What plans can support behaviour?

Behaviour support planning can assist schools to provide additional support and guidance to identified students. It can help ensure that students and staff feel safe, valued and connected to their school community.

What is positive behaviour support and why use it?

Many studies have found that strategies to support people with disabilities and behaviours of concern that are based on the principles and aims of positive support plans are more successful than those that are not. (for example, Grey and McLean, 2007; LaVigna and Willis, 2012).

Positive behaviour support has two main aims:

  1. To increase the quality of life
  2. To decrease behaviours of concern

Who benefits from behaviour support planning?

Schools and students can benefit from effective behaviour support planning. For example:

  • Clearly stating expectations and planned support for a student in writing, demonstrates the commitment of the school to the student’s wellbeing needs.
  • Behaviour change in the student occurs more readily when the focus is on support, building the skills needed for pro-social behaviour, and increasing the student’s wellbeing.
  • Inappropriate behaviours are gradually reduced as triggers and cues preceding the behaviours are identified and addressed.
  • Previously unknown causes or triggers of inappropriate behaviour may be identified while gathering information and writing a plan. Issues can then be effectively addressed.
  • Specialised guidance indicating how to respond to a student’s challenging behaviour, helps to provide boundaries, consistency and consequences for the student.
  • A sense of harmony and/or safety to a classroom and school may be restored if the behaviour was unsafe or stressful for other students.
  • Positive behaviour support places importance on teaching new skills and making changes to a person’s environment, among other things. Understanding the meanings and purposes of the behaviour from the individual’s point of view, rather than simply stopping behaviour is important.

Planning for behaviour support

Assessment and the planning cycle

Completing an accurate picture of the individual needs of the student may require specialist support to assist school staff and inform the development of Individual Student Support Plans. Multidisciplinary, comprehensive assessments will ensure that school staff are able to best meet the functional needs of students, teach relevant replacement behaviours, or identify medical needs.

These assessments may include functional behavioural assessment, environmental assessments, medical assessment, mental health assessment, assessment for learning difficulties, speech and language assessments, and occupational therapy assessments. Where appropriate, a referral may be made to the School Counselling Service or the school’s Learning and Wellbeing team in order for an assessment for the student to occur.

Behaviour support planning is a cycle of continuous planning and improvement. The process of continuous reflection and improvement is focused on understanding underlying triggers and causes form the perspective of the individual student. The interventions selected will be directly connected to the needs of the student.

Assessments must be conducted by qualified staff and parental consultation is critical. Active involvement of the student and their parent or carer is important to the development of successful plans.

Behaviour support planning cycle

  1. Identify – what is the issue? Why? Define the behaviour of concern
  2. Assess – gather your evidence, look at what your evidence might mean – a function of the behaviour
  3. Plan – develop strategies to get the change you want – positive behaviour support
  4. Implement – all support consistently follow the plan
  5. Monitor – put in place a monitoring and review process of the implementation of the plan
  6. Evaluate – analyse the information that you have gathered through monitoring and review. Has anything changed for the student? Do you need to change the plan?
Behaviour support planning cycle has 5 stages- identify, assess, plan, implement, monitor and evaluate
Image: Behaviour support planning cycle
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