporting people with behavioural challenges. It can be highly beneficial for both the person affected and their carers or parents.

It facilitates independence and ultimately improves a person’s quality of life through the following:

  • It minimises behavioural difficulties
    The intervention should be focused on rewarding and supporting acceptable behaviours. An effective way to do this is to focus on subtle yet consistent conditioning to ensure that the person is comfortable and calm.This way, they can better understand the positive consequences of good responses. At will, they may be able to reduce negative reactions and minimise behavioural difficulties.If they can constructively control their responses, they become more confident in their daily activities.
  • It improves social skills
    Proactive strategies such as pre-correction allow the person to understand the expected behaviour in a specific scenario.An effective PBS intervention teaches the person to be patient, considerate, and respectful, especially in a social setting. They are also taught to communicate politely and efficiently, making them more comfortable approaching or speaking to other people.
  • It diminishes the need for regulated restricted services
    Any practice or intervention that has the effect of restricting a person’s movement and freedom are considered restrictive.These include seclusion and physical or environmental restraint. While most of these practices are regulated, they can be considered unethical in some contexts.PBS aims to reduce restrictive practices as it can further cause distress to the person exhibiting challenging behaviour.

St. Jude’s Positive Behaviour Support Framework

positive behaviour support

Positive Behaviour Support is a proactive, individualised and systematic approach to supporting people who display challenging behaviour. It considers each person’s needs and seeks to build on their strengths to help them live as independently as possible.

If you or someone you know could benefit from Positive Behavioural Support, please do not hesitate to contact us at St. Jude’s.

Our team of experienced professionals offer disability support services, and we would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have and provide support where needed.