Positive Behaviour Support

The Positive Behaviour Support Service (PBSS) provides individually tailored therapeutic programmes for disabled children with mental health and behavioural needs.

Disabled children are vulnerable to experiencing mental health and behavioural difficulties. When these needs go unmet, stresses can build up that ultimately lead to school exclusion and/or family breakdown. The PBSS delivers evidence based interventions to disabled children (including children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders), their families and schools. PBSS interventions are tailored to the child’s individual needs and work to teach them new, positive skills to replace their more problematic behaviours. A major emphasis is on developing effective communication and pro-social skills. PBSS also works with the child’s family, school or support system to learn new communication and support skills.

PBSS is available 24/7 (i.e., daytime, evenings, weekends and school holidays) and can be delivered at home and/or at school.

Positive Behaviour Support is an internationally recognised approach to supporting disabled and non-disabled children with developmental needs and problematic behaviours. The person centred values, theoretical principles and evidence based interventions that inform the Positive Behavioural Support movement have a long history and proven record of clinical effectiveness. For more information about the model, see www.apbs.org.

Referral Criteria

PBSS is commissioned on an individual basis to meet a child’s specific developmental needs. Reasons for referral might include:

  • Aggression
  • Anxiety disorders & phobias
  • Obsessional/compulsive behaviours
  • Low Mood/depression
  • Sleep problems
  • Sexual issues
  • Non-compliance
  • Self injurious behaviour
  • Disruptive behaviours
  • Eating/diet disorders

What does PBSS involve?

The first step is a Functional Behavioural Assessment (FBA) which includes a description of the problem behaviours; the time and place when these behaviours occur (i.e. setting events); the consequences that maintain the behaviours (i.e. their function); and an interpretation or hypothesis about the why the behaviours are occurring.

The second step is the development of an individualised intervention programme. A hallmark of a PBSS therapeutic programme is an emphasis on improving the person’s overall quality of life (i.e., relationships, activities, health) by extending the their repertoire of positive skills and enhancing their social context.

Increasing Independence

By extending a child’s adaptive, functional repertoire of positive skills, PBSS gradually reduces the need for itself. The aim is that over time the child will become more independent and need less intensive support. PBSS works closely with families and schools and seeks to transfer programme protocols and skills to them at the earliest opportunity. This is in line with the PBSS principles of promoting autonomy, self-determination and independence.

Although PBSS employs empirically validated clinical interventions, it will not work for every child. Regular data collection is a core feature of PBSS and this enables judgements to be made about the efficacy and value of the overall programme. Update reports with full data sets are produced every 3 months to allow commissioners to evaluate the programme efficacy.


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