PBIS & Special Education Students

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  • 0:04 What Is PBIS?
  • 0:33 Importance of PBIS?
  • 1:51 PBIS and SPED Students
  • 2:35 Implementation of PBIS
  • 3:58 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lori Sturdivant

Lori has a specialist's degree in Instructional Leadership/Mild Moderate and currently serves as the Lead Teacher for The University of Southern Mississippi's Autism Project.

This lesson explains what PBIS is, why it is important, and how it affects students with special needs. It also provides a step-by-step process on how to implement PBIS in your classroom and school.

What Is PBIS?

PBIS stands for Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports. It is a behavior management system that focuses on rewarding desirable behaviors instead of punishing students for undesirable behaviors. This isn't to say that consequences are not used at all, but rather used as a last resort. PBIS is a proactive approach to managing behaviors.

With PBIS, students are taught about behavior, just as they are about other subjects like English or math.

Why Is PBIS Important?

PBIS is important because it prevents and reduces problem behaviors, while simultaneously teaching replacement behaviors. You can use it for students who are at risk of developing behavioral problems and for students who are already demonstrating undesirable behaviors. By consistently reinforcing appropriate behaviors, problem behaviors will fade away on their own.

Research has shown that using punishment without other positive strategies is not effective. PBIS teaches the students what behaviors are expected. Rewarding students for demonstrating expected behaviors is a much more positive approach than waiting for behavior problems to occur.

For example, Johnny throws a pencil from the back of the classroom, and it hits another student. You react by verbally scolding him or sending him to the principal's office. After Johnny is punished, he will come back to your classroom and be expected to follow the rules. If Johnny's behavior gets worse, the punishment might be increased.

When you use PBIS, the focus is on preventing Johnny from throwing things. He is taught what behavior is appropriate, as if he is being taught a social studies lesson or a math problem. Johnny will participate in social skills lessons that include role-play. He is able to see what appropriate behavior looks like, and he is rewarded for demonstrating good behavior.

PBIS and SPED Students

Our special education students need extra help when addressing behavior issues. As teachers, we must ensure that behavior is not a direct result of the disability. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA) states that only 'scientifically research-based interventions' can be used with students who have special needs. PBIS is a scientifically research-based intervention, and it was created with help from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).

Often, students with special needs are excluded from general education settings because of their behavior problems. PBIS is a great way to teach and model appropriate behaviors for all students.

Implementation of PBIS

Let's now look at the steps that can be taken to implement PBIS in your school and classroom.

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