Maryland Positive Behavior Support Training

Responding in a Consistent Manner When Challenging Behaviors Occur

The way in which people respond to someone can lead to increases or decreases in the frequency and intensity of problems that occur. Positive behavior support strategies are used to help prevent challenges by putting universal interventions in place at tier 1 that are positive and person-centered, and by practicing conflict resolution before challenges arise. Staff and people supported work together to create consistent ways to respond to problems and identify examples and nonexamples of behaviors that do not reflect cultural values in the setting. At tiers 2 and 3, positive behavior support provides a way to focus on prevention and problem solving by teaching communication and making changes that avoid triggering challenging behavior. The Mandt Training system is used in Maryland as a way to address serious challenges consistently when these events do occur. Click this link to visit the Mandt System website.

Calm or Ideal = 1 curve is at isn't  lowest point, Trigger = 2 and curve goes up a little, Esculation = 3 curve goes up significantly, Crisis = 4 the curve goes up to the highest level, Recovery = 5 curve starts to come back down

Examples of conflict resolution include:

  • Actively listening to the other person
  • Suspending one’s opinion during the conversation
  • Validating a person’s concerns
  • Paying attention to emotions
  • Focusing on a person’s needs before moving towards a solution

Conflict Resolution Checklist

Review this checklist before communicating with others to increase your awareness of positive social strategies that can be used. Reflect on your actions after talking with another person when a conflict occurs. Make a check mark next to each type of social strategy that you used during this interaction. 

Name: Date of Interaction:Other Person(s) Involvement

Suspended My Opinion. Waited to share my opinion with the other person and listened actively to what the person was saying.

Listened to the Person’s Concerns and Issues Before Expressing My Views. Actively listen to the other person’s ideas and paraphrased their concerns to make sure I understood the issue.

 Validated the Concerns a Person has About the Problem. Let the person know that I appreciated that they are sharing the concerns with me. I let the person know that I respect them and believe that people can have different views without anger or disrespect.

Paid Attention to the Feelings the Other Person was Expressing. Watching for verbal and nonverbal cues that indicated the emotions the other person was feeling.

Focus on the Other Person’s Needs Before Looking for Solutions. Assessed what the person’s needs were instead of immediately seeking a solution to the problem.

Focused on Present Issues Rather than Older Arguments. Avoided bringing up older arguments or gathering a large number of complains to share with the person; did not use generalizations to describe the problem such as “you always disagree with me”.

An important strategy that is used in both Mandt and positive behavior support is to be aware of and use the escalating pattern of behavior as shown in the visual above.  Intervening early and changing how you respond to challenges based on the level of intensity of the situation can improve the support provided to a person. 

This model is used to help people decide what type of interventions are needed. For example,  it is important to avoid lecturing  or asking the person to stop what they are doing at the peak of an escalating situation. When we are experiencing the highest point of anger, frustration, fear, or distress, we may not be able to listen to or talk to other people. Once a person has reached this peak, Mandt-related approaches may be needed to keep the person and everyone else safe. 

The goal is to intervene early when we see a trigger has occurred and to prevent escalation from occuring. Looking for signs of frustration, anger, and other behaviors that signal distress can help us to intervene early. Prompting and encouraging communication, actively listening to the person, and encouraging coping strategies are used as early as possible to help meet the person's needs. It is also important to understand why the behavior is escalating to prevent future challenges.

Strategies at tier 1 that are used to prevent increases in challenging behavior include:

  • Person-centered strategies (active listening, empathy, etc.)
  • Actions taken such as the Vulnerable Decision Point approach
  • Conflict resolution strategies
  • Use incident report data to look for patterns and review strategies in the future
  • Group decisions describing examples and nonexamples of challenging behaviors since people have different cultural opinions
  • Use cultural responsiveness activities to talk about how teams can be more consistent given these differences