A guide to understanding Positive Behaviour Support

Positive Behaviour Support is an approach that helps reduce or manage behaviours of concern.

Positive Behaviour Support is an evidence-based framework that focuses on reducing behaviours of concern while supporting an individual’s needs and improving their quality of life. Practitioners will work closely with the participant and their caregivers to develop plans and strategies that can help them prepare for school, integrate into the workforce and participate in social activities. It’s an approach that will help them live the best life possible.

Positive Behaviour Support is a relatively new way of delivering disability support services, so in this blog, we’re going to focus on what it is, how it works and how it can be implemented. Alternatively, if you’d prefer to speak to us directly and make an enquiry, please feel free to get in touch!

What is Positive Behaviour Support?

Positive Behaviour Support helps people experiencing behavioural difficulties. The first step is assessment, during which practitioners figure out what triggers a person’s challenging behaviours, learn what behaviours are to be expected and develop new ways to both prevent issues from arising and effectively manage them when they do.

When we refer to “challenging behaviour”, we mean things that persistently put the physical safety of others at risk, cause difficulties in social settings and limit the person’s ability to achieve their goals and join the community. Positive Behaviour Support practitioners acknowledge that these behaviours occur for a reason. For example, these behaviours might be something a person has learned because of a past experience, a response to the behaviours of other people or a reaction to something in their environment. They’re often linked to feelings of stress and vulnerability.

At its simplest, Positive Behaviour Support is designed to give each person and their caregivers the tools they need to cope with these situations in a positive way. It’s built on a relationship of mutual trust and respect that acknowledges diversity and promotes equal opportunity.

Approaches to supporting Positive Behaviour

Positive Behaviour Support practitioners develop strategies to encourage positive behaviour change. That includes working with the participant and their caregivers to better anticipate their needs, improve communication, and teach everyone the skills necessary to cope with challenging behaviours. There are three key steps to this process:

1.     Functional behaviour assessment

This is the analysis phase. Practitioners will talk to the participant and their caregivers about the challenging behaviour to find out what they look like when they occur and what causes them. A big part of this is asking questions and looking for patterns. During this phase, they’ll start thinking about what skills the person and their caregivers will require to better support their needs and what changes might need to be made to their home and routine to make sure they always feel safe and supported.

2.     Functional behaviour plan development

Positive behaviour support plans summarise the approach the individual and their caregivers will take to prevent and manage challenging behaviours. We’ll discuss this further in a moment, but the important thing to know is that these plans are tailored to the needs of each individual and ensures that everyone is on the same page when it comes to the individual’s care.

3.     Ongoing training and monitoring

Once a plan is in place, the Positive Behaviour Support practitioner will check in regularly to ensure the plan is working and that everyone is feeling safe and supported moving forward. This is an ongoing process that requires honest communication among those involved. Practitioners will also modify the plan to reflect the changing nature of the person’s needs to ensure they are able to achieve their goals.

What is a Positive Behaviour Support plan?

A Positive Behaviour Support Plan is a guide to help a participant manage behaviours of concern. It outlines what typically causes an individual’s challenging behaviours, what strategies will best support their needs, and a progressive plan to improve their quality of life. It should also reference all the disability services and health services you need and discuss ways they can work together to best serve their needs.

It’s essential that each support plan explains what restrictive practices are currently in place and how their use can be reduced or eliminated as you progress. This includes guidelines for practices that restrict a person’s freedom, for example, physical restraint, which must be strictly followed by all caregivers. Respect is a core pillar of this approach and the overarching goal will always be to ensure the individual’s safety as well as the safety of the people around them.

What are some Positive Behaviour Support strategies?

Positive Behaviour Support takes a person-centred approach. That’s why practitioners use assessment-based interventions and include everyone involved in the participant’s care in the process.

Behaviour support strategies can include reducing restrictive approaches, building skills, improving communication, re-designing the environment or changing the way the participant goes about their daily activities. Some changes will be significant, while others will be subtle, but they’re designed to work together cohesively to take a big-picture approach.

For example, helping the person understand what’s happening around them and anticipate their needs can begin with something as simple as creating a daily activity schedule. Reducing high noise levels in their surroundings can help them live and work more comfortably. Trying some new activities can promote social engagement and a more active and positive lifestyle.

The details of each Positive Behaviour Support plan will vary depending on a person’s needs and circumstances. If you have any questions or concerns about yours, remember you can always discuss them with your practitioner.

How to get a Positive Behaviour Support Plan

The team at Better Rehab includes compassionate Positive Behaviour Support practitioners who will work closely with you and your support network to develop a plan that will help you achieve your goals and live your best life. We take an interdisciplinary approach to Positive Behaviour Support. Our practitioners can work with your other service providers, including Occupational Therapists, Speech Pathologists, Physiotherapists and Exercise Physiologists, to provide a holistic service focused on your personal needs. Make an enquiry to learn more.