OC Connections provides support to adults with a disability who present with behaviour of concern. We use an evidence-based approach called Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) which focuses primarily on increasing a person’s quality of life while decreasing the frequency and severity of their challenging behaviours.

What is Positive Behaviour Support (PBS)?

Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) is an evidence-based approach to supporting people with intellectual disabilities who display behaviours of concern. Being an evidenced-based practice means that Positive Behaviour Support has been proven to be successful. 

PBS is an individualised and comprehensive approach that can be used to teach and encourage people children to behave in appropriate ways. The approach makes behaviours of concern unnecessary by removing the things that trigger, encourage or reward that behaviour. It also teaches people alternative, more appropriate behaviour to replace the behaviours of concern.


A behaviour of concern is a persistent behaviour that causes difficulties and limits a person’s ability to have a good life. PBS seeks to both improve the quality of life of the person with a disability and to reduce the impact of the person's behaviour of concern. PBS seeks to do this by understanding why a person needs to engage in behaviour of concern and then addressing that need. As a direct result of the effective implementation of PBS we often see an improvement in relationships with support workers, family and friends.

Behaviours of Concern

Behaviours of concern are often attributed to the person demonstrating the behaviour but the challenge often belongs to those surrounding the person. Family, carers and support people are often challenged to find out why the person has a need to engage in that behaviour. They want to know what they can do to support the person so they no longer have a need to engage in this behaviour.

Behaviours of concern are messages that can tell us important things about a person and the quality of his or her life. People who sometimes engage in behaviours of concern are actually telling us something is wrong or missing and they need help to change it. The challenge is for people to build support for the person with a disability and the people who care for them.

PBS is a comprehensive approach to assessment, planning and intervention that focuses on addressing the person’s needs, their home environment and overall quality of life. PBS is about working with families and carers to develop a shared understanding of why the person has a need to engage in behaviours of concern.

How does PBS work?

Person-centred approaches
PBS uses person-centred approaches. Behaviours of concern often reflect a history of difficulties in relationships and negative experiences in relating with other people. The person-centred plan aims to address any unmet needs of the person through supporting positive engagement and enhancing the quality of life.

Inclusion of relevant stakeholders
PBS concentrates on a person’s quality of life and is most effective when implemented across all settings of that person’s life.

Assessment-based intervention
PBS uses assessments that look beyond the behaviour itself and more towards the social, emotional, cognitive and/or environmental factors influencing the behaviour.

Behaviour support plans
Following a comprehensive assessment of the person’s needs and their environment, a behaviour support plan may be developed. The plan aims to summarise the supports the person and their carers, staff and family need to make positive changes to address unmet needs.

Reduction in aversive/restrictive/punitive approaches
These approaches are not consistent with PBS, which is underpinned by a strong commitment to human rights and a focus on the quality of life, citizenship and participation within a family/person-centred approach.

Skill building
PBS develops the skills of the person displaying the challenging behaviour to help them to experience success and personal satisfaction, develop more appropriate ways to communicate their needs and develop skills in daily living

Environmental re-design
Behaviour is influenced by the environment of the person. PBS is a way of looking at the positive fit between the person and the environment they find themselves in.

Ref: http://www.disability.wa.gov.au

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