Positive Approaches to Challenging Behavior

Creating Planning that Works for Each Person

Positive behavior support involves forming a team of people who work alongside a child or adult to make changes in everyday routines and settings. The child or adult and their team identify the types of personal growth that will improve quality of life and decrease challenging behaviors. PBS plans are led by a child or adult who is interested in creating new ways to address the concerns they have about the challenges they are experiencing. The adult or child chooses who will attend meetings and helps define how the meetings are organized. Some situations are more complicated and will require people who may not have been invited by the person to be involved in the planning process. In these situations, flexible problem solving is needed to ensure communication across services 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 are needed cn 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 adult 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 has said that she will not attend any of these transition meetings. Anchalli's past experiences in meetings have been negative. She “doesn’t trust those people because they do not get it.” To address her concerns, Anchalli's case manager and her mother met with Anchalli to talk about the different ways that they could proceed.

During the meeting with her case manager and mother, Anchali chose someone that she trusts who she will work with her closely 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 and appointed Janelle to speak on her behalf at the meeting. Janelle brought decisions that needed to be made to Anchali so that she could decide how to move forward. 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 the next follow-up wraparound plan meeting, Anchali felt more confident and decided to attend the meeting herself. Anchalli chose additional people who would be involved in this meeting. She created invitations to the wraparound planning day using a 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, Anchali offered to schedule a small online meeting with Janelle attending as well for support.

  • 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