young woman with her hands on her head looking stressed

What is behaviour support & Why do we need it?

Behaviour support is a way of thinking through why someone behaves in ways that may be seen as challenging.

Usually, this relates back to unmet needs that the person has. Behaviour support is about focussing on the environment and the upskilling of supporters to adapt the surroundings to ensure the person is best supported.

A behaviour practitioner is someone who works with individuals and their families/ supporters to discuss the underlying needs of the person which may be causing them to act out in challenging ways. The strategies are very unique to the individual so it is a person-centred approach. Behaviour Practitioners work with families in partnership to reflect on what works and what doesn’t. There may be a need for a behaviour support plan to be developed.

Behaviour support is a process that takes time, practitioners don’t have all the answers and it’s a non-expert approach to working with the person and their supporters, whether that is at school, home, or in the community. Behaviour support will include:

  • writing a functional behaviour assessment and behaviour support plan
  • writing a functional behaviour assessment and behaviour support plan, focusing on specific behaviours and dveloping opportunities for your loved one and their supporters to build their capacity and skills and to then have the time to reflect back on what’s worked/not worked and to adjust the strategies.   

Some suggested resources and places to find out more information about behaviour support.

The following is a video recording of a DDWA webinar about challenging behaviour and accessing behaviour support in the NDIS (2021)

DDWA have lots of resources to support families who have a family member who has complex communication needs.

Communication • Developmental Disability WA – DDWA

NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Commission and PBS

Behaviour support | NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (

Understanding Me Positive Behaviour Support activity cards have been developed by WAiS to generate conversations about positive behaviour support. They are based on contemporary disability practice and align with the NDIS Quality & Safeguard Commission’s Regulated Restrictive Practice Guides.

Understanding People: Positive Behaviour Support | WA’s Individualised Services (

Microboards Australia has developed a course: Is there a better way? This is online training for families that can’t access positive behaviour support and can be a great start. Support workers can also do this online training alongside families.

The NDIS have developed this training module which encourages workers to consider and respond to different scenarios in the context of supporting a person with disability. 

Foundations to understanding behaviour is a free learning package of five video modules developed to help you enhance your knowledge and skills around supporting people with disability and complex communication needs. It has some great information about neuroscience and some reasons behind the challenging behaviours.