What is a positive behaviour support plan?

A Positive Behaviour Support Plan is a guide to help a participant manage behaviours of concern.

A Positive Behaviour Support Plan is a professional document that gives a step-by-step guide to help a participant’s carers, parents or support staff identify the best way to help the participant prevent behaviours of concern and learn new skills within their environment. Behaviours of concern include harmful or disruptive behaviour that an individual causes to themselves or to the people and environment around them, such as self-injury or property damage.

Positive behaviour support or PBS is an evidence-based and person-centred approach used to understand why an individual may engage in behaviours of concern. PBS uses a holistic approach and involves family members, carers, professionals and providers to support the participant. This approach is designed to help them develop the strategies they need to achieve their goals and live the life they want.

How do Positive Behaviour Support Plans work?

Positive Behaviour Support Plans are developed with the help of behaviour support practitioners, who conduct a functional assessment before coming up with strategies. The strategies may be:

  • proactive strategies to make sure the person has got what they need, and work on teaching the individual and those around them communication and life skills they will need in everyday situations
  • reactive strategies to keep a person and the people around them safe from harm in situations where they are more likely to display behaviours of concern

The aim is to safeguard the dignity of people with a disability who require specialist behaviour support.

Good plans focus not just on the behaviours of concern, but key ways to help the person learn better, get what they need and live a good life. They’re created under the Positive Behaviour Support Capability Framework, and based on contemporary evidence-based practice. Each Positive Behaviour Support Plan is unique, and tailored to the needs of that specific person, to take into account the diverse needs of people with disabilities.

What’s an example of a Positive Behaviour Support Plan at work?

For example, a person with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) might find it stressful if they are going on a car journey and they don’t know where they are going. Early warning signs could include looking tense or rocking back and forth.

Early intervention to manage this behaviour could include communicating exactly where the car is going and reminding the person along the way, taking familiar roads where possible, and providing a running commentary. You can also talk about the experience at the end, after arriving at your destination.

What do Positive Behaviour Support Plans achieve?

Positive behaviour support looks different for every person. They take a range of factors into consideration in recommending interventions, and will work towards goals like:

  • identifying causes of behaviours of concern
  • focusing on individual capacity-building and skill development
  • reducing and eliminating the use of restrictive practices, or practices that limit a person’s movement or independence
  • regular monitoring of interventions to ensure effectiveness of strategies
  • training family, carers, and support workers to better support the individual

The most important thing, in every case, is that the Positive Behaviour Support Plan works to improve a person’s quality of life. Managing behaviours of concern is a team effort.

Who creates a Positive Behaviour Support Plan?

Effective behaviour support plans take a holistic view of each person’s needs, which means it’s ideal to take an interdisciplinary approach to behavioural intervention. It’s important to work closely with the person, as well as their families and carers, to create a realistic plan that focuses on the right kind of capacity building to help improve quality of life.

Positive Behaviour Support Plans are created with input from a range of health practitioners, including:

  • Occupational Therapists
  • Speech Pathologists
  • Physiotherapists

The goal is to make sure each person’s behaviour support plan takes their physical, emotional, spiritual, and family wellbeing into account in making recommendations, to ensure change is sustainable.

How can I get a Positive Behaviour Support Plan?

The best way to get a Positive Behaviour Support Plan is to talk to Allied Health practitioners, like those at Better Rehab. After a thorough assessment, they can help you develop a Positive Behaviour Support Plan that can be used in all the settings the person goes to: home, school, day services, respite and on holiday. Everyone who is involved in supporting the person with disability should follow the same plan.

Remember, it’s not set in stone. After a while, you’ll be able to see what’s working well, and what’s not, and talk to your healthcare providers about making changes as necessary. It’s a great tool to help people work together with a common goal of improving someone’s life.

Do you require a Positive Behaviour Support Practitioner?

If you or someone you know are funded through NDIS and seeking Positive Behaviour Support, click here for more information about working with a Positive Behaviour Support Practitioner. They’re here to help people of all ages living with a disability to live their best lives.