About Sonja

I’m an experienced positive behaviour support consultant, specialising in trauma-sensitive practice and staff wellbeing.

I invite you to increase your understandings about vicarious trauma and professional self-care, to help you sustain your work and maintain your wellbeing.

Learn more about developmental trauma and positive behaviour support, to better equip you to meet children’s needs.

Positive Behaviour Support

Two boys illustration

Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) provides a framework to help schools to build and maintain safe and orderly learning environments.

PBS provides systems to support staff behaviour, data to guide decision-making and research-based practices to support student behaviour.

Positive behaviour support is a set of research-based strategies used to increase quality of life and decrease problem behaviour by teaching new skills and making changes in a person’s environment. (apbs.org)

View resources or download a brochure.

Trauma sensitive practice

Trauma sensitive practice focuses on being safe and feeling safe. Its goal is to restore a sense of safety, in environment, relationship, body and mind. Once calm, we can connect, learn and build resources for resilience and wellbeing.


Dr Sonja Vanderaa – Brochure
  • Professional learning on PBS, trauma-sensitive practice, vicarious trauma and professional self-care
  • Conference presentations, one day workshops and spaced learning programs
  • Training and support for schools using Schoolwide Information System (SWIS)
  • Reflective practice for staff supporting children and young people with complex needs
  • Person-centred planning and functional behaviour assessment
  • Risk assessment
  • Support plan reviews
  • Customised consultation
  • Available Australia-wide via Zoom, or personally if conditions allow
  • Travelling throughout Tasmania

Please contact me for more information.


  • The Function Hub: a model to invite curiosity about behaviour

    The function hub is a model to encourage curiosity about what a behaviour might be communicating. It is a tool that invites teams to align supports with the needs beneath the behaviour. The function hub offers a way to support conversations with families, staff and care teams. … read more

  • Wellbeing Reflection

    The purpose of this resource is to increase awareness of different ways of being with ourselves and others. Informed by the window of tolerance (Ogden & Fisher, 2015) and polyvagal theory (Porges, 2011), this Wellbeing Reflection offers a continuum of states, from being present, to being entangled, to being avoidant. It invites us to notice where we are, and what we need, so we are better able to offer support to ourselves and to others. … read more

  • Positive Behaviour Support Acknowledgement Systems: Questions to Consider

    This resource provides a guide for Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) teams who wish to review and refresh their acknowledgement systems. The questions to consider are informed by PBS traditions of inclusion and person-centered values, together with trauma-sensitive practice. … read more


I’m a trauma and behaviour consultant with over twenty years’ experience. My work focuses on improving the social and academic inclusion of students who have challenging behaviours and intensive support needs.

I work with school communities, interagency teams and professional groups. My interests include schoolwide positive behaviour support, whole school approaches to transforming trauma, trauma and the body, vicarious trauma and professional self-care.

Dr Sonja Vanderaa

Dr Sonja Vanderaa

BEd (Hons), Cert IV TAE, Grad Cert Dev Trauma, PhD.
Trauma and Behaviour Consultant
Member of the Association for Positive Behaviour Support