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Supporting Positive Behaviour and Communication

Course Code: BHIN 1256
Faculty: Child, Family & Community Studies
Department: Disability & Community Studies
Credits: 3.0
Semester: Flexible delivery ranging over 1 to 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: Summer
course overview

This citation course introduces students to principles and applied strategies in positive behaviour support and augmentative and alternative communication.

Course Content

The following global ideas guide the design and delivery of this course:

  • Behaviour is a form of communication. A person’s actions serve purposes for that individual.
  • A single behaviour can fulfill many needs. Different behaviours may meet the same needs. Reasons why individuals act in a given manner can change from moment to moment.
  • Individuals are complex human beings who have unique histories and circumstances.  Effective practitioners look at context and circumstances when considering an individual’s actions.
  • Effective practitioners need well developed listening and observation skills, which can be developed over time and through practice.
  • Using positive approaches with individuals who may have “challenging behaviour” empowers both the individual being supported and the practitioners.
  • Communication is a means for transmitting and receiving information.  It is essential for the growth and participation of individuals and can enable them to develop autonomy and control in their daily lives.
  • Augmentative and alternative communication includes all communication that supplements or augments speech.  Everyone uses these modes that can be symbolic, non-symbolic or multi-faceted.
  • Individuals are unique in how they send and receive information.  Practitioners can enhance communication exchanges by identifying, recognizing and responding to the dynamic communication methods used by the people they support.

Methods of Instruction

  • Lecture
  • Practice
  • Videos

Means of Assessment

This course will conform to Douglas College policy regarding the number and weighting of evaluations. Typical means of evaluation would include a combination of:

  • Case study
  • Quiz
  • Project and Class presentation

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

1.       Apply basic principles to understand and support individuals’ behaviour

  • Recognize behaviour as a possible form of communication
  • Consider context, functions and purposes of behaviour for individuals including medical, social, emotional, physical, environmental, etc. factors

2.       Investigate often complex nature of behaviour using current approaches e.g. functional assessment, functional analysis

  • Uses information gathering tools such as a variety of observation and recording methods, antecedent/behaviour/consequence forms, interview protocols, Motivation Assessment Scale, etc. when developing a plan
  • Develops a variety of possible explanations or hypotheses for an individual’s behaviour as part of the planning process

3.       Practice clear communication skills and strategies in positive behaviour support.

  • Listen to individual communication including actions, interactions, reactions and inaction
  • Use a variety of positive support strategies e.g. social stories, visual schedules, task analyses and organizers, etc.
  • Expresses self in clear and considered manner, verbally and in writing,
  • Collaborates with others e.g. team members, families, etc. to reach thoughtful and considered support decisions

4.       Facilitate alternative and augmentative communication opportunities, methods and strategies

  • Considers underlying principles of AAC when matching methods and strategies to individuals’ communication needs
  • Identify, respond to and respect the dynamic nature of individuals’ present and emerging communication methods
  • Identify and implement strategies to maximize the communicative potential of each situation, including strategies that enable one to approach new situations with spontaneity and flexibility (e.g. PECS, choice boards, etc.)

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.