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  • Writer's pictureQuality Health Care

Positive Behaviour Support: Only for behaviours?

Many of you may know that the work done by Behaviour Support Practitioners is based on a model of support called Positive Behaviour Support (PBS). But did you know that PBS is much more than just some strategies for behaviours of concern?


It's actually a comprehensive framework for providing support to people with disabilities of all kinds, and it revolves around key principles that guide not only WHAT supports are provided, but also HOW they are delivered and what the outcomes for the person receiving the support should be.


PBS is an evidence-based framework that draws on well-supported psychological concepts and practices, including applied behavioural analysis (ABA), positive psychology, learning theory, and ethical principles of service delivery. It is the current "gold standard" for the way supports are provided to people with disabilities, and as such, it is a key component of the way services are delivered at QHC.


PBS isn't a tool you pick up and use when you are having difficulty supporting a client with behaviours. It is the foundation of what we do and guides decision-making and good ethical practice. Whether we work on the front line with clients or in the office, having a good understanding of the principles of PBS can help inform the way we work and interact with our clients every day.


The key principles of positive behaviour support are that it:

  • Is person-centred and takes a holistic view of the person's environment, history, needs, culture, health, and all the relevant contexts of their life.

  • Emphasises choice and control for the individual.

  • Relies on positive reinforcement to effect change.

  • Involves active supports that are proactive and preventative, considering the person's environment, their skills, and the way supports respond to them to meet their needs and improve their quality of life.

  • Includes input from various professionals and adopts a coordinated team approach to implementing support that addresses the person's specific needs.

Support worker helping a man in a wheelchair - Quality Health Care

This means that no matter what we are supporting our participants with, we can ensure that we are supporting them in a way consistent with these principles. Whether we're helping them with their funding, providing personal care, planning their week of activities, or supporting them to manage difficult emotions, we can ask ourselves some questions that help us determine whether our supports are on track:


  • Am I tailoring my support to this specific person and their needs?

  • Am I recognizing and taking into account their individual circumstances, needs, and preferences?

  • Am I empowering this person's choice and control as much as possible and advocating for their choice and control with others?

  • Am I providing lots of positive reinforcement in a way that is meaningful to the person, emphasizing what they do well and encouraging their progress?

  • Am I being proactive and not reactive, empowering the person, helping remove barriers, and supporting them to build skills that will help them live well in the future?

  • Am I keeping their team in the loop, working in line with the strategies and tools provided by the person's support team, and participating in collaboration and feedback to ensure the person gets the best-coordinated support possible?


Fundamentally, positive behaviour support reduces behaviours of concern because it targets the overall improvement of each individual's quality of life so that these behaviours are no longer necessary. It supports the establishment of meaningful, purposeful, and full inclusion of people with disabilities in their own lives and society, and ensures they truly "live life well".


If you're interested in connecting with Quality Health Care's Behaviour Support team, please contact us here.




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