Cost: $200

This course will cover the core competency of positive behavior support and effective environments as defined by NADD benchmarks for clinical excellence in IDD-MI dual diagnosis best practice.  Individuals with dual diagnosis often have multiple factors affecting the presentation of their challenging behaviors (i.e., symptoms).  While PBS cannot cure underlying biological bases for mental illnesses, it has been shown that it can reduce the behaviors of concern for those who have mental health conditions. The primary goal of PBS interventions is to improve the quality of life of the individual so that they can experience: (a) positive relationships with others, (b) a sense of personal agency through experiencing sufficient choice and control in their life, (c) positive status for positive contributions, and (d) improving competence in managing their daily life.  Creating positive environments also includes arranging the social environment so that caregivers reinforce pro-social behaviors and eliminate reinforcement for the challenging behaviors.

Course Objectives

By the end of this course, students will:

  1. Demonstrate how to operationally define problem behaviors, assess their frequency and intensity/severity and analyze data and collection methods in order to identify the setting and antecedent factors that appear to predict the problem behavior(s).
  2. Identify potential multiple causes of challenging behaviors and relate how medical or mental health disorders may act as setting events and/or antecedents including potential actions needed to rule out potential medical/mental health conditions.
  3. Recognize behavioral phenotypes, differentiate internal vs. external triggers to behavior.
  4. Interpret the results of a functional behavioral assessment clearly and create a comprehensive treatment plan by describing the importance of including the person and all other relevant stakeholders in the assessment process and in the planning for behavior supports.
  5. Demonstrate knowledge of the developmental stage of the person and prescribes strategies that are developmentally appropriate for the person.
  6. Select the least restrictive procedure necessary to insure protection and eschew aversive and demeaning procedures for a teen or adult, using techniques commonly used with children; being overly controlling, etc.

Credit Hours

Success in this 1.0 credit hour course is based on the expectation that students will spend a minimum of 15 hours over the length of the course in direct instruction as provided by the instructor and an additional 30 hours outside of class reading, reflecting, and evaluating the topics for a total of 45 hours.


Dee Nighswonger

Dee E. Nighswonger

Dee E. Nighswonger has been a licensed social worker practicing in Kansas for over 27 years.  She received her BSW from Wichita State University in 1992 and MSW from the University of Kansas in 1996.  Dee is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) and Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselor (LCAC). She currently serves as the Director for the Sedgwick County Developmental Disability Organization (SCDDO) and is also the owner of eMErge Coaching, LLC. Dee has worked in the community as a provider, volunteer and advocate in a variety of settings. Her professional experience includes social work practice in child welfare, non-profit social service, hospital social work, community mental health, substance use treatment, intellectual/developmental disability services and State/County government. Dee has presented research posters and workshops at State and National professional conferences. She currently serves on the Practicum Advisory Committee for the WSU School of Social Work and has been a member of The NADD since 2013. She is an Alumni of Advance Kansas and holds a number of certifications from the Kansas Leadership Center.  Dee serves as a member of the Wichita/Sedgwick County Access Advisory Board and City of Wichita District II Advisory Board. Dee also engages in leadership development and coaching through the Nonprofit Chamber of Service.