How PCMA Incorporates Positive Behavior Support (PBS) and Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS)

PBS positive behavior support image

Positive behavior support, or PBS, is a broad generic term that describes a set of procedures or strategies, rather than any specific program. The positive behavior support approach is intended to achieve behavioral success by utilizing proactive, non-punitive, systematic techniques based on applied behavioral science. The U. S. Department of Education (2000) states that PBS is “a general term that refers to the culturally appropriate application of positive behavioral interventions and systems to achieve socially important behavior change.”

A PBS approach to behavior change

incorporates proactive, positive (non-punitive), and instructional strategies. These strategies can take many forms as long as they are based on scientific evidence and they may be implemented at many levels. Strategies may include establishing settings and systems and training staff to facilitate positive behavior change.

PBS is not a new approach. It has roots in psychology, specifically the study and practice of applied behavior analysis, but it has now progressed from special education settings to general education. Those interested in more information on the relationship between Positive Behavior Support and Applied Behavior Analysis may like to read the article, Positive Behavior Support and Applied Behavior Analysis (J. M. Johnston et al. (2006) The Behavior Analyst, 29, 51-74.)


Positive Behavioral Interventions and Strategies (PBIS)

refers to specific school-wide programming that uses PBS. In the late 1990s, George Sugai and Rob Horner, researchers from the University of Oregon, developed the Effective Behavior Supports (EBS) program. That program has since come to be known as Positive Behavioral Interventions and Strategies (PBIS).

The Professional Crisis Management Association (PCMA) was founded in 1981 by Neal Fleisig. A behavior analyst by training, Mr. Fleisig was also trained and heavily influenced by Geoff Colvin, Randy Sprick, Glenn Latham, George Sugai, and Rob Horner, individuals who directly and indirectly laid the foundation for the Positive Behavior Support Movement. All of the non-physical components (and even the principles guiding the physical components) of Professional Crisis Management (PCM) as well as the entire PCMA BehaviorTools Course, fall under the umbrella of Positive Behavior Support (PBS) and can be used as part of a Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) program. Both the Professional Crisis Management and the BehaviorTools courses teach and support the principles of Positive Behavior Support, as well as specific strategies and procedures that make up a Positive Behavior Support approach. PCMA’s guiding principles reflect the core values that drive the positive behavior support movement and have shaped all of the courses that PCMA offers. They are:

  • Human beings have a basic right to humane and dignified treatment.
  • Human beings have a right to safety and freedom from pain.
  • Human beings have a basic right to freedom of choice.
  • The least restrictive alternative that is likely to be effective is critical to safety and success of individuals.
  • Teaching and support strategies must be as positive, pro-active and non-coercive as possible.
  • Teaching and support strategies must utilize proven principles of effective behavior change, such as
        continuous feedback, behavioral shaping, and fading of cues and assistance.

PCMA’s BehaviorTools courses are also based on a model that was developed by those who were leaders in the Positive Behavior Support movement, including Glen Dunlap and Glenn Latham. These courses teach discreet, practical strategies that help staff and caregivers avoid coercion and use proactive, positive methods of behavior management. Because the PCM and BehaviorTools courses share a positive behavior support foundation, they not only support PBIS programming, but also perfectly complement one another.

The Association for Positive Behavior Support (APBS) provides many resources and continuing education opportunities for those who would like to learn more or to become involved in the PBS movement.

3 tiers of positive behavior support

The graph below represents the three tiers. The PCMA BehaviorTools course fits into the primary and secondary tiers of intervention, while Professional Crisis Management (PCM) fits into the tertiary tier, addressing the needs of the students with the most chronic or intense problem behavior.

Effective Positive Behavior Support



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