a group of high school age students in a huddle

Many students with significant cognitive disabilities are not benefiting from school-wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) systems. This is despite early research indicating that students with significant cognitive disabilities benefit from tiered positive behavior systems along with their peers without disabilities. Contrast this with one of the primary reasons why students with significant cognitive disabilities do not access inclusive classrooms is challenging behaviors (Conradi et al., in press). Often student's behavior support plans are not well integrated with classroom and school-wide positive behavior supports.

Behavior is a form of communication. Students with significant cognitive disabilities have a higher risk of expressing themselves through challenging behaviors because of their complex communication needs. A sizable number of students with significant cognitive disabilities do not have access to communication systems to effectively communicate their needs (Klienert et al., 2015).

How can we address these needs? In this section, you will find research and evidence-based practical strategies for:

  • developing tiered, school-wide PBIS systems that are inclusive of students with significant cognitive disabilities,
  • showing how individual Positive Behavior Supports (PBS) can be aligned with school and classroom positive behavior systems for all students, and
  • integrating alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) as part of positive behavior plans and systems.

Additional resources are in development and will be posted soon.

TIES Work Focusing on Positive Behavior Supports