Positive behavior support is an individualized, research-based process that incorporates the principles of applied behavior analysis and person and family-centered practices.

The overarching goal is to produce lasting changes in the quality of life of the people we serve. It involves conducting comprehensive assessments to develop interventions in collaboration with family members, educators, direct services providers, and others caring for the individual. The primary characteristics of positive behavior support are summarized below.

PBS Components

Learn why this approach is so successful.

A wide variety of interventions are available for addressing behavioral challenges and, in particular, for treating children with autism.

Not all of these interventions have scientific evidence to support their use. PBS Corp believes in using only evidence-based interventions. That means adopting procedures that have a strong theoretical basis, have been subjected to rigorous research, and have been demonstrated to produce observable behavior changes with the individuals who will be receiving services.

Such practices have been summarized in that National Standards Report and ABA Guidelines for ASD and are articulated through national associations such as the Associations for Applied Behavior Analysis and Positive Behavior Support. Families and professionals being supported by PBS Corp are encouraged to seek empirical support for the strategies being used.

Although reducing behavioral challenges and developing skills are important, the overriding goal of PBS is to help individuals and families live more positive, productive, and enriching lives. Person-centered approaches are geared toward helping individuals and their families do more things, go more places, and achieve other personal goals. To this end, PBS Corp addresses not only changes in behavior, but also quality of life. PBS Corp team members engage individuals, family members, and service providers in a person-centered planning process to identify desired outcomes, ensure that the support strategies are geared to meeting those goals, and overcome any barriers to an individual’s success.

In order for PBS to work, everyone who is involved in the individual’s life must be on the same page. Working together requires that everyone 1) communicate openly, 2) develop plans that make sense and can be utilized everywhere the individual’s needs dictate assistance, and 3) share goals and responsibilities. PBS Corp engages caregivers in the assessment and intervention process to the greatest extent possible. That means obtaining input through interviews and self-recording of data, collaboratively identifying strategies based on patterns identified (e.g., rather than simply developing plans and giving them to the parent or teacher), and providing sufficient training caregivers can fully implement all interventions themselves.

An accurate understanding of an individual’s behavior, circumstances that set the stage for their behavior to occur, and results the behavior produces must precede intervention. Therefore, PBS Corp team members – under the direction of the contracted behavior analyst – complete record reviews, interviews, and direct observations across circumstances in which the individual participates. They also may conduct types of assessments to evaluate the person’s needs, current skills, and environmental features that may affect intervention.

Interventions developed based on a thorough assessment incorporate multiple components focused on improving behavior and quality of life. The emphasis in PBS is on teaching, rather than just controlling behavior. The elements of PBS Corp’s behavior support plans include:


modifying aspects of the environment to avoid problems, make difficult circumstances better, or add cues to prompt more adaptive behavior.


building skills to help the individual communicate his or her needs, interact with other people, deal with unpleasant circumstances, or become more self-sufficient.


providing consequences that reinforce positive behavior and withhold outcomes that may be desirable to individuals when engaging in problem behavior.

The effectiveness of behavioral interventions is measured in terms of the degree to which problem behavior is reduced and positive behavior is increased. PBS Corp contractors collect behavioral data on an ongoing basis using progress notes and graphs. They also communicate regularly with the individual receiving services, their caregivers, and service providers. These data are used to make decisions regarding treatment, prepare reports on outcomes, and communicate with for consumers, funders, and regulatory bodies.

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