PBIS and Job Coaches

    Positive Behavior Support for Job Coaches

    The job coach is a professional figure facilitating work integration for people with disabilities. The job coach may work with children from 14- through adult. Some job coaches are employees of local education agencies and some are hired as employees for the adult work force. For those children under 22, a job coach facilitates compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (2004) by providing these services:

    (34) Transition services. The term `transition services' means a coordinated set of activities for a child with a disability that--

    (A) is designed to be within a results-oriented process, that is focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child with a disability to facilitate the child's movement from school to post-school activities, including post-secondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation;

    (B) is based on the individual child's needs, taking into account the child's strengths, preferences, and interests; and

    (C) includes instruction, related services, community experiences, the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives, and, when appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation. (IDEA, 2004)

    For adults a job coach has a similar function with these guidelines:

    The term job coach refers to the training of an employee with disabilities by an approved specialist, who uses structured intervention techniques to assist the employee in learning to perform job tasks to the employer's employer's specifications. This job also includes assisting the employee in acquiring the interpersonal skills necessary to be accepted as a worker at the job site and in related community activities. In addition to job-site training, job coaching includes related assessment, job development, counseling, advocacy, travel and mobility training and other services required to retain the employment.

    Through job coaching, a trained individual (job coach) works directly with an individual with a disability in a training or placement site to help him/her become skilled at the specific requirements of the job; learn work-related activities and requirements such as time and attendance rules; and learn appropriate work-related (including societal) behaviors when working with co-workers and supervisors.

    By placing a client directly in a job with the concrete assistance of a job coach, areas of vocational and personal strength and weakness become evident early in the process and are based on actual, not projected or simulated experience; the client is able to grasp immediate feedback, assistance, and follow-up from the support person; and an employer is able to engage and observe the progress of the client without a full obligation of personnel resources in the beginning of the process.

    Positive Behavior Intervention and Support for a job coach serving individuals with disabilities would include proactive strategies for ensuring successful transition from a school setting to an employment setting. Independence with the least amount of adult prompts is the desired outcome. The job coach's main responsibility is determining where behavioral issues could arise due to: a) lack of understanding the requested task, b) inability to communicate wants or needs, or c) social boundaries due to limits in cognitive functioning. This may require a functional behavior assessment looking at antecedents and consequences that surround a behavior in order to determine the function behind the behavior. Once the function is determined then antecedent modifications, new behavior teaching, and consequence modifications can be put into place that will render the targeted behaviors unnecessary for the client and therefore ensuring a successful work environment.

    For more information on functional behavior assessment see case examples in the Tier 3 supports of this website.