Environmental Strategies for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)

January 7, 2011
Open book in a classroom setting

Effectively supporting positive behaviors involves making changes in three areas: the environment, staff responses, and skill building. This post is the first of three in a series that will address these key aspects to consider when developing Behavior Intervention Plans.

PBIS strategies focus on a commitment to fixing environments, not people. Because behavior does not exist in a vacuum, we need to look at its context and center our attention on an individual’s environment in order to create an effective Behavior Intervention Plan. Once an individual’s environment fits him and meets his needs, challenging behavior is less likely to occur.

The Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication-related Handicapped Children (TEACCH) program is designed to help organize our thinking about environmental strategies through an educational approach called structured teaching. This approach includes four elements for modifying an individual’s environment to accommodate his needs. The elements are Physical Structure, Schedules/Routines, Work Systems, and Visual Structure Within Tasks. Structuring an environment in alignment with these considerations can help alleviate behaviors caused by factors such as:

  • Sensory distractions or overstimulation.
  • Crowded or cluttered environments.
  • A lack of proper supervision/support.
  • Unexpected changes to routines.

Environmental factors are things that staff can, in large part, control. What other kinds of environmental Precipitating Factors can you think of? What are some environmental strategies you’ve incorporated into your Behavior Intervention Plans? How have you structured your environment to better support the individuals in your care? Let us know in the comments section below.

Read more about Positive Behavior Supports on our Knowledge Base page.

Additional information about the TEACCH program and structured teaching is available at https://www.teacch.com/ and http://www.txautism.net/assets/uploads/docs/TEACCH-TG.pdf.

Schedule a Consultation

Learn how CPI’s training programs can benefit your organization.

Let's Connect