Functional Behavioral Assessment and Positive Behavioral Support
Though IDEA 97 refers to positive behavioral interventions, strategies, and supports it provides no definition of positive behavioral support (PBS) (Turnbull and associates, 2001). Turnbull and associates provide the following characteristics of positive behavioral supports:
- The student is viewed within the systems and environments in which the student received education or related services. The student is not viewed in isolation, but in relationship to the factors that influence the behavior.
- Positive behavioral support strives to provide accommodations in the system and environments by promoting the student’s skills and those of others in the same settings.
- Positive behavioral support emphasizes creating new experiences, relationships, and skills for the student, rather than focusing on the elimination of inappropriate behaviors.
- Positive behavioral supports are long-term efforts, attempting to make changes in the environment, develop skills, and develop behavioral consequences.
- Positive behavior supports are developed, implemented, and evaluated by a team of educators, family members, the student, and members of the student’s social network.
- Planning for positive behavioral supports considers (a) identifying the student and family’s desired lifestyle; (b) the social validity of the supports; and (c) the quality of life that may be attained for the student.
- Positive behavioral supports are designed so that they can be implemented in the greatest number of environments possible and in the general education curriculum.
- The purpose of positive behavioral supports is to develop a uniquely appropriate set of strategies so that the student can be independent, productive, and included.
- Positive behavioral supports are grounded in functional behavioral assessment to define the factors that predict and maintain the behaviors and ways to replace those behaviors with more productive behaviors.
Gable, Hendrickson, and Von Acker (2001) suggest that replacement behaviors should be selected with care. The behavior that is to be taught should be in high demand in the student’s environment, so that he or she is more likely to engage in the behavior. Observing peers may help in the selection of a replacement behavior. Gable and associates also suggest that it may be helpful to select a behavior that the student has demonstrated, though it has occurred rarely. They also recommend looking at skill deficits as an aspect of the behavior; for example a ninth-grader may not complete his assignments because he or she does not know how, or a student may not participate in class because of concerns about his or her speech and language.
According to Fox, Dunlap, and Benito (2001), PBS is longitudinal and team based, involving school and family. Positive behavioral supports are continually adjusted to meet the student’s changing needs and can become an essential factor in successfully including students in general education.
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