Positive Behavioral Supports in
Transition Planning for Students with
Severe Disabilities
By Lori Metcalf, Ed. S., NCSP and
Jennifer Burnes, M. Ed, M.S.
• Definitions
• Behavior Plan
– Functional Behavior Assessment
– Goals
• Strategic Plan
• Impacts to Transition
• Conclusion
Significant Cognitive Disabilities
• Low-incidence disabilities
• Need for extensive supports
• Those individuals,
who are most at risk for being excluded from society;
perceived by traditional service systems as most
challenging; most likely to have their rights abridged; most
likely to be at risk for living, working, playing and learning
in segregated environments; least likely to have the tools
and opportunities necessary to advocate on their behalf;
and are most likely to need ongoing, individualized
supports to participate in inclusive communities and enjoy
a quality of life similar to that available to all people.
(TASH, 2013)
Transition Planning
Collaborative process
Results-oriented process
Facilitates movement from school to post-secondary activities
Needs based
Postsecondary education
Vocational education
Integrated employment
Continuing and adult education
Adult services
Independent living
Community participation
Related services
Community experiences
Development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives
If appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation. (IDEA, 2004)
Positive Behavior Supports
PBS - Application of positive behavioral
interventions and/or programs that increase the
likelihood of enhanced socially significant behavior
• Takes in account the context in which the
behavior occurs.
• Addresses function of the behavior.
• Interventions that can be justified by their
• Outcomes are socially significant (Sugai, et al.,
Behavior Plan/Behavior Change
Proactive action plan to address behavior(s) that are hindering
learning and the education of the student or others (PENT).
• Sometimes referred to as a Behavior Intervention Plan
• Addresses the functionality of problematic behaviors.
• States goals that are measurable and addresses the
increase or decrease of the behavior to promote student
• Includes a plan to change the environment to enhance
behavior in a positive way.
• The use of positive behavior interventions to change
behavior (Cain)
Why Functional Behavior
Assessment (FBA)?
• Although children’s behavior may look alike (e.g.,
hitting, shouting, spitting, screaming, refusal to
follow directions, and complete assignments), the
functions and causes can be very different.
• The FBA looks at all settings that surround the
student such as biological, social, and
environmental. It does not look specifically at the
Why FBA?
FBAs Create a “win-win” situation for
teachers and the student.
Leads toward positive replacement behaviors through
the use of intervention which may have long-term
(Witt, Daly, & Noell, 2000).
What is a FBA?
• FBA is a process of gathering data from multiple
sources to identify information about what
happens right before a behavior (antecedents),
the problem behavior, and what happens right
after the behavior (consequence) (Barnhill, 2005;
Crone, Hawkin, & Bergstrom, 2007).
• Results are used to guide in designing an
intervention for decreasing the problem behavior
and increasing appropriate behavior (Cooper,
Heron, & Heward, 2007).
Background Information
• Multiple Sources/Settings
Support Staff
Lunch room/recess/specials (e.g., Music, P.E., Art)
• School Performance
Behavior Referrals
Frequency/Event Recording Data Collection Sheet
Student _________________________________________
Observer _______________________
Dates of Observation __________________________________________________________________
Complete Behavior Description __________________________________________________________
Start Stop
Picture of a behavior log with column headings
“date/time, setting, antecedent, behavior, and
Consider all the data:
1. What patterns of behavior were demonstrated?
 Did the behavior occur following the antecedent?
 Does the behavior occur at other times?
 What consequences immediately follow the behavior?
2. Can the behavior be attributed to anything else
(i.e., medical conditions, outside variables, etc.)?
• Based on the data, a hypothesis should be
developed that determines the function (cause)
of the problematic behavior.
Tangible Reinforcement
Next Step: Goals
• Based on outcome of FBA:
– Observable
– Measurable
– Increase acceptable behavior
– Reduce problem behavior
• Foster success in academic or employment
• Expected performance level
• Goals
– Focused on general outcomes vs. many focused
on sub-skill mastery
• Example
– By the end of 1st semester, Dakota will increase
time on task to 15 minutes during independent
reading time.
Strategic Planning
• Environment
• Frequent Opportunities for Reinforcement
• Social Skill Training
PBS  Transition
• Problem behaviors = Barrier to inclusion
• Impacts classroom, community, employment
PBS  Transition
– Is individualized
– Consistent with self-determination
– Encourages independent decision making
– Allows individual control
– Allows individual to exert influence without
exhibiting problem behaviors
(Renzaglia, Karvonen, Drasgow, & Stoxen, 2003)
Impacts to Transition
• Empirically Supported Interventions
– Align with PBS
– Increases
• Choice making
• Decision making
• Problem solving
• Goal setting and attainment
• Self-advocacy
• Self-awareness
• Self-instruction
(Wehmeyer, 2003)
Impacts to Transition
• Empirically supported interventions
– Align with PBS
– Decreases
• Maladaptive behavior
• Opportunities for choice-making
– Reduces problem behavior
– Provides level of control
– Relates to PBS-personal preferences
(Wehmeyer, Baker, Blumberg, & Harrison, 2004)
• Visual schedules
– Self-management
– Sequential reminders
• Tandem use of routine schedule with choices included
– Increases
• Independence
• Self-initiation of leisure activities
– Generalize from classroom use to employment and/or
independent living arrangements
(Mesibov, G. V., Browder, D. M., & Kirkland, C., 2002)
Problem Behaviors and SelfDetermination
• More problem behavior
– Higher self-determination?
• Communication limitations
• Greater opportunity to exert self-determination
• Student self-assertion
• Difficult behaviors are barriers to greater
societal inclusion
• PBS:
– Addresses difficult behaviors
– Allows personal control
– Produces change that positively impacts how
individuals live their lives
– Ultimately, can positively influence transition
Calvin and
Hobbes Cartoon
Calvin is sitting
at desk.
Calvin is
Calvin screams
Calvin is walking
to the
principal’s office
and states,
Yeah…Kill the
Contact Information
Lori Metcalf, Ed. S., NSCP
Graduate Research Assistant
Zarrow Center for Learning Enrichment
Jennifer Burnes, M. Ed., M.S.
Graduate Research Assistant
Zarrow Center for Learning Enrichment
[email protected]
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Positive Behavioral Supports (PPT)