Positive Approaches to Challenging Behavior

Creating Planning that Works for Each Person

A natural step in PBS is to form a team of people who will help a child or adult create a plan for making positive changes to the environment and to identify the types of personal growth that will improve quality of life and decrease challenging behaviors. PBS plans are led by the child or adult who is interested in creating a way to address concerns related to challenging behavior. The adult or child chooses who will attend meetings to address positive behavior support plans and helps define other features of the meeting. However, some situations are more complicated and will require people who may not have been invited by the child or adult to be directly involved in the planning process. In these situations, flexible problem solving is needed to ensure communication is successful. For example, transitions from a hospital setting into foster care, situations where a child or adult may need support from mental health and other disability services, and situations where multiple positive supports may be needed will increase the number of professionals who need to be part of coordinated services.

Young woman is on her computer.

Anchali’s Story

Anchali is a young autistic person with a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder and depression. Anchali was recently hospitalized due to a suicide attempt that was interrupted by her foster mother. Anchali will be transitioning back to her foster home soon and the team felt that it would be important to identify the types of positive supports that will be important to support her. Anchali is not interested in sitting with a large group of people she doesn't know well and says she will not attend any transition meetings. Anchalli has bad experiences in these types of large meetings and “doesn’t trust those people because they do not get it.” To address this concern, Anchali, her case manager and her mother met to talk about the different ways that they could proceed.

First, Anchali chose someone that she trusts who she will work with closely to begin working on a wraparound plan. Anchali picked a professional she knew who she had met when she was in another foster care setting named Janelle. Janelle has been trained to facilitate wraparound plans and PBS plans. Instead of setting up a large group meeting, Anchali chose to work on a plan with Janelle and then to meet with key people involved in her transition individually. Anchali approved of a plan for the key professionals to meet without her with Janelle speaking on her behalf at the meeting share decisions Janelle had made as part of the wraparound planning process. The team met regularly to ensure the transition was successful while Janelle coordinated as a point person with Anchali.

When it came time to schedule a follow-up wraparound plan meeting, Anchali felt more confident to attend a large meeting and chose the people who would be involved in this process and created the invitations using the graphic design program on her computer. The meeting was held in a private room at her favorite restaurant. When a key person was not invited, the team came up with a plan for a smaller meeting with Anchalli and that person to meet in a smaller meeting with Janelle present.

  • Child or adult who will benefit from a plan
  • Family members and caregivers
  • Administrators
  • Residential and employment staff members
  • Supervisors and/or managers
  • Case managers
  • Professionals with a background in key positive supports
  • Educators and/or paraprofessionals
  • Occupational therapists, speech language pathologists and other professionals
  • Psychologist, applied behavior analyst, mental health professional
  • Friends, extended family, and other community members