Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors

What is positive behaviour support

Positive Behaviour Support is an evidence based approach to supporting people with intellectual disabilities who use challenging behaviour. Being an evidenced based practice means that Positive Behaviour Support has been proven to be successful. It is not a fad or new ‘buzz word’, and has its foundations in behavioural science.

Positive Behaviour Support seeks to both improve the quality of life of the person with a disability and to reduce the impact of the person's challenging behaviour. Positive Behaviour Support is not therefore solely focused on eliminating challenging behaviour. Rather, it seeks to improve quality of life by understanding why a person needs to engage in challenging behaviour, and then addressing that need.

To do this Positive Behaviour Support relies on three related elements:

  1. understanding why the person engages in challenging behaviour (this understanding is developed by conducting a Functional Behaviour Assessment);
  2. finding the environmental causes for challenging behaviour, and then modifying them so that the behaviour is unnecessary;
  3. teaching the person new skills to meet their needs without having to resort to challenging behaviour.

These elements are focused on the overall objective of improving quality of life and reducing the impact of challenging behaviour.