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Paving the Way

Early intervention for children with learning disabilities whose behaviours challenge

Local Early Intervention Service



The PBS Service is a small team of behaviour specialists based in Gloucestershire Community Council who work with children, adolescents, and young adults (0 to 25 years of age) who present with challenging behaviour. The team works closely with other services across health, education and social care.

Before the PBS service got involved - we just felt stuck.

Emma (TA Cam Woodfield Infant School)


The aim is to provide support which enables individuals to lead a normal life and reduce reliance on specialist services. The team works within a Positive Behavioural Support framework.

How does it work?

The service aims to equip those stakeholders (family, staff, members of their circle of support) with the skills they need to ensure a good quality of life for the individual by identifying the function(s) and working proactively to adapt the environment and teach skills to reduce the dependence on behaviours that challenge.

Children aged 0-6 who are showing delays in meeting developmental milestones and exhibiting behaviours that challenge do not need to be formally diagnosed to access the service. Children aged 7 to 25 years must meet the criteria for the Disabled Children and Young Persons Service.

I would like to thank you for your help, you gave us really good advice and made us believe our life could be better.

Maria (parent)

Once a referral has been made, the first stage is a Functional Assessment to understand the cause of behaviours. Then a PBS plan will be developed with stakeholders.

The help provided will be individually tailored to the need but can include:

  • Consultation
  • Training
  • Support to deliver interventions
  • Modelling of how to deliver interventions

The effectiveness of all interventions is reviewed until the point at which support can be withdrawn.

This is the most in-depth training I have been to, I feel very empowered

Claire (manager Flutterbugs CIC)

How is it commissioned and funded?

The service was set up in response to the lessons from Winterbourne View. It is part of a broader Challenging Behaviour Strategy across Gloucestershire and is jointly funded through health and social care. It also forms part of the Gloucestershire “local offer”.

What has the service achieved?



Tips for others setting up a similar service

  • Resilience of those supporting a child is key to successful outcomes; so ensure this is an identified need in terms of shaping the service
  • Training increases positive outcomes so a good service should also have, or be able to readily access, a good evidence based training package
  • Understanding the child and their behaviours in context is vital

To see a families perspective regarding this service – view the ‘Challenging Behaviour Strategy’ video, or download the Service Specifications document from the Gloucestershire Children and Young Persons Positive Behavioural Support Service.

The PBS service measure Quality of Life outcomes and has seen a significant increase in the majority of cases. There has been increased engagement in mainstream opportunities for individuals who may have previously relied on specialist services. Practitioners are increasing skilled in assessing and predicting behaviours that may be described as challenging service and thus intervention is happening much earlier.