Supporting Families at Home with PBIS


Supporting Families at Home with PBIS

This article originally appeared in START Connecting in January 2021. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many public schools across Michigan were not able to offer a full-time return to face-to-face learning in the fall. Depending on each district’s circumstances various models or a combination of models were offered including all face-to-face learning, all online learning, or a hybrid approach. In an effort to assist families supporting their children with learning at home, the Michigan Alliance for Families (MAF) and Michigan Multi-Tiered Systems of Support Technical Assistance Center (MiMTSS TAC) partnered to offer four family-friendly webinar training opportunities covering strategies and supports that could be implemented at home. The Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) methodology was used as a foundation for creating the webinars. PBIS is an evidence-based framework that focuses on a positive and proactive approach in preventing behaviors and teaching skills. PBIS employs data-based decision making and systems change by establishing safe, predictable, and supportive home and school settings.

Webinar 1: PBIS and Routines

Overview: Provides an overview of PBIS; ways to prepare for transitioning back to school; what routines are and why they are important in providing structure, predictability and reducing anxiety; types and examples of routines and  visuals to support routines; how to implement routines in the family; effectively communicating between home and school; and resources for creating and using routines.

Key Takeaway: Use visuals discussed to set up a simple routine at home relating to the child’s interests. Praise the child for using the visuals and following the routine. Contact the child’s teacher for assistance. Teachers can help with aligning school routines that were familiar to the child during school with the new home routines.

Webinar 2: PBIS and Expectations

Overview: Discusses expectations as broad statements of expected behavior based on shared values at home or school. Promotes using consistent language that applies to all students (in school) or family members (at home). Expectations need to be clear, consistent, and teachable. Provides steps for developing expectations and relates expectations (e.g. be kind, be respectful, be safe) to routines (e.g. online instruction, completing homework, getting reading in the morning); and establishing rules related to expectations. Provides strategies for teaching rules (e.g. choices, visuals, interests) and assuring understanding of rules.

Key Takeaway: Create a home expectation matrix and identify rules to teach at home. Teach, practice, and model rules and practice and model when the child makes mistakes. Find rewards to motivate the child. Enlist the child’s teacher for help and keep ongoing communication with the child’s teacher and school. 

Webinar 3: PBIS and Behavior

Overview: Covers concepts and strategies for recognizing, reminding, and rewarding (reinforcing) expected behaviors. Reviews structured reinforcement, examples of rewards, and reward systems. Provides strategies for teaching alternative and prosocial behaviors in responding to challenging behavior or when expectations are not followed (e.g. correction/redirection, choice, non-verbal cues). Defines punishment versus discipline and precursor behaviors that may signal challenging behaviors are likely to occur.

Key Takeaway: Follow the remindrecognize, and reward approach for expected behavior and use a high rate of positive feedback (reinforcement) for correction of behavior. Watch for signs of behavior escalation and correct by redirecting, signaling, and providing choices. Reach out to the child’s teacher or team for assistance when needed.

Webinar 4: PBIS Q&A

Overview: Provides a facilitated discussion by a statewide panel addressing commonly asked questions about behavior and online instruction with professionals from Intermediate School Districts (ISDs), MAF parent mentors (who also have a child with a disability), and parents of children with disabilities. Questions for panelists related to PBIS strategies, peer to peer, learning online, aligning home and school expectations, responding to challenging behavior, and more. There is an open question session for webinar participants at the end of the panel.

Key Takeaway: It is important to watch the first three webinars in the series to be informed on routines, expectations, teaching, reminding, rewarding, and responding to challenging behavior before watching this webinar. 

Another series of PBIS webinars for parents to prepare for the summer is being planned for spring 2021. To get information about dates and registration, sign up for the MAF Newsletter. Or visit the MAF Upcoming Events page, the MAF Facebook page, or the MAF Twitter page

Additional Resources

Written by: Stacie Rulison, M.S., M.Ed., BCBA 

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