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​Good practice in Positive Behaviour Support should:

  • ​Take a person centred approach
  • ​Define target behaviours
  • ​Use Functional Assessment to better understand behaviours
  • Identify Antecedents and Consequences of behaviours that challenge
  • ​Develop strategies and support plans that are informed by Functional Assessment
  • Develop Positive Support Plans that identify Proactive, Active, and Reactive strategies 
  • ​Improve quality of life 
  • Involve family and the support network
  • Be achievable, optimistic, and empowering​

Positive Behaviour Support assists a person to reduce challenging behaviour and increase the quality of their life. It teaches new skills and supports with environmental adjustments to promote socially appropriate behaviours.  There are reasons for behaviours that challenge such as an inability to communicate ones needs, feelings of anxiety, or frustration. Boredom, loneliness, being under stimulated, difficulties waiting, and demands that are too high or perceived as unreasonable can also lead to behaviours that challenge.  Positive Behaviour Support places an emphasis on positive language that is objective and non judgmental.  Negative language can damage relationships and the success of any positive strategies.

Emerson (1995) describes challenging behaviour as, 'culturally abnormal behaviour of such intensity, frequency, and duration that the physical safety of the person or others is placed in serious jeopardy'. He is also defines it as, 'behaviours which are likely to seriously limit or deny access to ordinary community facilities'.  Behaviours that challenge and are complex can include:

  • Physical or verbal aggression
  • Self Injury
  • Destruction of property
  • Impulsivity
  • ​Disinhibition

Positive Behaviour Support is regarded as the preferred methodology for working with people with autism, learning disabilities, and behaviours that challenge.  Positive Behaviour Support is person centred, increases personal skills and access to the community,  and it is widely supported by the British Institute of Learning Disabilities. There is now a significant body of guidance within the field of Positive Behaviour Support including The British Psychological Society's guidelines (Baileral 2004), and also the joint guidelines of The Royal College of Psychiatrists, The British Psychological Society, and the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (2007).

Positive Behaviour Support