News • 01 Jul 2019

What is Positive Behaviour Support?

Positive behaviour support is a way of working with people with mental illness and disabilities to improve their life with positive strategies and by addressing challenging behaviours.

Positive Behaviour Support, or Specialist Behaviour Intervention Support, involves intervening to improve a person’s life, particularly where they have been showing challenging behaviours.

Challenging behaviour means behaviour that is often complex, unpredictable and difficult to understand.

The types of behaviour can include: self-harming, aggression, property damage, and more.

These behaviours can impact on a person’s life and make it difficult for others to support them.

Sarah Lysaught, Complex Support Specialist at Open Minds said: “We don’t believe it’s the person that is ‘challenging’, only that they are in a challenging environment and it’s a challenge to find a solution. We work closely with individuals and their families to offer more choice and independence and improve their quality of life.”

Challenging behaviours are often misread, but with the right environment and the right support, can be reduced or stopped.

Positive behaviour support focuses on understanding why a person is behaving in this way and working out how the person’s needs can be met without using challenging behaviours.

For example, if someone can’t communicate that something is wrong and that they need help, they become frustrated.

This frustration can mean that they’re unable to express themselves without using a certain behaviour.

Positive behaviour support might help by:

  • Helping the person be understood through learning communication strategies
  • Changing aspects of the person’s environment, i.e. in their home to make them feel at ease
  • Improving the person’s lifestyle to add community connections, and ensure they have access to activities that they find fun
  • Ensuring the person has meaningful and positive relationships with others
  • Providing an encouraging, fun and understanding support environment

How does positive behaviour support work?

Positive behaviour support is an evidence based approach, meaning it’s proven to be successful based on research.

It is a way of supporting people that respects their human rights and improves their quality of life, using encouragement and reward.

When a person shows challenging behaviour, a Complex Support Specialist can help.

Positive behaviour support includes:

1. Person centred planning – identifying the goals, strengths and needs of the person.

2. Including others – who live and work with the person to contribute to the assessment, planning and implementation process. This can include family members, carers, support workers, and other professionals.

3. Assessment and intervention – a functional behaviour assessment to understand the reason for the behaviour.

4. Developing a Positive Behaviour Support Plan (PBSP) – this plan lays out strategies for improving the person’s life and addressing any needs. The plan is for both the person and anyone involved in their life so that everyone can work together. This includes prevention, responding to early warning signs, and reactive strategies.

5. Reducing restrictive practices – Restrictive practices are limitations placed on a person to prevent them from harming themselves or others. These practices limit a person’s rights or freedom in some way. Positive behaviour support aims to reduce or end the use of restrictive practices. This focuses on quality of life and respect for the person’s human rights.

6. Skill building – e.g to help them communicate, take part in fun activities, and avoid using challenging behaviour.

7. Staff development – educating and training staff to understand how to put support strategies in place.

8. Environment changes – changing some parts of the surroundings can help, e.g. removing unwanted noise.

Open Minds works with people to understand the reasons behind behaviours, and develops support plans to help.

With in-house experts, our Complex Support Specialists have helped many people in Queensland to reduce restrictive practices and live a more positive and independent life.

Our specialists work with the person, their family members and support team to develop and implement strategies that work.

Our team can work to train support workers to understand how to work with people who require positive behaviour support.

Open Minds delivers Positive Behaviour Support, also known as specialist behaviour intervention support, under the NDIS line item ‘Improved relationships’.

The NDIS describes specialist behaviour intervention support as intensive support for a participant, intending to address significantly harmful or persistent behaviours of concern.

Contact us to find out more about our positive behaviour support service today.

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