Elements of Positive Behavior Support

At The Mandt System, we strive to offer a holistic approach to supporting people, whether they be adults or children. Our training program focuses a great deal on building healthy relationships, improving communication, conflict resolution techniques, being trauma informed, utilizing positive behavior supports, de-escalation training and (if necessary) physically supporting people.

Perhaps one of the most confusing components is that of positive behavior support (PBIS). I’d like to try to break that down so you may see how it is done on a regular basis and how you are likely already using the strategies as you support the people you work with.

Routines are a vital part of PBIS and are things that you probably provide without even realizing it. Clear routines and expectations also help people to feel more safe and comfortable in their environments, which is also a topic inherent to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (which Mandt discusses in detail). You may not even realize some of the things that you do each and every day that are “routine” and help you to feel more safe. Things like sleeping on the same side of the bed; the order in which you dress; or, the route you drive to get to work. All of this contributes to your sense of security. The same will be true for the people you serve.

Positive language is another key component to positive behavior support. We want to always strive to build people up rather than tearing them down. If you have seen goals written like “student will refrain from running in the halls” you probably have figured out how to reword that into a much more positive statement such as “student will walk in the halls.” Even these small details lend themselves to positivity rather than negativity.

Side dialogue and cross dialogue can also be useful tools when trying to move towards more positive interactions. Instead of drawing attention to negative behavior, focus your attention on the positive behavior that you desire. If one or two people are using behavior that you wish others to also use, draw positive attention to it and see how quickly others start to mimic that same positive behavior.

What are some other strategies that you use in your workplace? We’d love to hear from you!

Nikki Wince – Faculty Supervisor

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