Maryland Positive Behavior Support Training

Observing Person-Centered Actions

Three people talking with each other.
Two women talking together while sitting on a bench outside.

Being person-centered involves a number of social skills. People who have mastered person-centered approaches are good at listening to others and sending the message that they want to understand how they can help others live happy and productive lives. One way to improve your person-centeredness is to spend time reflecting how you interact with other people.

Social skills can be measured over time using direct observation.  Asking someone to observe your interactions can help you celebrate your strengths and work on new skills. In addition to self-assessment, you might ask the person you are supporting or another staff person to observe while you are working. The person helping you can record all of the positive behaviors that were observed during a period of time. You can then review these skills, taking time to celebrate the positive skills you are using and picking a couple of social skills you would like to try to increase over time.

Some examples of positive interaction skills include:

  • Active Listening - Responses or body language that shows you are listening to what a person is saying
  • Nonjudgmental Responses - Language used to describe what you observe happening that is neutral and is not critical of what a person is saying
  • Empathy - Actions that show you understand and share the emotions and feelings of another person
  • Working in Alliance with Others – Inviting people to help solve problems, make choices, and work together on tasks
  • Relationship-Building Skills – Actively seeking out information about a person’s views, background, interests, and opinions
  • Being Sensitive to Identity- Seeking out information about preferences people have about their disability or confirming the use of pronouns
  • Encouraging Others to Join Conversations - When staff or others support people in joining in conversations, sharing information, and joining activities during meetings or activities
  • Supporting Choices Made by People - Encouraging and supporting ways in which people can make decisions in daily life
  • Recognizing and Reinforcing Positive Social interactions –Giving positive feedback to others and highlighting what skills are being used

Visit this page to learn more about a self-assessment tool on positive social strategies PDF that you can use to reflect on how well you are using person-centered social skills.