APBS Commitment to Equity

After receiving recent inquiries and much group- and self-reflection, the Association for Positive Behavior Support would like for you to read our new response statement and continued commitment to our mission as an organization supporting all families, students, stakeholders and educators

Positive behavior support is rooted in a history of disability rights.
The field of positive behavior support was established in the United States of America during the mid-1980s as an alternative to institutionalization and overreliance on aversive interventions for individuals with disabilities. Over the years, positive behavior support has spread around the globe and grown in reach (individuals, schools, families, communities, and agencies). The original hallmarks of positive behavior support are values-based and person-centered perspectives through (a) the functional (communicative) nature of behavior, (b) building adaptive behaviors, and (c) data-based decision-making regarding implementation fidelity and outcomes, while honoring the uniqueness and dignity of each individual. From its inception, the intent of positive behavior support was to create positive, successful, and nurturing conditions through creating caring conditions for inclusion and quality of life.

The Association of Positive Behavior Support recognizes that, if not implemented with intentionality and values-based and person-centered perspectives, practices and frameworks can perpetuate harm.
Recently, there have been efforts to incorporate the founding elements of value-based, person-centered foci across the broad range of implementation in the field, and to elevate the focus on racial justice and broader implications of equity. It is important for The Association to acknowledge the need for improvement in our mission, goals, and practice. As an organization, we recognize the role power, control, and privilege play in the perpetuation of harm against oppressed individuals, including, but not limited to, individuals with disabilities, communities of color, Indigenous peoples and First Nations, gender identification, sexual orientation, refugees, migrants, and underserved populations. Any organization, system, framework, or practice can be influenced by power and result in the oppression of historically and currently marginalized, minoritized, and vulnerable populations. The implementation of practices and frameworks such as positive behavior support can perpetuate such systems of power, control and privilege.

The Association of Positive Behavior Support commits to being a steward for centering equity within our organization and with positive behavior support.
Stewards of positive behavior support need to be especially careful to prioritize the strengths, interests, and values of the individual over the comfort or convenience of a system. To reduce systemic inequities and assertions of control over the people we support, we must be focused on our intended purpose of social and individual responsibility. The voices of those we are championing will be at the heart of our actions. We will seek to give authentic representation and voice to each individual. APBS explicitly confirms our commitment to equity. APBS commits to action steps that leverage positive behavior support to ensure that equitable systems, practices, and experiences result in equal and meaningful outcomes for each individual

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