What is a Positive Behaviour Support Plan?
Positive Behaviour Support Plans (PBSP) have a strong evidence base to support them as an effective approach for challenging behaviours. PBSP work positively, meaning it aims to increase and strengthen helpful behaviours through reinforcement, rather than using punishment or negative consequences to reduce the challenging behaviours. They also work proactively, to identify when and where things may go wrong, resulting in the challenging behaviours, and putting strategies in place to prevent them from occurring in the first place.
It is important to acknowledge, that there is a purpose or reason behind all challenging behaviours. This purpose or reason is called the function and has the general aim of either getting something, or to get away from something. These functions can be classified into one of three categories: attention; activity or object; and sensory.
Through collaboration and consultation with the family, school staff, and other stakeholders information is gathered about the behaviours and the situation and circumstances in which they occur. This is then complemented through completion of assessments and observations in various environments to identify the antecedents, or triggers, of the behaviour and to start identifying strategies to minimise or mitigate these antecedents.
Following the observations and assessments, a PBSP is developed which will include a number of different sections. These will cover:
- Identifying, developing and reinforcing an appropriate behaviour that replaces the challenging behaviour.
- Creating an environment that minimises and removes the antecedent whilst reinforcing and promoting positive behaviours.
- Developing an action plan to respond to the challenging behaviour when it occurs.
Once the PBSP has been completed, it needs to be implemented across all settings to ensure consistency and effectiveness and will need to be reviewed and revaluated regularly to ensure it is still relevant and effective.