Sunday, February 8, 2009

Positive Behavior Support: Assisting Families

The idea for this post came from an article from the Autism Advocate, the official publication of the Autism Society of America. The article, by Glen Dunlap, PH.D., is titled "Positive Behaviour Support: Assisting Families with Behavioral Strategies in Home and Community Settings."

Dr. Dunlap describes Positive Behavior Support (PBS) as a plan that involves the following three components:

(1) teaching the child functional (usually communicative) alternatives to problem behavior.

(2) adjusting the antecedent environment to remove triggers for problem behavior and increase stimuli associated with desired prosocial responding.

(3) increase the availability of positive reinforcement for desired adaptive behavior.

Implementation of PBS with Families

According to Dr. Dunlap, the process of family-centered PBS is developed and implemented by a team which may include extended family, friends, teachers, or other professionals. He writes,
"it must at a minimum include the key family members who will be responsible for implementing the intervention and an individual who is knowledgeable and experienced in behavioral principles (i.e. behavioral expert). " The expert's job is to provide information about evidence-based practice, guidance in assessment and intervention and assistance in implementing the plan.

The idea of family-centered PBS is to treat family members as the most important team members because they are the ones who provide the necessary information about the family's needs, goals, preferences, characteristics, etc. The hope is to help the family design and implement an effective intervention strategy for a specific behavior problem area such as, for example, getting ready for school, and, in doing so, help the family acquire the basic knowledge of PBS and to repeat the process when problem behaviors occur.

My thoughts: I didn't know there was a formal name for my ideology of managing autism at my home! I didn't, however, have a team leader to help me out. I developed it out of going to countless parent support meetings, team meetings with my son's therapists and teachers at school, speaking to current and future special education teachers and reading information on the web.

In the article, the author uses three examples of how this strategy worked with three different families. I'm wondering if these were families in big cities as I don't think this is a program that is available in small, rural communities like mine. It would be wonderful if PBS was offered to families by local agencies like Community Mental Health.


teh4 said...

Hi Jules,
I have no doubt that moms like you have been practicing established therapies (even if you got there by trial and error) without hearing about them years before doctors have.

Jules said...

Welcome teh4. It's something how that works, isn't it? : )