Functional Behavioral Assessment and Positive Behavioral Support (page 3)
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.
Unlike traditional management interventions that view the individual as the problem and strive to eliminate behaviors, PBS and functional behavioral assessment view systems, settings, and the lack of skills as part of the problem and work to modify these factors to support the student. From this perspective, long-term strategies are implemented to decrease inappropriate and unacceptable behavior, teach more appropriate behavior, and offer the contextual supports needed by the student for effective outcomes (Warger, 1999). Positive behavioral supports have several advantages, including the following:
- being widely applicable to individuals with disabilities
- contributing to the knowledge of how to use assessment as a basis for intervention and correct problems in the educational setting, and
- being effective in reducing problem behaviors.
Effective teachers often use many of the elements of PBS in their daily routines and management strategies. Effective teachers respond to the individual needs of students, alter environments to benefit their students, teach new skills, and respond to positive behaviors exhibited by students.
Effective behavioral support (EBS) is a systems approach to the application of PBS schoolwide (Lewis & Sugai, 1999). A team works systematically to solve problems and plan. The members of this team receive professional development in the areas of systems change and management principles and practices and the application of research-validated instructional and management practices throughout the school setting. The team works to secure a commitment to the EBS model, review the behavioral supports and practices in the school, and help develop plans to respond to unique student and staff needs.
There are three components to implementing EBS: schoolwide supports, classroom supports, and nonclassroom supports. At the school level, components are consistent with best practices for schools. For example, there is a common approach to discipline, with the emphasis on teaching all students behavioral expectations and routines. Each school has: (a) a mission, (b) schoolwide rules and expectations, (c) strategies for teaching and encouraging expected behaviors, (d) strategies for discouraging inappropriate behaviors, and (e) record-keeping practices. Scott and Hunter (2001) state that administrator support and active involvement is essential to the success of a schoolwide support system.
The classroom system is an extension of the schoolwide system. The systems overlap in order to (a) facilitate communication among students, staff, and parents; (b) increase the consistency with which behavior is handled in various school settings; and (c) ease transitions as students move from setting to setting. In order to support students, teachers use the following:
- advance organizers,
- productive and authentic activities,
- consistent enforcement of school and classroom rules,
- consistent correction of rule violations and social interaction problems, and
- planning and teaching of transition behavior
Because of the explicit nature of the management in these classrooms, the classroom support system is helpful to students at risk for behavior problems.
Nonclassroom supports are also an extension of the schoolwide system. In addition to responding to the needs of students outside the classroom (i.e., hallways, gym, cafeteria, library, office, bus), instruction is implemented to teach students the expectations for behavior in each setting. The team analyzes the specific settings and activities to assess the routines and physical characteristics of the settings and activities and to design appropriate supports.
For students with significant behavior problems, individual support systems are used to offer immediate, relevant, effective, and efficient responses. Individual support systems are needed by a very small number of students (3% to 6%). Students who are in need of individual behavioral support are identified, and an easy procedure for teachers to request and receive assistance is in place. A functional behavioral assessment is conducted, and an individualized behavior support plan is implemented and monitored. The greatest issue in implementing EBS is school and classroom climate. A significant shift must be made from responding to negative behaviors to supporting positive behaviors.
© ______ 2007, Merrill, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
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