Credit points


Campus offering

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Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit is a prerequisite for the unit EDAC314 Positive Behaviour Approaches. The unit develops an overall understanding of the concepts of positive behaviour support which is then further developed and practiced in the unit EDAC314.

This unit develops students' ability to achieve the course outcome of knowledge and skill development that are required to practice and support successful inclusion. The unit will consider how all individuals utilise an extraordinary range of behaviours in their day-to-day life to deal with the myriad of situations that confront them. Individuals also interpret and respond to the behaviours of others. This unit will critically examine traditional approaches for understanding and responding to how people behave and more positive contemporary approach know as positive behaviour support which views behaviour as contextual. To truly understand someone's behaviour we must consider the impact of personal characteristics, the behaviour of others, the environment, social contexts and overall quality of life. Using a positive behaviour framework, students will gain an understanding of a number of disabilities, how the disability examined impacts on individuals living with the disability and how positive behaviour support can assist in meeting their needs.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Explain historical and contemporary approaches to behaviour support (GA1, GA4, GA5)

LO2 - Discuss the impact of personal wellbeing on behaviour (GA1, GA4, GA5)

LO3 - Investigate the possible impact of various disabilities on behaviour (GA1, GA4, GA5)

LO4 - Describe preventative and reactive strategies in line with a positive behaviour support framework (GA4, GA5)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics will include: 

  • Theories of behaviour support
  • History of behaviour support and ethical issues
  • Biological, social and environmentalfactors affecting behavior
  • Overview of various disabilities
  • Overview of positive behaviour support

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

150 hours in total with a normal expectation of 36 hours of directed study and the total contact hours should not exceed 36 hours. Directed study might include lectures, tutorials, webinars, podcasts etc. The balance of the hours then becomes private study.

The teaching and learning organisation may take a number of forms, depending on specific course/subject requirements at the time of delivery, this may include a combination of face to face and/or online learning delivered on a weekly or intensive schedule. Tutorials and/or synchronous learning will enable students to participate in cooperative and supportive learning opportunities. All learning modes will be delivered and/or supported by a range of resources and activities on ACU’s technology learning platform (LEO).

Assessment strategy and rationale

Students are required to complete all three assessment tasks. The first assessment task asks students to write an essay exploring the issues relating to traditional behaviour support practices and compare these to contemporary practices (LO1). The second assessment task requires students to reflect on their learning (LO2 & 3). The purpose of the third assessment is to use the knowledge gained throughout the unit and through further research to discuss the external factors which may have an effect on individuals with a disability (LO3 & 4).

On completion of their studies students will have developed their understanding of historical approaches and theories to change behaviours, whilst reviewing the positive behaviour support framework, students will gain an appreciation that there are multiple considerations when reviewing behaviour.


Assessment Tasks 

The assessment tasks and their weighting for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome. In order to pass this unit, students are required to submit and participate in all assessment tasks.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1

1,200-word essay

An essay examining issues in traditional behaviour support practice and alternatives to traditional approaches



GA1, GA4, GA5

Assessment Task 2 

1,200 word reflection

Reflection on positive learning gain from the unit


LO12, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA4, GA5

Assessment Task 3

1,600 word essay

An essay the experience of a particular disability and the impact that social, environmental and other factors may have on individuals living with the disability


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA5, GA10

Representative texts and references

Brown, F., Anderson, J., & De Pry, R.L. (2015). Individual positive behavior supports: A standards-based guide to practices in school and community settings. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.

Howlin P., Charman, T., & Ghaziuddin, M. (2011). The SAGE handbook of developmental disorders. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Kaweski, W., (2014). Teaching adolescents with autism: Practical strategies for the inclusive classroom. New York, NY: Skyhorse Publishing.

Paley, S. (2012) Promoting Positive Behaviour: when supporting people with a learning disability and people with autism. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Scott, T.M., Anderson, C.M., & Alter, P. (2013). Managing classroom behavior using positive behavior supports. Boston, MA: Pearson.

Watling, R., Davies, P.L., Patten Koenig, K., & Schaaf, R.C. (2011). Occupational therapy practice guidelines for children and adolescents with challenges in sensory processing and sensory integration. Bethesda, MD: AOTA Press.

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