The last twenty has seen the emergence from Applied Behavioural Analysis of Positive Behavioural Support.ABS was Established in the 1960s as a science which produces behavioural changes from its learning principles. They are then systematically applied in order to bring about behavioural changes which are socially important (Cooper. Heron & Heward,1987).In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s PBS was being developed using methods and concepts in a generalised concept of strategy of support and intervention from ABA. This strategy was intended to reduce behavioural problems and enhance a persons quality of life ( E.Carr et al.,2002).PBS owes a lot of its methodological, conceptual and technological roots from ABA, and so is indebted to ABA for this and this is well understood (E.Carr et al ., 2002).A lot of behavioural analysis’s who are conspicuous contributors in ABS initially trained in ABA and they still maintain very close links with ABA.PBS is still in terms of data required and the formation of new theoretical frameworks as it tries to establish it self as a fully distinct science in its infancy. Although due to the unique and substance of PBS’s critical features it warrants a separate identity (E.Carr et al.,2002;Dunlap,2004).The links are vital and numerous between ABA and PBS ( Risley,2003).At an individual level is the debt that PBS owes to ABA at its most oblivious especially in the direct intervention practices at procedural level. With the use of the principles of instrumental methods , the use of stimulus control and positive reinforcement. And even extends to intervention technology and the considerable assessments that were developed by the ABA, in the early years. This technology includes contingency management, antecedent manipulations, refined strategies of instruction, Functional assessment and functional analysis.PBS have also adapted times series designs and methods of direct observations which are used extensively in ABA. While PBS embraces perspectives and traditions beyond ABA’s, its service delivery is indisputably similar (J.Carr & Sidener,2002;Dunlap,2004;Wacker & Berg,2002).In 1968 the Journal of Applied Behavioural Analysis was founded. With its founding editor Montrose Wolf 1968-1970, and Todd Risley as editor 1972-1974,these two editors were responsible for the innovative and dynamic characteristics that were in that journal. And were in turn with their colleges were largely responsible for the shaping ABA as a discipline. Through their own research publications and the early years at the Journal of Behavioural Analysis, Risley and Wolf led the way in the development of the model of action oriented field research (Fixsen & Dunlap,2004).This model is based on experimental methods and rigorous measurements, a great deal of this models uniqueness is associated with these seven appealing characteristics.
1.To solve serious human problems with a complete focus on practical solutions.
2.Messages from research should be direct and simple, Quest for Parsimony.
3.Solutions identified in research should benefit individuals in life altering ways, or large portions of society in a quest for meaningful impact.
4.Obliging research design to conform to situations and to putting solutions before the strictures of the science.
5.Recognise that in anolog contexts solutions are not real solutions in real human problems, ecological validity.
6.Having a commitment to collaborate with the community, colleges research participants and students in understanding that solutions and ideas are communal and a social phenomena.
7.Ideas are more important than any ideology. With this model of applied research the message is clearly that its important to be completely open to hopefully useful perspectives, and to be restrained by disciplinary and conceptual insularity is counterproductive.
Wolf and Risley with the use of these seven characteristics in applied science, enabled them to answer critical problems.Strenghthen the vigour and potency of interventions, by the development of the achievement place group home model. And with the idea of social validation. Wolf with his colleges changed the previous restrictions of hard direct observation data (Wolf,1978).The achievement place group members with the use of systematic consumer imput to supplement the usual evidence .Where then able to refine the residential service model, and also able to replicate their findings successfully many times due to its robustness (Fixsen,Blasé,Timbers & Wolf,2001).Without the use of social validation data this scaling up would not have been possible. Risley although a founding member of ABA showed the same ability to move beyond his disciplines limitations in his quest for answers to critical questions. Risley with Betty Hart (Hart & Risley,1995) used unconventional descriptive statistics and data collection techniques to produce very important findings, associated with the development of young children’s language. Risley also conceived of behavioural support happenings at a larger life arrangements level. With interventions being formulated on whom and where a person on a daily bases interact with. And what they do in terms of play, work and social commerce (Risley,1996).The scientific precepts of ABA did not foresee the conceptualisation, but it shows the spirit and dynamic model of action oriented problem solving of Wolf, Risley and others created in the 1960s and 1970s.The cornerstone of PBS is the life arrangements approach by Risley. The experimental analysis of behaviour and the scientific techniques of behaviour by the early founders of ABA provided a valuable service (Sidman,1960;Skinner,1953) in the field of real human problems. Some of the founders of ABA created a dynamic and creative model of problem solving field based research, by going beyond the this act of tranlation.whilst at the same time maintaining the many benefits and scientific orientation that were produced by early ABA. By creating additional strategies or adopting some, to defeat barriers in their way that were diminishing their effectiveness or understanding. Risley and Wolf are oblivious examples although there are and were others. The techniques and methods of ABA are essiential.But the pioneers that used the dynamic problem solving approach in ABA has also been adopted by people in PBS and should be maintained by them in order to help find new solutions that affect human well being.
There is mounting concern over the challenging behaviours displayed by the numbers of young children in early childhood settings (Squires & Bricker,2007).Behaviours such as tantrums,biting,yelling,hitting,withdrawal or noncompliance. Which are major barriers to effective social networks and their development of social compliance (Campbell,Specker,Burchinal,Poe & The NICH, Early Child Care Research Network; Dunlap et al.,2006;Wood,Cowan & Baker,2006).A child’s typical development consists of these challenging behaviours in the early years, for instance a two year old child will yell when refused a biscuit or sweet. A three year old child will take a toy and then hit the other child. But these behaviours should then diminish as the child develops emotional and social regulation, language and their skills at cognitive problems increase (Campbell,1995;Tremblay et al.,2004).Approximately 10% of children continue in their preschool years to exhibit these challenging behaviours (Kuperschmidt,Bryant & Willoughby,2000).This figure rises if the children are from low income families (Qi & Kaiser,2003).For children who exhibit severe and/or sustained challenging behaviours the outcome is bleak. Challenging behaviours long term negative outcomes may not be limited to and can include social rejection, drug abuse, academic failure and the commission of crime in adulthood (Patterson, Reid & Dishow,1992). The development pathway that leads to anti social behaviours and social conduct disorders has been shown by research to be established in the preschool years (Webster-straton,2000).Young children who are at risk of displaying patterns of challenging behaviour in preschool have a need for early intervention. In America there is such a federally funded programme called P.L. 99-457 which came about in 1986.This is an early childhood special education service or intervention. In where a child is at risk or has disabilities. But this service are not always provided for all of the chidren,who display emotional and/or social behavioural problems. Due to idiosyncrasies with the lack of assessment methods and/or systematic screening (Conway & Brown,2004;Powell,Fixsen,Dunlap,Smith & Fox,2007).These services when they are provided have been reactive rather proactive (Conway & brown,2004).Interventions have been based on a response to a single child’s disruptive behaviour. Without taking steps to reduce the likelihood of other children in the classroom developing challenging behaviour patterns. Whilst this is important for remedying severe problem behaviour in one child, it does little to reduce similar patterns of behaviour in other children. as it doesn’t address their needs.Families,researchers and preschool teachers are looking for the implementation of a research based comprehensive intervention programmes. To prevent the emergence of problem behaviours by young children (Gillam & Shaber,2006;Joseph & Strain,2003). Preschool teachers however continue to voice the opinion that a child’s challenging behaviour is their biggest concern (Alkon,Rambler & MacLennan,2003;Joseph & Strain,2003) In a recent report (Gilliam & Shaber,2003) demonstrated that teachers do not have the support for early interventions that they need. The figure that rates for expulsion in preschool children are 3.2 times higher than for school age children shows this (Gilliam & Shaber,2006).Child expulsion rates dropped though when preschool teachers had access to mental health consultants who are based in the classroom. These rates dropped specifically if this support was available on an ongoing bases. Other research has also supported these results, that it is important to have access to mental health specialists and the support they offer to preschool teachers. As the teachers try to manage social emotional development and challenging behaviours of young children 9Alkon et al.,2003;Duda,Dunlap,Fox,lentini & Clarke,2004).
A Consultant will work with a teacher in consultation for preschool children, in order to strengthen teaching strategies. With the use of environmental arrangements that are associated with children’s emotional functioning and social skills (Dougherty,2000).In a comprehensive multi systems level approach, the consultant may also work with other service related personnel and administrators. In a system level approach such as in procedures and policies for example, teachers schedules, data management and referral practices. This can help support the assessment, identification and the prevention of and intervention for challenging behaviours.Teachers,young children and early childhood service delivery arrangements can benefit from a fully comprehensive system wide model. That involves consultation in order to prevent challenging behaviour by young children, through preventative support. Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) is one such multi comprehensive approach which is team based. That shows promise and has been well tested especially in preschool settings (Conroy & Brown,2004;Fox,Dunlap & Powell,2002).PBS is a multi system wide model used in the reduction of challenging behaviours. The PBS model consists of three levels of prevention and intervention, within a programme setting or a school setting, depending of the needs of the children (Carr et al.,2002).At the first level of prevention all the children are provided with a predictive and safe environment. The focus being on trying to build relationships which are positive (Fox,Dunlap,Hemmeter,Joseph & strain,2003).The physical design of the classroom also gets attention, the schedule which is followed regulary.Then there is also verbal interactions with the families, children and other teachers (Fox,et al.,2003).Along with this the children are shown clearly defined expectations. Such as the use of listening ears, safe hands and the use of quiet voices inside. These techniques are taught specifically in a large group instruction class, such as circle time (Stormont et al.,2005).These are often displayed on posters placed in the classroom walls for the children and others to look at and refer too. Then these may become classroom rules, normally there would be three to five classroom rules with accompanying posters or pictures. Which is the recommended amount, then normally every day the children are especially taught these expectations with nonexamples and examples of rule following behaviours (Stormont et al .,2005).At the second level of support which involves targeted interventions of a small group of children, who have displayed some deficits in challenging behaviours and/or social skills (Howken & Horner,2003).In a classroom of young children, the programme consists of small group activities such as buddy or peer group programmes. Or strategies that are implemented by the teacher, that are used throughout the day. For instance by offering support by the teacher to the child when they are using self regulation strategies (Fox et al.,2003). And in the low risk group, for children who display low intensity behaviours. Second level strategies operate in the most efficient way with small groups of children. It is at the tertiary or top level of intervention, where children are not responding to preventive attempts. Or who display severe and/or chronic challenging behaviours is individualised interventions offered. These individualised interventions should be culturally and socially appropriate, practical and come form Functional Behaviour Assessments FBA (Lewis & Sugai,1999,Sugai et al.,2000).Another key feature of PBS can include the use and formation of leadership teams. Who should use in order to monitor progress data based procedures (Albin,Lucyshyn,Horner & Flannery,1996).This team should consist of assistant and lead classroom teachers,families,mental health specialists, related service personnel and administrators. All of whom should work frequently with preschool teachers to support children’s emotional and social development. The procedures used to collect data must look at the organizational structure, that is the routines and schedules that they use (Fox & Little,2001;Stormont et al.,2005).PBS is a model that has a continuum of supports such as the first, second and then tertiary or top levels of prevention and intervention. Research seems to show that it needs at least 80% implementation to be effective (Scott & Martinek,2006).What this means in effect is piecemeal or partial implementation may put the whole programme at risk. And its effectiveness to make targeted change and then to maintain this change over time.
In conclusion looking at the research PBS can offer real help and support for the children displaying this challenging behaviour. Their teachers and importantly the families as they try to cope with this, in what can be a very disruptive and hard to deal with problem behaviour. But like every thing in this current climate, its trying to find the necessary resources for programme. which is going to be a major set back for any school that wants to implement this programme. Especially as the programme needs at least an 80% implementation rate to be fully effective.