Logo for the Association for Positive Behavior Support

About the Association for Positive Behavior Support (APBS)

Mission Statement

The mission of APBS is to enhance the quality of life of people, across the life-span, by promoting evidence-based and effective positive behavior support to realize socially valid and equitable outcomes for people, families, schools, agencies, and communities.


The Association for Positive Behavior Support is a multidisciplinary organization made up of professionals (teachers, researchers, university professors, and administrators), family members, and consumers who are committed to the application of positive behavior support within the context of the school, family, and community including across systems (e.g., entire schools, organizations), for small groups, and for individuals with complex needs for support.

The Nature of APBS:

APBS is a membership organization that engages in varied activities and endeavors related to Positive Behavior Support. APBS places greatest emphasis on activities associated with expanding the emerging science of Positive Behavior Support. Beyond expanding the science of Positive Behavior Support through research and outreach endeavors APBS further invests its resources in supporting networking related to the design and implementation on Positive Behavior Support across various contexts. As such, APBS is primarily a scientifically oriented organization that is also heavily invested in networking. APBS also supports (on a more limited basis) policy-related endeavors associated with Positive Behavior Support. APBS members have access to all association materials through various sources including the organization’s website (www.apbs.org). Further, members of the organization elect members to its governing board on an annual basis and may access those elected board members through a variety of methods including the website.


Positive Behavior Support is a set of processes that combine information from social, behavioral, and biomedical science and applies this information at the individual and/or systems level to reduce behavioral challenges and improve quality of life. Both systems-wide and individualized interventions used in PBS are empirically documented and can be used by a wide range of support providers.

The Association for Positive Behavior Support is currently supported by the activities of several working committees and a 12 member board. Nominations for board membership are solicited from our members. If you are interested in participating in a committee or exploring leadership opportunities, please e-mail Executive Director Tim Knoster or call (570) 389-4081.

What Does APBS Do?

The Association for Positive Behavior Support is an active body, focusing its attention on dissemination, education, and public policy efforts. It:

  • Serves as an international forum for individuals interested in PBS
  • Hosts a conference every year
  • Supports and promotes the Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions
  • Publishes a quarterly newsletter
  • Manages and links websites on PBS practices, systems and examples
  • Engages in policy development around the provision of behavior support
  • Establishes a directory of members to facilitate interaction among individuals interested in positive behavior support practices
  • Works to establish national standards that define competency in the application of positive behavior support
  • Encourages the training of professionals skilled in PBS practices through the development of training materials, and the embedding of PBS content in relevant professional certificate and degree programs
  • Promotes access to state-of-the-art books and literature pertaining to PBS

APBS By-laws

Learn more about the Association for Positive Behavior Support By-Laws

APBS Annual Reports

2018 Annual Report

2017 Annual Report

2016 Annual Report

2015 Annual Report

2014 Annual Report

2013 Annual Report

2012 Annual Report

2011 Annual Report

2010 Annual Report

2009 Annual Report

APBS Networks

The Association for Positive Behavior Support is now offering regional networking opportunities. Access the documents below for more information about creating an “APBS Network” in your regional or state (e.g. APBS Network of New York or APBS Network of the New England Area).

APBS Network Description

Petition to Establish an APBS Network

Policy Statement

Access a copy of the The Association for Positive Behavior Support (APBS) policy statement.

Website and Social Media Policy

Access a copy of The Association for Positive Behavior Support (APBS) Website and Social Media Policy.

APBS Standards of Practice

Learn more about how the APBS Standards were created and who was involved.

Download the APBS Standards of Practice

Evidence-based Practice

Evidence-based Practice in Positive Behavior Support is defined as the integration of rigorous science-based knowledge with applied expertise driven by stakeholder preferences, values, and goals within natural communities of support.

Key Words

Policy/Practice Definitions


  • Explicitly linking research published in peer-reviewed journals to effective practice. This includes:
    • Research-based assessment tools, intervention strategies, and comprehensive support models or approaches
    • Research-based concepts and decision-rules that guide the design of unique strategies that match the needs of specific consumers and settings.
  • In complex systems, knowledge and practice from different but complementary fields may be necessary to solve applied problems.
  • At a high level of integration, consilience may be achieved; that is, a synsthesis or unity of knowledge that is relatively seamlessly instantiated in practice (e.g., SWPBS; Positive Family Integration).

Rigorous Science-based Knowledge

  • Rigorous science based knowledge includes knowledge developed from high quality research across a variety of established research methods including single case methods, quasi-experimental and experimental group design methods, correlational research methods, and qualitative research methods.
  • Defined by Odom et al.’s (2004) Quality Indicators for Research in Special Education and Guidelines for Evidence-Based Practices with added PBS Quality Indicators.

Applied Expertise

  • Applied expertise includes several qualities and competencies:
    • Technical expertise in conducting or facilitating relevant assessments (e.g., FBA, SWPBS Implementers Checklist), developing assessment-based interventions (e.g., PBS plan, SWPBS universal support systems), and effectively supporting a high level of implementation fidelity of interventions by consumers.
    • Clinical or professional judgment in regard to working in partnership with key stakeholders to advance evidence-based practices in natural settings, customizing interventions to settings so that they possess a good contextual fit, and collaborating with allied professionals whose expertise may be necessary to achieve behavioral and quality of life outcomes.
    • Conducting activities from an empowerment model in which knowledge and skills are “given away” so that stakeholders are able to use the knowledge and skills in an effective, adapted, and generative way without the continual need for external technical assistance.

Stakeholder Preferences, Values, and Goals

  • Includes consumer and other stakeholder preferences that are strength based and promote valued outcomes.
  • Highlights the importance of person-centered values, collaboration and partnership.
  • For families of diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds, includes an effort to build partnerships, conduct assessment, design interventions and provide implementation support in a manner that is culturally responsive and sensitive.

Natural Communities of Support

  • Highlights the focus of PBS on ecological validity; that is, the practical application and translation of science-based knowledge to natural agents of change in natural settings under natural conditions (e.g., teachers and administrators in school, parents and family members at home and in the community).
  • Requires that interventions possess a good contextual fit with the stakeholders and settings in which they will be implemented.
  • In settings in which PBS is implemented a core outcome is that the focus person is more fully and successfully included as a full member of that setting, whether it is in the home, school, or community.
  • Includes a focus on building sustainable interventions that natural agents of change can continue to use and adapt across time with a minimum of additional technical assistance and support.

Click here for a printable version of the APBS Definition of Evidence-based Practice that includes this table.