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Positive Behavioural Support (PBS) across the life-span

PBS is a multicomponent framework for developing an understanding of behaviour that challenges rather than a single therapeutic approach, treatment or philosophy. It is based on the assessment of the broad social and physical context in which the behaviour occurs, and used to construct socially valid interventions which enhance quality of life outcomes for both the person themselves and their carers. The framework can helpfully be depicted as ten components grouped into three overarching themes of values, theory/evidence base, and process. It is important to stress that these components do not represent a ‘menu’ of options. Rather, the effective implementation of PBS necessitates the combined use of all of these.

The aim of the PBS group is to further the evidence-base for PBS through conducting high quality research and to support the dissemination and impact of PBS research to bring about improved delivery of support for individuals, families and services. Members of the group include Peter Baker, Nick Gore, Peter McGill, Richard Hastings, Nick Barratt, Serena Tomlinson, Jill Chaplin, Steve Noone, Edwin Jones, Kathy Lowe and Anne MacDonald. Viki Stafford and Beverley Jones are the research assistants who support the PBS group.

We are currently supporting several projects within the group and are keen to develop new work areas over time:

  • A comprehensive, consensus-based framework for the evaluation of PBS in the UK:
    This study aims to create a framework to guide the evaluation of PBS within research and practice, based on the consensus of experts and multiple stakeholder perspectives. The framework will consider the full scope of outcomes that are consistent with the values, theory and processes inherent to PBS.

  • Assessing the applicability of trauma as a framework for understanding staff response to challenging behaviour by people with developmental disabilities:
    This study will examine perceived staff support and trauma in relation to challenging behaviour and seek to assess the applicability of this as a framework for understanding staff responses to challenging behaviour.

  • Early Positive Approaches to Support (E-PAtS):
    Challenging behaviour has a significant negative impact on people with learning disabilities (LD) and those who support them. It often starts in childhood and without intervention endures into adulthood. However, early support in childhood may prevent challenging behaviour from developing and improve outcomes for people with LD, and their families. This project supports use of the E-PAtS programme which aims to supports family quality of life and caregiver wellbeing, increase access to proactive service support and empower caregivers to facilitate positive development for their child in the early years.

  • Development of standards for PBS Behaviour Support Plans
    Evaluating the quality of behaviour support plans is an important strategy for driving up standards of care. This project focuses on development of a tiered model of assessment and intervention in recognition of the wide variety of situations that PBS is used. Standards and an audit tool will be developed alongside of this work.