Positive Behavior Support

Vaughn, B. J., White, R., Johnston, S., & Dunlap, G. (2005). Positive Behavior Support as a Family-Centered Endeavor. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 7, 55-58. 

In this paper, the writers share an example of a family who enjoyed some of the indirect benefits of Positive Behavior Supports without being involved in the actual study. The family now enjoys an enhanced lifestyle status of as a result of reductions in the child’s problem behaviors. The study involved a young man named Jerome who had been remove from his parents’ home because of maltreatment. Jerome had mild mental retardation and displayed chronic behavioral difficulties at home and in his special education class he was attending in a public school. He was struggling with academics and often disrupted his class. His grandmother, Mrs. Johnson, now had custody of Jerome, and she complained that she would often miss work because of his out-of-school suspensions. A functional assessment was performed involving Jerome’s special education teacher. It was noted that Jerome would leave his schoolwork and run around having fun instead. The reinforcement he received for escaping his work outweighed the benefits of work completion. Interventions were implemented with the goal of promoting the following three behaviors: staying in his seat, raising his hand, and completing his work. A system was set up to help Jerome feel some sense of satisfaction in self control. In the system Jerome could earn points for performing any of the three behaviors, and those points could be accumulated and exchanged later for rewards. Within days after having the new system explained to him, Jerome’s behaviors improved significantly. Mrs. Johnson benefited indirectly from the positive change in Jerome’s behavior at school. He showed more self-control at home, was not as angry, was more willing to do chores, and didn’t mind sitting down and doing his homework at home. Although Mrs. Johnson could not participate in the study, she was no longer called out of work as often due to suspensions from school, and, therefore, benefited nonetheless.