Positive Behavior Support Plans

A positive behavior support plan looks carefully at someone’s behavior and figures out what might need to change in his/her schedule or home or work environment. It will provide information about how you should support them and respond when the behavior occurs. It also determines what new behavior the person could use to get what he/she needs and wants, and how to teach the person the new, acceptable behavior. Positive behavior support plans are designed to help all of the staff in the person’s life to respond in the same way. Just as you may not like the same things day after day, PBS plans need to change over time to meet the person’s needs in order to remain effective.

Writing a Behavior Support Plan will not be one of your responsibilities as a DSP. However, the professional who does develop the PBS plan will need to seek your help in trying to figure why the behavior is occurring. If you regularly support the person, you may be an expert on the ways he/she behaves, and your input is extremely valuable to the person who is developing the plan. You may be asked to provide some information in order to help pinpoint the purpose of the behavior and when the behavior occurs. You should think about:

  • what is going on around the person at the time?
  • who else is present?
  • what happens immediately after the behavior occurs?

Other Important Things to Remember about Challenging Behaviors

There are certain behaviors that may be irritating to us, but, sometimes, if a behavior does not harm anyone, it may be best to ignore it.

Some people with disabilities lead extremely lonely lives. Can you imagine what your life would be like if you had no one in your life who was available to listen to you or provide you with attention? It’s very important that everyone knows that there is some time in each day where they can receive unconditional attention. Providing people with attention may eliminate their need to use negative attention-getting behaviors.

When behavior places anyone in danger, ensuring safety and decreasing risk are most important. Staff should not try to teach desired behaviors during a time when dangerous behavior is occurring. Discipline is intended to teach, not punish. When a dangerous behavior is happening, it is not a teachable moment! It’s more important for everyone to be safe and calm.

Some things that you can do to best support people who are expressing themselves using unusual or disturbing behavior are listed on the following two pages.