positive behavior support

Summer 2020

Download a PDF of the Summer 2020 Support Report


Coping is a tool to help navigate through the challenges we have during our lifetime. Children do not have the skills to deal with stressors that may take adults a lifetime to develop. Therefore, developing coping skills is essential.

Emotion-focused skills center on feelings and on situations they can’t change, such as losing a pet or not making the team. In these situations, the best they can do is learn how to cope. Remember, try to model a relaxed attitude while demonstrating how to cope with stress effectively, so they know what to do in difficult times. In the future, offer temporary distraction so they can return to the issue when they’re feeling calmer. This list provides a few ideas to use as your immediate coping action plan:

  • Calming Space
  • Grounding Techniques
  • Weighted Blanket
  • Journaling
  • Rip Paper
  • Draw/Paint
  • Breathing Exercises
  • Watch a funny video
  • Take a walk or run
  • Squeeze play-dough
  • Sing a song
  • Bear Hug Self
  • Listen to music
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Run cold water over hands
  • Dance

Problem-focused skills are taking action to change. Sometimes, challenging behaviors can indicate a change in the environment. These changes could involve ending a relationship with a friend or telling an adult about a bully. These skills can be useful when a child has some control over the situation. One crucial question to ask is what kind of change is needed - Do they need to change the environment or change how they feel about it? Asking such questions can help guide in determining the best approach. Examples to solve problematic situations or build problem-solving skills include:

  • Organize Space
  • Social Stories
  • Research
  • Time Management
  • List pros vs cons
  • Role play situations
  • Visual Schedule
  • Ask for help/Get Advice
  • Reminder Alarm
  • Plan it out
  • Play Chess/Checkers
  • Brainstorm Ideas
  • Tutor/Mentor
  • Support Groups
  • Problem Solve Map

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 support youth with serious emotional disturbances who are at risk of out of home placement to be successful in their community environments. We work with the individual's team to assess their individual needs and implement trauma informed positive behavior support. 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:

  • PBS Brainstorming

    • Consulting on how to implement PBS and increase quality of life
  • 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
  • PBS Intensive Services

    • Serve a very limited number of individuals and families statewide
    • Individuals must have dangerous behaviors and no services in place to address them and be at risk of out of home placement
    • Services typically last 3-5 months
  • Training and continuing education opportunities

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