POSITIVE BEHAVIORAL SUPPORT
Positive behavioral support (PBS) is a dynamic and collaborative process for implementing environmental and lifestyle changes as part of a comprehensive plan of behavioral support for individuals with chronic or persistent problem behavior. Behavior support plans are based on data from functional assessments that result in environmental modifications and instructional procedures that the person of concern, teachers, family, and support personnel can implement in order to increase positive alternative behaviors, decrease problem behaviors, and increase attributions of self-determination, inclusion, and independence for the person of concern. In other words, "positive behavior includes all those skills that increase the likelihood of success and personal satisfaction in normative academic, work, social, recreational, community, and family settings. Support encompasses all those educational methods that can be used to teach, strengthen, and expand positive behavior and all those systems change methods that can increase opportunities for the display of positive behavior".
Behavioral support planning is an evidenced-based and nonaversive approach for reducing challenging behaviors that utilizes systems-level change and individual skill development. O'Neill el al. (1997, p. 8) writes that the outcome of behavioral support is "not just to define and eliminate undesirable behavior but to understand the structure and function of those behaviors in order to teach and promote effective alternatives." Positive behavioral support focuses on strategies that are designed to promote and sustain durable and generalizable change that positively affects an individual's access to the general education curriculum, community settings, preferred activities, and preferred persons within and across environments (Horner et al., 1990).
Carr et al. (2002) notes that the application of positive behavioral support has several critical features, including: (1) the development of a comprehensive plan that specifically focuses on the person of concern's quality of life; (2) consideration is given a life span perspective that is taking into account long-term and comprehensive change plans, procedure, and supports; (3) application of scientific principles to real-life situations; (4) active involvement of the consumer and critical stakeholders as part of a collaborative process of providing positive behavioral support; (5) increased emphasis on use of socially valid methods; (6) application of strategies that promote systems-level change; (7) a focus on the use of proactive and preventative strategies, instead of using reactive and aversive methods to address chronic and persistent problem behavior; (8) Incorporation of multiple data collection methods for both ev.ilu.il ion and practice; and (9) incorporation of multiple perspectives and paradigms into plans of behavioral support. These features include research and practice grounded in applied behavior analysis , principles from the normalization and inclusion movements (Wolfensberger, 1983), and strategies associated with person-centered planning and self-determination.
Positive behavioral support planning is predicated on an accurate functional assessment. Functional assessment is a term that describes a process for gathering information about the factors that predict and/or maintain chronic or persistent problem behavior. Data from indirect and direct functional assessments are used to develop and implement comprehensive behavior support plans, including data of any setting events, immediate antecedents or triggers, and consequent events that are hypothesized to maintain the problem behavior. Summary statements are developed from this data and are organized into a competing behavior path analysis. A behavior support plan is then collaboratively developed that delineates environmental modifications, curricular adaptations, and instructional strategies for teaching replacement responses that serve the same function of the problem behavior, but are more socially acceptable given the individual's home, school, and work environments. O'Neill et al. concludes that the ultimate purpose of the functional assessment is to "increase the effectiveness and efficiency of behavior support plans".
Because schools are dynamic and complex social systems, policies and procedures need to be in place that promotes positive behavioral support across settings, faculty, staff, and students in our schools (Sugai & Horner, 1994). This method, often referred to as schoolwide positive behavior support, provides a continuum of behavioral support for all learners, with additional support being available for students with targeted needs and intensive/individualized behavior support needs (Sugai et al.. 2000). Sugai ( 1996) has identified four major schoolwide positive behavior support systems that should be considered when addressing the behavioral support needs of all learners in schools. These systems include schoolwide behavioral support systems (all students, all staff, and all settings), specific setting behavioral support systems (hallways, bathrooms, cafeteria, playground, parking lot), classroom-specific behavioral support systems (instructional classroom management), and individual student behavioral support systems (targeted and function-based support). Each of these systems incorporate (1) procedures for teaching expected behaviors to all students, (2) procedures for monitoring and evaluating student progress using both formative and summative assessments, and (3) procedures for accessing local behavioral expertise (e.g., behavior support team or school-based PBS leadership team) so that teachers can receive assistance and support in the implementation of the schoolwide program, including functional behavioral assessment and individualized behavioral support planning .
Positive behavioral support has also received increased attention in the area of family-based behavioral support (Lucyshyn, Dunlap, & Albin, 2002). Specific strategies and methods for providing ongoing behavioral support have been implemented for persons with autism, developmental disabilities, and emotional and behavioral disorders across a variety of home, school, and community settings. Application of function-based support in home environments has been shown to be an effective strategy for addressing chronic and persistent problem behavior. In addition, an increased interest in collaborative family support strategies and collaborative research practices has been documented in the extent literature.
O'Neill et al.( 1997) offers four considerations for building effective behavioral support plans, including (1) behavioral support plans should describe our behavior, that is. the changes that teachers, family, and support personnel will make within and across environments to support the person of concern; (2) behavior support plans should always build upon the results of comprehensive functional assessments; that is. the behavior support team should always incorporate both indirect and direct functional assessment data as a means to understand the purpose or function that the problem behavior serves for the Individual: (3) behavior support plans should be technically sound and include strategies that make the problem behavior irrelevant, ineffective, and inefficient by implementing empirically validated behavioral principles across settings, persons, and lime; and (4) behavior support plans should fit the setting where they will be implemented by taking into account the values, time, and resources of those that will be asked to implement the procedures, including the person of concern.
In conclusion, positive behavioral support is a process for creating responsive environments that take into account the preferences, strengths, and needs of the person of concern by promoting systems-level change across environments and by using instructional strategies that teach the individual effective alternatives to the behaviors of concern. These strategies are based on an extensive literature found in the study of applied behavior analysis, strategies associated with functional behavioral assessment and individualized behavior support planning, practices associated with the normalization and inclusion movements, and values found in both person-centered planning and self-determination movements (Garret al.. 2002). Positive behavioral support has specific applications for individuals with chronic or persistent problem behavior (O'Neill et al.. 1997), as well as systems-level change and evidence-based strategies that are used in school environments (Sugai et al., 2000) and in home and community settings.