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Dr. Chris’ Autism Journal » 2006 » July
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Archive for July, 2006

Positive Behavior Support (PBS)

Thursday, July 20th, 2006
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index_r2_c1.gifThe goal of PBS (Positive Behavior Support) is to apply the principles of behavior analysis in the community to reduce problem behaviors and increase appropriate behaviors which promote a rich lifestyle.  PBS is a type of ABA and is not necessarily in competition (despite the controversy among some that they are different approaches) with other types of ABA as it is often very suitable to use in conjunction with other treatments such as Discrete Trial Training, Pivotal Response Training, Picture Exchange Communication System, and other popular ABA techniques.  PBS typically refers more to dealing with challenging behaviors such as aggression, tantrums, self-injury, etc. and focuses on teaching more appropriate replacement behaviors such as functional communication.

The Association of Positive Behavior Support describes PBS and provides success stories and useful links and resource guides that you can download.  They also host an annual conference, the next one is March, 2007 in Boston, MA and they are now accepting proposals for presentations.  They also have a good newsletter which is free to download and print.

From the Association of Positive Behavior Support:index_r1_c1.gif

Positive behavior support (PBS) involves the changing situations and events that people with problem behaviors experience in order to reduce the likelihood that problem behaviors will occur and increase social, personal, and professional quality in their lives. It is an approach that blends values about the rights of people with disabilities with a practical science about how learning and behavior change occur.  PBS is a set of research-based strategies used to increase quality of life and decrease problem behavior by teaching new skills and making changes in a person’s environment. Positive behavior support combines valued outcomes, behavioral and biomedical science, validated procedures; and systems change to enhance quality of life and reduce problem behaviors such as self-injury, aggression, property destruction, pica, defiance, and disruption. The overriding goal of PBS is to enhance quality of life for individuals and others within social settings in home, school, and community settings. 

biting.jpgPBS is now used in many different situations and settings and with different types of social challenges. Children with and without disabilities participate in the PBS process in schools, at home, and in community settings. In school settings, PBS strategies are used to build a positive climate and include all students, not just children who may engage in more serious problem behavior. Adults with disabilities are actively involved in PBS team processes regardless of their age and where they live and work. The Association for Positive Behavior Support (APBS) has been created to build a community of individuals who are interested in the PBS process and who represent many different voices and perspectives. Family members, school professionals, psychologists, adult service providers, higher education professors, researchers, and community members are all involved in APBS. Regardless of the different settings and individuals involved in PBS processes, the key elements remain the same for individual planning. The PBS process involves a team of individuals working together collaboratively to gather information and create strategies for preventing problem behavior.

Functional Assessment. The cornerstone of PBS is the design anportrait_showcase_children_50.jpgd use of functional (behavioral) assessment to understand what maintains an individual’s problem behavior. Individuals engage in a behavior because it is functional; it helps them acquire some form of reinforcement (e.g., they get something desirable or pleasant, or they avoid something undesirable or unpleasant). A person may engage in problem behavior because circumstances in both the internal and/or external environment (i.e., antecedents, setting events) trigger or ‘set the stage’ for behavior to occur. Functional assessment is a process for identifying the events that trigger and maintain problem behavior. This process involves information gathering through record reviews, interviews, and observations and the development of summary statements that describe the patterns identified. Primary outcomes of the functional assessment process include:

  • A clear description of the problem behaviors
  • Events, times, and situations that predict when behaviors will and will not occur (i.e., setting events)
  • Consequences that maintain the problem behaviors (the function)
  • Summary statements or hypotheses
  • Direct observation data to support the hypotheses

Comprehensive Intervention. The team that forms around a child or adult in order to create a PBS plan should represent all of the situations and settings that are part of the person’s life. Information that is gathered from a functional behavioral assessment helps this team develop and implement behavioral intervention plans that are positive, proactive, educative, and functional. PBS plans include a number of interventions that can be implemented across situations and settings. These interventions include: 1) proactive strategies for changing the environment so triggering events are removed, 2) teaching new skills that replace problem behaviors, 3) eliminating or minimizing natural rewards for problem behavior, and 4) maximizing clear rewards for appropriate behavior. A hallmark of PBS planning is emphasis on improving overall lifestyle quality (relationships, activities, health) as an integrated part of behavior support.

Mindy2sm.jpgLifestyle Enhancement. PBS focuses not only on reducing behavior problems, but on enhancing a person’s overall quality of life. Outcomes include lifestyle improvements such as participation in community life, gaining and maintaining satisfying relationships, expressing personal preferences and making choices, and developing personal competencies. Such improvements in quality of life are facilitated by establishing a positive long-range vision with the individual and his/her family (e.g., through person-centered planning) and establishing natural supports through effective teamwork.

jpbi.jpgA great resource for staying on top of the research and clinical work in PBS is to subscribe to one of my favorite journals, the Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions (JPBI).  If you are going to subscribe to one journal and you work with or have a child with autism, this is one of the most practical journals I have seen as  the research is very applied and accessible to anyone.

Another useful journal, which is a free online journal, on PBS is the Journal of Early and Intensive Behavior Intervention

Podcasts

Saturday, July 8th, 2006
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heroshot_ipod_white.jpgDo you own an IPOD or other MP3 player or do you use ITUNES on your computer? There are now many PODCASTS (i.e. reports or stories that you can listen to on your computer or IPOD) about autism.

Check out our new podcast, from an interview I did with Scott Ryan from Autism Speaks in May.V3020062.jpg

AutismOneRadio is a very good podcast to try out, I like this one a lot because it brings in researchers, professionals, and parents and is done in a very professional yet interesting way. There are several different perspectives and the interviews are done by different people so there is a lot of good variety.

53585.jpgAutism Tales is a good one because it is actually real stories from people with autism and other special needs (or their families or people who worked with them) read by Jonathon Singer.

Bartholomew Cubbins is an interesting one that is kind of like a blog that you can listen to, he expresses his opinions about different things going on in the world of autism.host_photo.jpg

Michael Boll, a father of a child with autism and a former teacher, does Autism Podcast which is pretty interesting. In this one, Michael Boll interviews various people associated with autism such as authors of books, etc. You can check out his website too where you can get all of the podcasts and more information: http://autismpodcast.org/

There are courses that you can purchase by well-known people in the field of autism at Autism Education Online. Courses are up to two and a half hours in length and cost $49.97. If you would like to take multiple courses, the cost for a package of three is $99.97 and a package price for 12 courses is $299.

J3089047.jpgAutism Today also offers audio courses for $24.95 each.

Also, if you are interested in watching online videos about autism, I found this interesting site, Autism TV, which provides links.

How to find a behavioral consultant

Monday, July 3rd, 2006
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Lisa_Simpson.gifWhen looking for a behavioral consultant, it is really important that you look at the qualifications of that person, particularly at the supervision level.

The California Association of Behavior Analysis provides a useful article about how to find a behavioral consultant: http://www.calaba.org/AAMR-BehConsultantsFlyer.pdf.

header.gifHere is another excellent article about finding a behavioral consultant from Community Gateway: http://communitygateway.org/faq/behavioral.htm

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board is the first organization to provide national certification credentials for behavioral consultants.  When you see BCBA or BCABA after sowia_photo.jpgmeone’s name, this assures you that the person has completed the required number of hours, supervision, education, and passing the national board exam.  If you would like to know if someone has these credentials, you can look them up on the BACB site!  This is a great place to start looking for someone to help you with a home program that lives in your state. 

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