The Basics of Positive Behavior Support (PBS)
National Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, US Office of Special Education Programs.
The Center on Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports, established by the US Department of Education, focuses on building a positive environment in schools that prevents negative behavior from becoming the norm. The website advocates for implementing positive behavior supports (PBS) holistically rather than individually to improve results for all children and youth by making problem behavior less effective, efficient, and relevant, and desired behavior more functional. This approach is based on the evidence that “teaching behavioral expectations and rewarding students for following them is a much more positive approach than waiting for misbehavior to occur before responding.”
The website provides information on the three levels of PBS. Primary Prevention is aimed at reducing the number of new problem behavior cases by establishing rules, routines, and physical arrangements that are developed and taught by school staff to prevent initial occurrences of problem behavior (staffing the hallways between class changes, etc.). Primary prevention techniques work for about 80% of students. Secondary Prevention reduces the current cases of problem behavior and is designed to provide intensive or targeted interventions to support students who are not responding to Primary Prevention efforts. Secondary Prevention may take the form of group interventions, peer mediation, or talking with a school counselor/psychologist. Secondary Prevention can be up to 67% effective at preventing future problem behavior. Tertiary Intervention, which is the most focused and intense behavior–modification strategy, reduces the intensity, severity, and complications of current problem behavior. It was originally designed to focus on the needs of individuals who exhibited patterns of problem behavior and has been used to “support the behavioral adaptation of students (and other individuals) with a wide range of characteristics, including developmental disabilities, autism, emotional and behavioral disorders, and even students with no diagnostic label.” Techniques include providing alternative outlets for frustration and developing a behavioral support plan with goals and practices for improvement. The website also stresses that family involvement should be incorporated into primary prevention rather than being sidelined until tertiary care is necessary. The integration of family and school behavior building is the most effective method for fostering successful students.
Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, US Office of Special Education Programs.