Positive Behaviour Support at Aspect

Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) is a person centred framework for providing support in situations where there is, or there is a risk of, challenging behaviour.‘ Challenging behaviour’ is persistent behaviour that puts the physical safety of people at risk or that causes difficulties and limits a person’s ability to have a good life. Note: This does not include behaviours that are typically part of the autism spectrum such as ‘stimming’.

Behaviour is called ‘challenging’ because it challenges everyone who supports the person to understand why it is happening and to work together to find a solution.

What is challenging behaviour?

PBS understands that challenging behaviour occurs for a reason and communicates important information about a person’s stress, distress and skill development.

Challenging behaviour happens as part of an interaction between three components (1) an individual, their current & past experiences and what they have learned (2) the thoughts, feelings and behaviours of other people in their lives & (3) the environments, communities and cultures they live in (e.g. Hastings et al, 2013). PBS addresses all of these areas. In many situations, it is likely that the demands of the person’s situation exceed their ability to cope positively.


PBS initially developed as an approach that supports individuals with disabilities but has evolved to include whole of organisation approaches including school-wide PBS where supports are delivered proactively on a three-tiered whole school basis.

PBS Pyramid

The most important outcome in PBS is an improvement in a person’s quality of life. PBS understands that quality of life outcomes can only be defined by those people who are receiving support.

PBS is a blend of values & science. Key values include a commitment to providing support that

  • Shows respect for diversity
  • Promotes inclusion
  • Increases choice
  • Promotes equality of opportunity and human rights

PBS also uses evidence informed practice and data-based decision making

What is Positive Behaviour Support?

Aspect’s work on PBS

Aspect commits to implementing and continually improving Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) as part of Aspect’s Comprehensive Approach to meet Aspect’s vision, mission & values (link) and to meet national or state requirements.

Aspect has developed a number of resources that aim to make PBS accessible for everyone, whilst maintaining good practice. These resources are to be used freely and shared widely but if you do, please do link to Aspect. Each resource can be used individually or collectively as part of a step by step approach to PBS.

Aspect actively researches, develops and disseminates PBS practice through written information, workshops, conference presentations and via social media.

Who can help?

A range of services and supports exist to help individuals on the autism spectrum, parents, teachers and others to get the information and strategies they need. Ultimately, Positive Behaviour Support is done by the individual, their family members, carers and teachers and other staff who see the person every day; but there may also need to be specialist support.

Positive Behaviour Support

Aspect Therapy employs a range of Positive Behaviour Support Specialists who seek to understand behaviours of concern from multiple perspectives, and work in partnership with the individual’s family and support network to develop plans and goals for meaningful change.


Aspect Practice Workshops

Aspect Practice offer a broad range of autism related workshops for parents, carers, educators and health professionals.

Key messages

  • PBS is a scientific approach that aims to protect a person’s rights and to promote quality of life for them their families & others
  • It is true ‘discipline’, that is effective, evidence-based and promotes positive learning
  • Challenging behaviour results from an interaction between a person, those who support them and the environments they live in. It is no-one’s ‘fault’ but often reflects a mismatch between a person’s needs and what is provided
  • All behaviour has a purpose or ‘function’. It is important to work out what this is
  • PBS is different from general parenting approaches or popular behaviour management programs in that it is purely positive and carries out an comprehensive assessment of the individual closely matches the intervention to the assessment considering the function
  • PBS means we work positively and proactively
  • Team work and consultation is an important part of PBS
  • We implement our support consistently across settings and over time

We have published a Guide to Positive Behaviour Support for children up to age 12

Purchase the Guide to positive Behaviour Support from Aspect’s shopPositive-Behaviour-Support-Manual-cover

This Guide to Positive Behaviour Support provides step by step approach so families and service providers can implement PBS in supporting young people on the autism spectrum.

What is Challenging Behaviour

What is Positive Behaviour Support

Developing a PBS plan (part 1)

PBS for people on the autism spectrum needs to be autism specific. This profile helps you get an understanding of the person, their quality of life, strengths & support needs.


This guide helps you understand whether your profile meets requirements

PBS: Individual Autism Profile Information Sheet

PBS: Typeable Individual Autism Profile Information Sheet

Starting a PBS plan (part 2)

PBS completes a functional behavioural assessment and uses this to develop a function based multi-element support plan.


This guide helps you develop a basic understanding of lower level or emerging challenges

PBS Behaviour Form information sheet

Typable PBS Template

This guide helps you review your plan according to good practice criteria

Reviewing your Behaviour Form

Online Interactive PBS Module

Aspect & Positive Partnerships have collaborated to develop an on-line interactive PBS module with a unique animated video to guide you through using the orange PBS template. It is free to use (but you have to register to access).



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