Community-Based Positive Supports

Using Fidelity of Implementation in Different Ways to Make Sure Positive Supports are Implemented Well

Dictionary definition of "fidelity"

Fidelity of implementation refers to a process that is used to provide evidence that a positive support practice is being used in the way in which it was intended. Fidelity of implementation is used in teams to make sure the key features of a positive support is being implemented at each tier. This type of fidelity is focused on how well the three tiers are being put in place within an organization. One way to consider fidelity is to ask ourselves, "Did we do what we said we would do and how well/to what extent did we do it?"

Individual positive support interventions are also monitored for fidelity. For instance, if someone has a plan that involves several different interventions, each intervention needs to be monitored to make sure the key elements are being implemented. Fidelity can be used to assess written reports and when directly observing someone using a positive support.

When you hear that a positive support plan "didn't work" for someone, this failure can be related to how well the interventions were implemented. If the fidelity data show the interventions are not being implemented, it is important to explore what might be responsible for steps being excluded. Skipping steps in an intervention can happen when the intervention is too effortful, is too difficult to understand, or doesn't fit the values or resources in the setting. If a team is observing positive outcomes, fidelity data can increase your confidence that the improvements in quality of life, decreases in incidents of challenging behavior, or other positive outcomes are associated with a positive support practice.

You will be learning more about fidelity of implementation at the intervention level in Modules 2-4. Find more tools and resources related to Community-Based Positive Supports by visiting the Module Resources page .