Introduction to Positive Behavior Supports (PBS)

by Justine McDonald, Positive Behavior Supports Coordinator


By now, you may or may not have heard about PBS.  Either way, let’s talk about it by addressing some frequently asked questions.

Q: What is PBS?

A:  According to DDS, Positive Behavior Support (PBS) is “a systematic, person centered approach to understanding the reasons for behavior and applying evidence based practices for prevention, proactive intervention, teaching and responding to behavior, with the goal of achieving meaningful social outcomes, increasing learning and enhancing the quality of life across the lifespan.”  It’s primary focus is on prevention rather than reaction.  It emphasizes proactive strategies such as offering choices and empowering people where they live and work by creating more supportive environments that are sensitive to individuals’ preferences and interests.  Building rapport, communicating and listening, providing structure and consistency, and creating a positive and reinforcing atmosphere through social praise and re-direction are other universal concepts to PBS.

Q: What are the three Tiers of PBS?

A: The three Tiers of support ensure that every individual gets the level of support they need.  Universal Supports is a level of support that everyone receives all the time that consists of proactive intervention.  If slightly more support is needed (such as a formal reinforcement program with contingencies) a “targeted” support would be indicated.   If even more support is required (i.e. use of restrictive  interventions), then an intensive support plan would be needed.  This visual of a pyramid below may help you conceptualize these levels of support.

Q: Why is Life-Skills, Inc. implementing PBS?

A: Life-Skills, Inc. is implementing PBS (specifically Universal Supports) for two reasons.  First, Universal Supports and its focus on prevention are best practice and we have evidence within our agency that it benefits the individuals we serve.  We have seen general positive outcomes such as a more proactive culture and specific positive outcomes such as decreased staff turnover rates associated with Universal interventions.  Second, PBS is a DDS  (Department of Developmental Services) initiative in which DDS is recommending PBS implementation to improve the quality of behavioral practices and quality of life for individuals served by provider agencies.

Q: What research is out there about PBS to show that it is effective as best clinical practice?

A: Positive Behavior Supports has mainly been implemented in school systems with a fair amount of research to indicate its effectiveness in that setting.  It has just recently migrated into adult services for people with developmental disabilities so there is less research demonstrating its effectiveness in this setting. Massachusetts is one of only a few states nationwide to support the PBS initiative in adult services.


Employee Recognition 2018

“We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.”― Will Durant

On September 26, Life-Skills, Inc. honored employees celebrating 5, 10, 15, 20 & 25 year milestone anniversaries at Point Breeze Restaurant in Webster, MA.

“This event recognizes the staff whose commitment to supporting the individuals served by Life-Skills, Inc. extends well beyond the norm.  This year, we are celebrating the achievement of 34 staff ranging from five to twenty-five years.  Congratulations to all of you for this exceptional achievement,” said Tom Amick, Chief Executive Officer, “Those of you sitting in this room, who are soon to receive an award, have enriched the lives of the people with whom you have worked with for years. Actually, for any number of our individuals, you are their families.  Thank you for being here tonight, and for being part of the Life-Skills, Inc. family.”

Congratulations to our honored Life-Skills, Inc. employees – our success would not be possible without all of the compassionate and caring team members at all levels of our organization.

2018 Award Recipients:

25 Years
Lisa Morgan

20 Years
Ann Audet, Tammy Lewandowski

15 Years
Violeta Arroyo, Eileen Beringer, Cherry Bonin, Deborah Depasquale

10 Years
Benjamin Atuquayfio, Marie Ange Cherenfant, Bethani Colon, Angela Grenham, Rafael Guerra, Jennifer Ruane, Liz Rodriquez, Katty Taveras, Sandralea Thibodeau

5 Years
Justina Ansah, Casey Bourque, Nancy Dawson, Maria Diaz, Jennifer Durfee, Patricia Farley, Chalice Gomes, Shalainna Humphrey, Matthew Kender, Courtney Levesque, Jayme Maguire, Kimberly Ouellet, Jillian Robichaud, Ziarty Tobo, Angelie Vermette, Amber Wheaton, Rosemarie Wheaton

To view event photos, please visit our Facebook page.

Take 2 Consignment to Close January 1, 2019


To all of our consigners, friends and supporters – we want to let you know that Take 2 Consignment and Bakery located at 125 East Main Street in Webster, MA will be officially closing its doors on January 1, 2019.  After approximately 12 years of providing an opportunity for consignors to sell their merchandise and local residents to purchase a wide variety of items at affordable prices, we have made the difficult decision to close the store.  Our Closet Classics Thrift store (in Friendly’s Plaza) will remain open and will continue to provide opportunities for vocational training to the individuals we serve.

We have enjoyed the wonderful experiences, friends that we have made over the years, and being a valuable resource to our community.  We hope that you will continue to visit, shop, and support Take 2 until we close our doors.  Please note that after October 13, we will no longer accept consignment items.  While this is an obvious loss in many people’s eyes, we look back at the past 12 years with pride in how much has been accomplished.

Thank you ALL for your support throughout all of these years!


J. Thomas Amick, C.E.O.
Life-Skills, Inc.