What is Positive Behavior Support?

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  • Written By: C. Daw
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 16 October 2019
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Positive behavior support is a system set up to understand behavior that can be challenging, such as consistent bad behavior among students. Most of the time inappropriate behaviors serve a purpose for the person acting them out, so it is hard for others to understand and deal with it. Positive behavior support is an attempt to understand and help improve bad behaviors by studying and documenting their causes in an attempt to isolate and solve the problems.

The process of changing the negative habits begins with analyzing specific details of the behaviors and finding triggers for them. The positive behavior support group begins by observing and documenting when bad behavior appears, and then compares the incidents to previous notes that have been made. This allows the assessment to show what factors or activities contribute to the bad behaviors. In order to solve challenging behavior, the triggers have to first be identified so that they can be reversed, or eliminated if possible. From this point the group can figure out what the consequences are for the person, and for those around them.


After the analyzing and documenting phase, the positive behavior support group comes up with a plan to eliminate the behaviors. The first step is to set a goal for the person, and then design a plan that will work for the specific case. Along with these tasks, the group is also responsible for figuring out a way to implement the plan. While the plan is in effect, and after it has been completed, the group will continue to analyze and document the person’s behaviors so that they can personally view any changes, whether for the better or the worse.

The actual plan is where the positive behavior support group gets its name. The group will use positive behavior modifications within the person’s environment to effectively change the habits that are undesirable. As with most parenting plans throughout the world, positive reinforcement and change is used in order to reverse bad habits. This group, along with the family and friends that support the person, may effectively change the bad behaviors into more appropriate ones. Good behaviors that are learned in this manner are almost always retained by the person, allowing them to continue good habits and to remove the bad ones.


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