positive behavior support

Spring 2019


Download the Spring 2019 Version of the Support Report

Individuals with disabilities are more likely to experience abuse than peers without a disability. Trauma can occur at any age as a single event or a series of events. Trauma changes the way people view themselves, others and the world. Below are sample universal strategies that can be built into a trauma-informed approach.

  • Provide a safe place to go when overwhelmed
  • Encourage healthy, enjoyable coping mechanisms (ex: art, exercise, cleaning)
  • Everyone recognizes the symptoms of trauma and knows how to respond
  • If someone is engaging in problematic behavior, recognize it may be a fight, flight or freeze response
    • Ask what happened to them and do not assume something is wrong with them
    • Provide comfort and allow them time to process and calm down
  • Ensure survivors feel physically, emotionally and psychologically safe
  • Celebrate strengths and build upon those daily
  • Identify at least one consistent trusted adult that the person can go to who will listen, comfort and believe in them
  • Set clear, achievable expectations and provide reinforcement for meeting or exceeding them
  • See survivors as survivors, not victims, and encourage them to take pride in their progress
  • Find ways to incorporate mindfulness daily such as taking a walk through nature, blowing bubbles or practicing yoga
  • Provide a way the person can communicate difficult emotions effectively
  • Help survivors build a sense of purpose, a way to contribute to the greater good of society
  • Establish policies to prevent retraumatization

Helpful trauma resources:


  • April 11, 2019 – Morgantown
  • April 18, 2019 – Beckley
  • April 25, 2019 - Charleston
  • May 9, 2019 Keyser

For additional training locations and details visit http://pbs.cedwvu.org/pbs-trainings/.

What is Positive Behavior Support (PBS)?

Positive behavior support is a package of evidence-based strategies to improve quality of life and decrease challenging behaviors. It teaches people new skills and alternative responses to replace challenging behaviors. This approach is positive, proactive and focuses on preventing challenging behaviors before they occur.

Purpose of the PBS Program

The purpose of the PBS program is to build workforce capacity to support individuals who have challenging behaviors. Intensive and collaborative work is completed with agencies who serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injuries and other complex support needs to implement PBS system wide. Through a person-centered approach, supportive, motivating and inclusive environments for individuals with complex needs are promoted.

Overview of Program Activities

The following program activities can help you prevent and improve challenging behaviors:

System-Wide PBS

  • Intensive collaboration that includes training, technical assistance, and coaching
  • Establish and sustain three-tiered PBS approach

Technical assistance and mentoring

  • Guidance and feedback to professionals
  • Solutions for challenging behaviors

Person-centered planning

  • Develop personal goals
  • Create an action plan for achieving goals

Short-term individual assistance

  • Serve a very limited number of individuals and families statewide
  • Individuals must have dangerous behaviors and no services in place to address them

Training and continuing education opportunities

  • Limited number of trainings offered for professionals
  • Social work CEU's