Brief description of Positive Behaviour Support in schools

A major difficulty to the delivery of effective education is challenging behaviours. For students this can be the result of emotional and behavioural issues, intellectual disabilities or intellectual giftedness.

In responding to these challenges behavioural sciences have developed Positive Behaviour Support Plans (PBSP) and Functional Behavioural Assessments. A brief description of each is set out below;

The behaviour support plan can be comprised of a variety of individualized elements, but the key components are categorized as manipulations of (a) antecedent and contextual stimuli that are associated with identified patterns of responding; (b) instructional strategies designed to build effective alternatives to problem behaviour; and (c) consequences, especially contingencies of positive reinforcement (Dunlap et al., 2010).

The goals of the functional assessment process are to define the target behaviour operationally, to identify stimuli that are consistently associated with the presence and absence of the target behaviour, to identify the function(s) of the target behaviour in designated situations, and to provide a foundation for the development of an effective behaviour support plan (Dunlap et al., 2010).

Evidence based effective strategies are key to assisting students, teachers and support staff in managing challenging behaviours and reducing the difficulties faced in the educational setting.



Dunlap, G., Iovannone, R., Wilson, K. J., Kincaid, D. K., & Strain, P. (2010). Prevent-teach-reinforce. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 12(1), 9-22. Retrieved from