The accessibility and usefulness of Positive Behaviour Support plans for non-specialised support people

Miss Chloe Jarvis1, Dr Alinka Fisher, Dr Michelle  Bellon

1Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia

Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) is the recommended framework for supporting individuals with disabilities (including ID) who present with behaviours of concern. Although PBS plans are developed by those with specialised knowledge in this area, they are often implemented by family members or direct support staff, and it has been suggested that PBS plans may not be accessible to those without specialised training. However, there is limited research in this area, and no research exploring the accessibility of PBS plans from the perspectives of non-specialised support people (NSSP). This was the aim of this study.

NSSP completed an online survey to provide feedback on (1) the language, readability, and usefulness of PBS plans for individuals with ID and other disabilities and (2) their support needs in implementing the strategies outlined in plans.

Forty-six NSSP completed the full survey. The majority (60%) reported plans to be accessible and useful, however, it was also reported that PBS plans are too lengthy (23.5%) and not person-centred (29.4%). Fifteen respondents (39.4%) indicated the need for more support in implementing PBS plans, including onsite training and further involvement in the development process.

This study suggests the accessibility and usefulness of plans could be improved, and that NSSP would benefit from staff training specific to PBS and further involvement in the development of plans. Future research is needed to inform best practice in upskilling NSSP to ensure comprehensive plans translate to effective practice to best meet the needs of the individuals being supported.


Chloe Jarvis is a newly graduated Developmental Educator and a registered Positive Behaviour Support practitioner, currently working at Behaviour Support SA. She has always had an interest and a passion for PBS throughout her career and studies, with this being the key focus of her honours thesis, which is the subject of her ASID presentation today. She has also recently joined the teaching team at Flinders University and is excited to return to study next year for the first intake of the Graduate Certificate in Positive Behaviour Support.

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