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Implementing Positive Behaviour Support at Home

5 October 2021

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Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) is person-centred framework for providing support that aims to protect a person’s rights and to promote quality of life for them, their families and others.

With the majority of the nation spending more time at home due to COVID, we asked Aspect therapists to share some common thoughts on PBS at home to help manage and be aware of ongoing behaviour patterns.

“Families and carers are the best placed to help identify why a behaviour is occurring, the development of a behaviour plan and using strategies to change behaviour,” states Jessica Degrassi, PBS Active Support & Safeguarding Manager, Individual & Community Services at Aspect. “While we tailor each plan of support to an individual, there are five key areas we recommend for all families and carers to consider.”

“Families and carers are the best placed to help identify why a behaviour is occurring, the development of a behaviour plan and using strategies to change behaviour. While we tailor each plan of support to an individual, there are five key areas we recommend for all families and carers to consider.”

Five key areas consider

1. Put more attention on the behaviour you want than the behaviour you don’t

Make sure to reward, encourage and praise the behaviours that you are working towards and expecting.

2. Develop clear predictable consistent home/school/community routines

This can be especially tricky during COVID, but try to maintain a predictable regular school, after-school, community participation and daily routine schedule. Use social stories and visual supports to communicate routines and any changes to routine.

3. Set positive behaviour expectations for everyone. Ensure these are visually presented, taught and positively reinforced

This is for everyone in the house. Make sure to have a conversation so all the family has input into, understands and agrees to the positive behavioural expectations being set.

4. Give age-appropriate choice throughout the day & be flexible

Ensure that choices are provided throughout the day – these can be over activities, food and timing of jobs/work that needs to be complete. Choosing when something occurs can be very helpful in providing choice and control. Being flexible in achieving everything (such as schoolwork or activities/chores) can help everyone destress at this time.

5. Pick your battles and try to focus on calming responses to behaviour (and don’t worry about ‘giving in’)

Remember the 80/20 rule and be kind to yourself and family members during this time. No one is perfect and the slip-ups remind us where to pause and refocus. If there are behaviours that are concerning remember safety and wellbeing at this time is most important. If you’re not coping, it is important to seek specialist support such as behaviour support practitioners, counselling or respite.

Access to specialist support

Accessing supports can be quite challenging at this time given current restrictions to visitors in the home, education or community settings. Prior to COVID, Aspect had begun delivering and researching positive behaviour support via telepractice (TelePBS) as a way to increase access to good quality PBS services for those living in regional and remote areas of Australia. Following the onset of COVID, the TelePBS model also supported participants, parents and carers affected by lockdown orders to keep connected and have continued behaviour support throughout the pandemic. Parents and carers have positively expressed how the service continues to provide understanding of the behavioural context at home.

Aspect Therapy are passionate about supporting people on the spectrum and their families, and employs a range of Positive Behaviour Support Specialists who seek to understand behaviours of concern from multiple perspectives, and work in partnership with the individual’s family and support network to develop plans and goals for meaningful change. All Aspect Therapy PBS staff are approved Behaviour Support Practitioners delivering services under the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.

For further resources, including guides, podcasts and videos on PBS and TelePBS, view the PBS section of our website.

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