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  • Writer's pictureKate Bradshaw

Positive Behaviour Support Strategies

The wide variety of strategies available within the Positive Behaviour Support approach give us many ways to respond effectively to challenging behaviours. Positive Behaviour Support is a very effective and proven way to respond to challenging behaviours. All of the strategies involved rely on basic foundations of respect for the person involved - we may dislike a certain behaviour but will maintain respect for the person, and look for positive ways to encourage appropriate behaviour instead of using punishment or coercion:

  • Develop a positive rapport

  • Establish consistent routines

  • Remain calm and respond positively during a behaviour

  • Involve the person in discussing behaviour issues.

Positive behaviour support aims to identify and mitigate the triggers that generate behaviours and if done successfully it can reduce the chances of a behaviour occurring. Some of these strategies include;

  • Avoid or minimize known triggers

  • Use distraction or redirection away from the trigger

  • Discuss these triggers with the person

  • Work together on possible coping strategies

  • Suggest and encourage these strategies when a trigger occurs.

Positive reinforcement is generally the most effective strategy. An incentive is given immediately when a desired behaviour occurs. For example, Glen usually becomes quiet when anxious then suddenly starts shouting at everyone. He is learning to tell family members when he is getting anxious and do his deep breathing exercises. Every time he remembers to do this, his actions are praised.

Positive reinforcement is not bribery - reinforcement comes after a task is completed, bribery is offered before. Try to make sure the reinforcer is practical, ethical and valid for the behaviour being targeted. Timing is critical - ensure the positive reinforcement happens immediately after the desired behaviour.

Making agreements about behaviour is another useful strategy and can have a powerful impact. This strategy would involve communicating with the person to identify;

  • What are the desired behaviours

  • Which behaviours are inappropriate

  • Discussing the consequences of each behaviour

  • Writing down the agreement.

Redirection can involve distracting a person when a trigger for behaviour occurs or redirecting them when a behaviour is occurring. It is often used for repetitive behaviours such as constantly talking about the same topic. It is often effective when combined with positive reinforcement as well.

If you are looking for more information or assistance with positive behaviour support, contact our therapy team today on 1300 527 464.

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