Positive Behavior Support

Positive behavior interventions and support is an application of a behaviorally-based systems approach to enhance the capacity of schools, families, and communities to design effective environments that improve the fit or link between research-validated practices and the environments in which teaching and learning occurs. Attention is focused on creating and sustaining primary (tier 1: school-wide), secondary (tier 2: small group), and tertiary (tier 3: individual) systems of support that improve lifestyle results (personal, health, social, family, work, recreation) for all children and youth by making problem behavior less effective, efficient, and relevant, and desired behavior more functional.


Image showing the three tiers of interventionsAt the tertiary or tier 3 level, support is provided to the 1-5% of students who may have very serious problem behaviors and may require more intensive and individualized supports. The supports are organized to reduce the frequency, duration, and intensity of externalizing and internalizing problem behaviors and improve life outcomes.

Tertiary (tier 3) prevention involves a process of identifying and providing highly individualized supports for youth with high level needs.  Tertiary (tier 3) interventions include intensive evidence-based interventions such as function-based behavioral interventions (FBA-PBSPs).  FBA- PBSPs are comprised of individualized, assessment-based intervention strategies, including a wide range of options such as: (1) guidance or instruction for the student to use new skills as a replacement for problem behaviors, (2) some rearrangement of the antecedent environment so that problems can be prevented and desirable behaviors can be encouraged, and (3) procedures for monitoring, evaluating, and reassessing of the plan as necessary. In some situations, the plan may also include emergency procedures to ensure safety and rapid de-escalation of severe episodes (this is required when the target behavior is dangerous to the student or others), or major ecological changes, such as changes in school placements, in situations where more substantive environmental changes are needed.

Behavioral Supports Consultant
Alissa Hofstee