In reviewing your data, you may see improvements as shown on the graphs above. In that case, it is time to celebrate your progress. If, however, your child is not making the progress you had hoped, it may be a good time to try to understand why that might be. You may want to make sure that you are implementing the strategies in the plan you designed. You can do that by rating the components of the plan. You can estimate how often you are implementing the strategies using a scale such as never, rarely, sometimes, usually, and always. See the example below.
Quickly checking in on each of these components can be a nice reminder of what strategies you had planned. If you are addressing all of these things, and your child still isn’t making improvements, you probably need to identify new goals, re-analyze patterns, and design different strategies. Remember that positive behavior support is a problem-solving process and sometimes it is necessary to adjust.
Improving Quality of Life
When evaluating the outcomes of your plan, you should consider the big picture as well. You want to make sure that it is leading to improvements in quality of life. You might ask yourself some of these questions:
- Is my child physically or emotionally healthier?
- Is my child better able to advocate for her own needs?
- Is my child engaging in more productive activities?
- Is my child developing stronger, more positive relationships?
- Is my child going more places and doing more things?
These questions are also relevant for you as a parent and for other family members because a plan can only be sustainable if everyone is benefitting – if everyone’s lives are improving. In the following video, you will see how the children learned skills and improved their behavior, making their lives and those of their family members better.
In this series of articles, we have described the process of positive behavior support as a series of steps, but you should instead view it as a continuing cycle. As your child develops, learns new skills, and has new experiences and challenges, the steps need to be repeated. New goals lead to new patterns, which lead to new strategies and new outcomes. At each stage, you get to support your child a bit differently and celebrate their progress. Positive behavior support offers a way to focus your efforts, understand what influences your child’s behavior, plan and implement strategies, and monitor changes, helping your child and your family thrive.
Meme Hieneman, has a Ph.D. in Special Education and is nationally certified as a behavior analyst. She has published a variety of articles, chapters, and books including “Parenting with Positive Behavior Support: A Practical Guide to Resolving Your Child’s Difficult Behavior.” In her professional career, Meme has worked with children with severe behavior problems for more than 20 years.