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Devereux program sees positive outcome for individuals at N.J. group home

At Devereux, our employees work tirelessly, every day, to help the individuals we serve lead productive, positive and socially-connected lives.  

Recently, Devereux New Jersey team members witnessed extremely rewarding outcomes as a result of implementing the “Devereux Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports” (D-PBIS) methodology in one of its groups homes. 

What is D-PBIS?

Launched in 2011, D-PBIS is a framework that combines several initiatives under one umbrella to create a system of support for individuals served by Devereux. D-PBIS was designed for alternative settings, including schools and residential/group care programs that assist individuals with emotional, behavioral and cognitive differences. At a high level, D-PBIS:

  • Focuses on the strengths of each individual, teaching and supporting desired behaviors to create a positive environment;
  • Provides the opportunity to learn social / life skills and problem-solving skills, while rewarding individuals for demonstrating positive, pro-social behavior; and
  • Emphasizes learning and prevention.  

Learn more about D-PBIS

Billy’s story …

Billy has been with Devereux N.J. since 2003; he lives in one of the organization’s group homes. Diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, Billy was not vocally active. He typically gave one-word responses, and only when prompted. Despite many approaches over the years to improve his communication skills, Billy made little progress.   

Enter the introduction of D-PBIS at the group home in April 2017 and, within just a few months, Billy began stringing words together to form short sentences. 

A remarkable transformation

As part of D-PBIS, Devereux’s staff works closely with Billy to teach him certain tasks, like how to ask for help. When he completes a given task, the team immediately provides Billy with words of encouragement and support.  

Devereux N.J. Behavior Specialist Sheirenne Sherman, who has worked with Billy for many years, said he is now using words to replace specific behaviors, which is a huge step forward in his communication skill development. 

“In the past, Billy would walk over to the TV and wait for someone to ask, ‘Do you want the TV turned on?’” explained Sherman. “After we implemented D-PBIS, he started using one-word responses more often. Then, as we closely monitored that change, he started putting more words together and could say, ‘Hey lady, the TV, come, the TV.’ This is a significant achievement for Billy! The progress he’s making vocally has been an amazing thing to see first-hand.” 

Positive change across the home

As a direct result of D-PBIS, Sherman has also noted positive changes among others living in the group home, including an individual who has significantly reduced ongoing challenging/inappropriate behaviors and another individual who has altogether eliminated challenging behaviors and instead, now uses communication to express his emotions. 

“It’s about helping someone understand how to change their behaviors for the better,” added Sherman. “D-PBIS allows our staff to interact with the individuals we serve in a way that ultimately reduces challenging behaviors – enabling them to live and thrive in their communities. It’s a new way of learning and communicating – and it absolutely works.”  

Devereux N.J. will continue to expand the rollout of D-PBIS to eight additional group homes by June 30, 2018. The goal is for all group homes to implement this framework in mid-2019. 

Learn about Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health.

 

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