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EDAC224 Understanding Behaviours and Disability

Unit rationale, description and aim

Through the unit EDAC224 students developed an overall understanding of the concepts of positive behaviour support. EDAC314 further develops this knowledge and the application to practice through the development of a positive behaviour support program.

This unit develops students' ability to meet the overall course outcome of having the necessary skills and practices to support successful inclusion.Contemporary approaches to understanding behaviour recognise that behaviour is contextual and the result of the interaction of individual characteristics, environmental factors, social and quality of life factors. The goals of positive behaviour support are to improve both the behaviour and the quality of life of individuals who are labelled, or at risk of being labelled, as having challenging behaviour. It emphasises collaborative, assessment-based approaches that integrate behavioural science and a person-centred values framework. It builds on the principles of applied behaviour analysis and integrates this with principles from the normalisation/inclusion movement and person-centred approaches to deliver integrated, sustainable, and comprehensive systems for supporting individuals. This unit aims to develop in students an advanced understanding of behaviour and behavioural contexts. Students will develop critical analysis skills in the assessment of behaviour issues and the development of positive behaviour support plans with a focus on both preventative and reactive intervention strategies.

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 - accurately and objectively document behaviours and the contexts within which they occur (GA5, GA8)

LO2 - utilise appropriate methods for the collection and analysis of information that identifies the contributing factors and function of behaviour (GA5, GA8)

LO3 - identify possible factors contributing to behaviour (GA3, GA5, GA8)

LO4 - develop a comprehensive positive behaviour support plan that includes considerations of contributing factors and function of behaviour (GA3, GA5).

Graduate attributes

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

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

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 


Topics will include: 

  • Identification and documentation of behaviour and contexts 
  • Contributing factors to behavioural situations 
  • Information gathering techniques 
  • Functional analysis 
  • Preventative intervention strategies 
  • Reactive intervention strategies 

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 three assessment tasks. The first assessment task asks students to explore and gather information on a case study (LO1). The second assessment task requires students to use the information discovered in assessment task one to identify the contributing factors in a behavioural situation (LO2 &3). The third assessment will take the information gathered in assessment one and two and develop a positive behaviour support plan (LO4).

Students will progressively develop their ability to accurately and objectively document behaviours, enabling students to identify contributing factors and the function of the 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 words

Information gathering plan for understanding the situation of the case study


LO1, LO2

GA3, GA5, GA8

Assessment Task 2 

1,200 words

A report identifying contributing factors in a behavioural situation and the function of behaviour


LO3, LO4

GA5, GA8

Assessment Task 3 

1,600 words 

Development of a positive behaviour support plan


LO5, LO6

GA3, GA5

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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