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Positive Behaviour Support and Applied Behaviour Analysis

Published by Jo on 11th March 2021

‘Our job is not to fix people but to design effective environments’ – Rob Horner 

Positive Behaviour Support

Green Light was one of the first adult autism care providers in the UK to commit to Positive Behaviour Support, which Rob Horner described in 2000, as:

“An approach that blends values about the rights of people with disabilities with a practical science about how learning and behavior change occur”  

The Care Quality Commission’s guidance Brief guide: Positive behaviour support for people with behaviours that challenge states

“Positive behaviour support (PBS) is ‘a person centred framework for providing long-term support to people with a learning disability, and/or autism, including those with mental health conditions, who have, or may be at risk of developing, behaviours that challenge. It is a blend of person centred values and behavioural science* and uses evidence to inform decision-making…. Behaviour that challenges usually happens for a reason and may be the person’s only way of communicating an unmet need. PBS helps us understand the reason for the behaviour so we can better meet people’s needs, enhance their quality of life and reduce the likelihood that the behaviour will happen.’

1  (British Institute of Learning Disabilities, The PBS Academy, The Challenging Behaviour Foundation, Health Education England & Skills for Care, April 2017)  

*Emphasis ours

As well as the many success stories published about Applied Behaviour Analysis there are myths and misconceptions which circulate online.  Examples and rebuttals can be found in the article ‘Drama in the courtroom: Defending the rights of children diagnosed with autism’ by leading autism researchers Professor Mickey Keenan & Professor Karola Dillenburger, published in Barrister Magazine on 15th May 2020. 

Green Light however recognised that a genuine commitment to PBS is a commitment to the ‘practical science’ Horner described and the ‘behavioural science’ BILD et al describe above.  The conclusion being; ABA is a key to providing PBS with integrity.

Applied Behaviour Analysis

The UK Society for Behaviour Analysis explains:

“..ABA is a science that helps us understand why people behave in particular ways, including how they acquire skills or develop challenging behaviours. The science of ABA has been used to develop a number of therapies and strategies to help people change behaviour and be more successful across a range of life domains.” “Therapies grounded in ABA, such as Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention (EIBI), are among the best examples of evidence-based therapies for autism. There is a wealth of evidence that has been published, reviewed and, in most cases, independently replicated, which demonstrates the effectiveness of ABA-based teaching programs for individuals with autism.” ”For autistic children, ABA-based programs typically focus on teaching skills such as communication, playing, toileting, eating a wider variety of foods, and academic and school-readiness skills. Programs might also target reducing dangerous behaviours, such as biting, hitting, self-injury or running away.” 

Positive Behaviour Support Team

Green Light’s Positive Behaviour Support team are Behaviour Analysts with Masters level degrees in Applied Behaviour Analysis or Positive Behaviour Support.  They have extensive experience assessing, teaching and modelling skills that improve quality of life and which have helped individuals reduce challenging behaviour and the detrimental impact this has had on their lives.  Their experience extends across the age ranges and settings; from family home programs to nurseries and special education settings, even the UK prison population.   Green Light’s PBS team now provides this inherently individualised support to the people and their teams here in Cornwall, UK.   

Meet the team