Maryland Positive Behavior Support Training

Summary of Tier 1 Positive Behavior Support

In summary, tier 1, we all need to work together on ways to improve our social interactions skills. The goal of these universal strategies are to improve quality of life for the people we support, our staff, family members, and others who are part of the social interactions around us. Focusing on quality of life for everyone can naturally decrease the need for more time-intensive positive behavior support plans. Provider organizations implementing tier 1 positive behavior support have reported decreases in incident reports, increases in staff retention, and decreases in workers compensation

A triangle containing the words All People, Some, and Few to represent a continuum of supports needed in an organization. An arrow points to tier 1 (All People) as this page describes tier 1.

Adapted from Freeman, R., et al. (2021). Department of Human Services training on organization-wide person-centered practices and positive behavior support. University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration: Minneapolis, MN.

Steps involved at tier 1 that have been discussed in this module include:

  • Form a team representing different roles and perspectives in the organization
  • Assess person-centered strengths and cultural responsiveness
  • Identify key social values and routines
  • Practice, teach, and model social and communication skills
  • Recognize and reinforce positive behaviors
  • Respond consistently to challenges that arise
  • Use data to guide decisions

At tier 1, everyone learns to think about why challenges occur using function-based thinking.

One provider organization in Minnesota decided to keep track incident reports and staff retention patterns so that they could track their progress putting tier 1 positive behavior support in place across both employment and home settings where they support people with disabilities. The team reviewed incident report data from across the organization and discovered that there was a clear pattern when incidents were more likely. By reviewing the data, the team discovered that the most challenges occurred during changes in shifts where some staff were leaving, and others were arriving to start work. During these time periods it was clear that the people they supported were frustrated because they were unable to do things that they wanted to do because supports were disrupted during this time period. The team created a plan to make sure that shift changes did not interrupt supports and reported that many of the incidents occurring decreased.