Challenging Behavior

What is Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)?

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) can be used for individual students and as a school-wide effort.

PBIS is a comprehensive approach to challenging behavior which attempts to understand the reason or function of the behavior. One of the primary differences between PBIS and traditional approaches to behavior is that in PBIS it is assumed that the student HAS a problem, rather than that the student IS the problem. When we seek to help the student with their problem we can start to reduce the challenging behavior.

In PBIS, a student's behavior is looked at in the situation where it occurs. Many factors are considered when trying to determine the function of the behavior. Some possible issues to be reviewed may include: environment, adult response to the behavior, consequence for the behavior, possible trigger for the behavior, or whether the student has the skills to meet expected appropriate behavior. The study of the purpose of a student's challenging behavior is called a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) After careful review, interventions should be designed to replace the challenging behavior with more appropriate behavior while still meeting the student's needs. For example, one reason a student may engage in loud disruptive behavior may be for attention. If the student can be taught a more appropriate way to get the attention they need, they would no longer need to engage in a challenging behavior to get that need met. It is essential that the interventions used are done from a positive perspective and are culturally responsive.

For more information on school-wide PBS visit