The problem behaviors of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are among the most challenging and stressful issues faced by schools and parents. The current best practice in treating and preventing unwanted or challenging behaviors utilizes the principles and practices of positive behavioral support (PBS). PBS has been demonstrated to be effective with individuals with a wide range of problem behavior and disability classifications. Although used successfully both in the classroom and school-wide, PBS is not a specific intervention per se, but rather an approach that has evolved from traditional behavioral management methods. PBS refers to a set of research-based strategies that are intended to decrease problem behaviors by designing effective environments and teaching students appropriate social and communication skills. The objective of PBS is to decrease potentially problematic behavior by making environmental changes and teaching new skills rather than focusing directly on eliminating the problem behavior. An essential component of PBS is a functional behavior assessment (FBA) to help determine the events that influence and maintain the studentís challenging behavior. This is followed by the development of a positive intervention plan for teaching appropriate, functional and communicative skills that serve as replacement behaviors.
Research indicates that PBS can be effective for eliminating and preventing problem behaviors of children with ASD. For example, a review of published research studies found that in cases where PBS strategies were used, there was as much as an 80% reduction in challenging behavior for approximately two-thirds of the cases studied. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has endorsed PBS as a preferred form of intervention for managing the challenging behavior of students with disabilities. The following is an excellent resource for both teachers and parents.
Positive Behavior Support: A Classroom-Wide Approach to Successful Student Achievement and Interactions (2005). University of South Florida.