Positive Approaches to Challenging Behavior

Positive Approaches to Challenging Behavior

Welcome to Module 2 of the Community-Based Positive Supports Training. This module describes positive approaches for addressing challenging behavior with a focus on positive behavior support . Positive behavior support is one type of positive support strategy that can be used to improve quality of life and prevent or decrease challenging behavior.

Learning Outcomes

  • Provide an overview of the major elements of tier 3 implementation
  • Define positive behavior support and explain how this practice is used to improve quality of life
  • List the common functions that maintain challenging behavior
  • Describe how to complete a functional behavioral assessment (FBA) and what types of information are collected
  • Explain how a hypothesis can be created as part of the FBA to explain why challenging behavior occurs
  • Brainstorm function-based interventions
  • Summarize the main features of PBS implementation and planning

In this section you will learn more about one part of a three-tiered model of positive behavior support. At tier 3, individual plans are created for a smaller number of children or adults who engage in challenging behavior. These strategies are used to reduce challenging behavior and increase quality of life whether the person is transitioning out of a hospital or other setting into the community, or when there are concerns at home. In fact, PBS strategies are helpful for anyone who wants to make positive changes in their life.

Three tiered model of support: A triangle showing that PBS is implemented with all people (represented at the bottom of the triangle, some people may need some additional support at the middle part of the triangle, and a few people will need more intensive supports at the top of the triangle. the word "Few" is circled to indicate the focus of the module.

Review of Three-Tiered Framework for Using Positive Supports

Everyone (staff, managers, family members and caregivers, and people receiving supports) works together at tier 1 to select important person-centered values (being kind, respectful, listening to others) and then creates a plan for teaching, modeling, practicing, and celebrating positive social behaviors. Consistent responses to challenging behavior are agreed upon and data are used to assess how well tier 1 is implemented.

Strategies at tier 2 are used to monitor quality of life and challenging behaviors. The goal is to intervene when only minor problems are occurring and to provide children and adults receiving services supports, staff members, and others with strategies for addressing these minor challenges. Examples of tier 2 interventions include attending mindfulness sessions in the community with neighbors, learning how to build employment skills to find a new job or new social or emotional skills, or designing an simple plan for improving quality of life.

There are times when a child or adult may need more intensive and individualized support or to make sure a transition back into the community from the hospital is effective. These individual plans are used at tier 3 and may include more than one type of positive support. At tier 3, a team forms around a person to help problem solve together. A wraparound or person-centered plan is often a good place to start before beginning positive behavior support.

In the first section, we talked about why universal strategies are important and how you can increase the level of intensity of PBS depending on the needs of each person. This section will focus on the more intensive and individualized Positive Behavior Support (referred to as "PBS") that occurs at tier 3. However, the logic and tools you will learn about in this section can be applied at each tier. You can learn more about all three tiers by visiting the Module 2 Resources page .