Principles of Positive Behavior Support for DSPs Part 2: Teaching Functional Skills

Principles of Positive Behavior Support for DSPs Part 2: Teaching Functional Skills 

In the field of developmental disability services, direct support staff handle challenging behavior from the individuals they serve on a daily basis. Positive behavior support is an effective and essential system for providing meaningful and enjoyable lives for people with disabilities. Not only does this system help you figure out why an individual does a particular behavior or not, but it also helps you develop a plan for intervention. While focusing on the reasons behind behavior issues, this course will instruct you on the principles of positive behavior support by examining the origins and preventions of challenging behaviors in the individuals being served and how to best support their needs. Interactive exercises, detailed case examples, and instructive information make this course helpful for applying this knowledge whenever you may need it. Based on guidelines from The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities’ (AAIDD) Positive Behavior Support Training Curriculum, this course covers the foundation model for positive behavior support, various teaching methods for addressing and correcting behaviors, as well as numerous ways to assess results or collect data to make adjustments in future support plans. Another course, “Supervision and the Principles of Positive Behavior Support,” is designed for supervisors working with staff to provide quality supports and services that promote daily enjoyment among people with disabilities and reduce the likelihood of challenging behavior through the principles and practices of Positive Behavior Support (PBS). While the audience for this training should already know the basic human rights of the people they serve, the information in this training is appropriate for any direct support personnel working in any setting providing services to people with developmental and related disabilities.


Hours: 1.25


Certificates provided by accrediting body (1 Match)

National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals

1.25 HOURS

This activity is approved for 1.25 contact hours.

Course Details

Hours: 1.25
Type: Online Course
Content Expiration Date: 12/31/2021
Learning Objectives:
Define what a functional skill is and explain why it is important to teach functional skills.
Name at least one thing to look for in an environment that will help the self-advocate enjoy their environment.
Describe the benefit of choice and why it is so important.

SECTION 1: Introduction A. About This Course B. Learning Objectives SECTION 2: Teaching Functional Skills in a Supportive, Choice-Filled Environment A. What Is a Functional Skill? B. The Four Guidelines for Deciding What to Teach C. Guideline #1: Depending on Others for Daily Needs D. Guideline #2: Using a Skill Over and Over E. Guideline #3: Learning Age-Appropriate Skills F. Guideline #4: Replacing Problem Behavior with a Skill G. The Right Training Setting and Materials H. Why Functional Skills Are Important I. Identify the Functional and Nonfunctional Skills J. The Significance of a Suitable Environment K. How Environments Affect Positive Behavior Support L. Four Things to Look for in the Environment M. Review N. Summary SECTION 3: Impact of the Environment and Supportive Interactions A. Step 1 of BSP: Make Needed Environmental Changes B. The Importance of Choice in Our Lives C. Different Ways of Making Choices D. Giving a Vocal Choice E. Giving a Two-Item Choice F. Giving a One-Item Choice G. Identifying When to Give Choices H. The Benefits of Choosing I. Supportive Interactions Are the Key J. Engage Everyone in a Group K. Positive vs. Negative Interactions L. Match a Person’s Interaction Style M. Helpful Tips for Group Interactions N. More Helpful Tips for Group Interactions O. Group Interaction Observation Form P. Group Interaction Observation Form: Definitions Q. ABC Model for Diffusing Problem Behavior R. Diffusing Potential Problem Situations with Positive Interactions S. Review Question T. Summary SECTION 4: Summary A. Course Review B. Course Contributors C. References D. Congratulations!

Instructor: Dennis Reid, Ph.D.
Dr. Dennis H. Reid is a licensed psychologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst who has spent his career providing behavioral services as a teacher, psychologist, program director, and director of psychology services. Dr. Reid shows a sustained record of impressive and outstanding applied research with major benefits for its direct participants, populations of participants, and fellow researchers. While most of his work is reported as peer-reviewed research in the most rigorous of applied journals, he has also taken the time to write books and manuals to allow this information to be exported to the widest audience. His work on reinforcer assessment/preference and happiness indices was seminal and is frequently cited. This line of preference investigation has opened new opportunities for the lives of individuals with profound, multiple handicaps. His work in staff training and management (including staff motivation) has helped other researchers and practitioners understand and use these procedures. Disclosure: Dennis Reid, Ph.D. has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Instructor: Marsha Parsons, M.A.
Marsha B. Parsons is Director of the Dogwood Resource Center at the J. Iverson Riddle Center in Morganton, North Carolina, and has over 45 peer-reviewed journal article publications and has coauthored 3 books. She has over 30 years of supervisory experience and offers a wide range of behavioral support services for individuals with developmental disabilities. She has given more than 75 presentations in staff training, management and motivation, evaluation, and provision of services. Disclosure: Marsha Parsons, M.A. has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Instructor: Myra Lavenue, M.A.
Myra Lavenue has 16 years of experience creating educational material for online training, classroom training, technical manuals, user’s guides, quick-start guides, job aids, posters, video scripts, and newsletters. Her primary goal when developing instructions is always to write clearly, inform the reader, and engage the reader’s interest by using a voice the reader can relate to. Her customers have included Albertina Kerr Centers, Multnomah County (Oregon), Qwest Communications, American Express, Bellcore, AT&T, Intel Corporation, LAIKA Studios, Hewlett-Packard, The Gap, ACT Inc., John Deere, Rite Aid, and more. She has a BA in Biology from the University of Chicago, and a Master’s in Communications from New York University. Disclosure: Myra Lavenue, M.A. has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Target Audience:
The target audience for this course is: entry, intermediate, and advanced level Direct Support Professionals; in the following settings: Intellectual Developmental Disabilities.
Relias will be transparent in disclosing if any commercial support, sponsorship or co-providership is present prior to the learner completing the course.
Course Delivery Method and Format
Asynchronous/Online Distance Learning; please see certificate details for specifics on delivery format.
Relias has a grievance policy in place to facilitate reports of dissatisfaction. Relias will make every effort to resolve each grievance in a mutually satisfactory manner. In order to report a complaint or grievance please contact Relias.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Support by completing the web form ( or by using the chat functionality.
All courses offered by Relias, LLC are developed from a foundation of diversity, inclusiveness, and a multicultural perspective. Knowledge, values and awareness related to cultural competency are infused throughout the course content.
Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, service mark, manufacturer or otherwise does not constitute or imply any endorsement, recommendation, or favoring of, or affiliation with, Relias, LLC.
All characteristics and organizations referenced in the following training are fictional. Any resemblance to any actual organizations or persons living or dead, is purely coincidental.
To earn continuing education credit for this course you must achieve a passing score of 80% on the post-test and complete the course evaluation.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Customer Support here.