chapter  18
19 Pages

Positive Behavior Support: A Paternalistic Utopian Delusion


Positive behavior support (PBS) has been presented to the education and disability services sectors as a new science of behavior. It has received much attention and enjoys official mention by the Department of Education in the United States (U.S. Department of Education, 2000). It is sold as a science that has special relevance to solving behavior problems encountered in school and community settings. This is not a trivial claim. We will take a critical look at this claim, examine its emergence in developmental disability and education circles, and assess what PBS may mean for people with disabilities, the people who care for and about them, and for serious students of psychology and education. The approach in this chapter has been to examine PBS from the point of view of the general consumer and emphasize persuasive strategies and moral choices that have characterized proponents of PBS. A more detailed analysis of the false edifice erected by the PBS movement and its technical shortcomings has been addressed to behavior analysts elsewhere (Johnston, Foxx, Jacobson, Green, & Mulick, 2006).