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Teaching Self-Calming Skills

August 23, 2014 in Special Education Articles by Jess

“You need to calm down.”

This is something I hear a lot in my work as a behavior specialist when a student starts to get agitated– answering rudely, refusing to work, making insulting comments or whining. A teacher might tell a child to “go sit in the beanbag chair and calm down” or simply “relax.”

The problem is, many students don’t know how to calm down. This is especially true for children who display chronic agitation or defiance. Read the rest of this entry →

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ADHD Behavior Management – Teach Your Kids How

July 9, 2014 in Special Education Articles by Jess

This is a common refrain at our house – sound familiar?

“Son, you look like you’ve lost focus. What do you need to do to get back on task?”

Wouldn’t it be great if your son’s behavior management was his responsibility, not yours?

Recently, my sons answer made me laugh with pride, “I need a motivator!” he said with a huge smile on his face. He quickly created an incentive for himself (something to do with ice-cream I think) and finished his homework in record speed.

Motivation is a powerful tool for behavior management. We know that the ADHD brain needs to be motivated in order to maintain focus. It is powerful when our kids begin to understand the concept and create tools to help themselves. Read the rest of this entry →

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De-escalating Conflict in the Classroom

January 8, 2014 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Conflict is a necessary part of life.  It inevitably occurs in classrooms where groups of individuals, with varied needs and experiences, pursue shared and individual goals.  Successful classrooms are not “conflict free zones,” nor are they environments where every request, transition and interaction is a “battle of wills.”   The trick is to create an environment where conflict is strategic, fruitful and relatively rare.

The best way to promote constructive conflict is actually to avoid conflict whenever possible.  Learning from conflict takes patience and time, both of which are often limited resources in a classroom.  It’s important to pick your battles.  Avoiding conflict does not mean “turning the other cheek” or not holding young people up to expectations.  But there are myriad ways to address negative behavior that are non-confrontational and proactive. Read the rest of this entry →

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Trying to Figure Out the Function for Problem Behaviors? Ask the Child!

September 10, 2013 in Special Education Articles by Jess

When addressing problem behaviors in individuals with ASD, the first step is to determine the function the behavior serves.  The main reason why we need to determine the function for problem behavior is so that we can teach the child replacement skills that are more appropriate that can serve the same function.  There are many tools teachers and behavior specialists use when doing a functional behavior assessment to determine the function of a problem behavior.  They conduct functional behavior assessment interviews with caregivers and professionals.  They observe and record the antecedents leading up to the problem behavior and the consequences that follow the behavior.  They collect scatter plot data in which they document when and where the behavior is most and least likely to occur.  And if they are real savvy, they go as far as doing functional behavior analyses in which they actually manipulate variables in the environment to test out the hypothesis for the function of the behavior.  For more info on functional behavior assessment, click on this helpful link: http://cecp.air.org/fba/ Read the rest of this entry →

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Using Ecological Assessments to Set Meaningful Goals for ABA Interventions

January 14, 2013 in Special Education Articles by Jess

When professionals develop ABA intervention programs for students with ASD and other disabilities, they use many different approaches when selecting goals.  Some use criterion-referenced assessment tools such as the Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills- Revised (The ABLLS-R) or The Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP) to set intervention goals.  Others use informal assessment procedures such as interviews with students, caregivers, and teachers, checklists, and informal observations to set goals for ABA interventions.  What professionals do not typically use nearly enough are ecological assessments to set goals for ABA interventions. Read the rest of this entry →

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Ten Potential Causes for Off Task Behavior in School

January 10, 2013 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

I attended an IEP this week where the discussion focused mainly on the student’s off task behavior; there are a variety of reasons why a student will exhibit this behavior.  The difficulty is identifying the exact reasons why or what triggered the off task behavior.  I think we as parents and educators of children with special needs must keep in mind that in order to determine the cause of off task behavior, we must acknowledge all the areas of need first.  Most children with special needs have multiple disabilities, so it’s imperative to look at each area as a possible trigger for off task behavior.  Read the rest of this entry →

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Send Em’ To The Principal’s Office!

January 8, 2013 in Special Education Articles by Jess

When I was in elementary school, I had a bit of a tough time of it.  From first to third grade I spent an inordinate amount of time in the principal’s office, the punitive measure of choice at my elementary school.  Every paper thrown, inappropriate comment bellowed and t-shirt removed during a reading lesson (I won’t get into this) evoked the same response from my teachers:

“Go to the principal’s office.” Read the rest of this entry →

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Assessing the Efficacy of Sensory Diets on Latent Responding and Frequency of Inappropriate Behavior

January 7, 2013 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Typically developing people can take in all sensory input (i.e.: visual, tactile, auditory, olfactory, etc) and regulate their sensory systems to remain at a state of homeostasis (i.e.: sensory integration). However, people with Autism do not have the same ability. It has been described by people that are on the Autism Spectrum (e.g.: Temple Grandin) as an experience that leads them to seek out sensory input that allows them to regulate their behavior (i.e.: sensory seeking-squeezing themselves into small places, stereotypic behavior-hand flapping, toe walking, visual “stimming” [self-stimulation], etc.). Read the rest of this entry →

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Top Ten Most Viewed Special Education Advisor Guest Articles for 2012

December 22, 2012 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

The following is a list of the most viewed special education advisor guest articles from 2012. Thank you to all of the guest authors that have submitted articles to Special Education Advisor in 2012. The quality of articles and their content has been outstanding and we really appreciate every single submission. Without your submissions we would not be able to fulfill our mission to families with children who have special education needs. Enjoy the list: Read the rest of this entry →

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How the Brain Misleads Us

November 12, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Two questions underscore important points related to kids with special needs.

To understand that statement, answer each of the following questions: What color are road stop signs?  What color are yield signs?

If you answered “red” for stop signs, you were correct. Yet if you’re like the overwhelming majority who say yield signs are yellow, then you were wrong.

Yield signs have not been yellow since 1971. Truly. For more than 40 years, yield signs are red and white.

So, how is it possible people still think yield signs are yellow, and what does that have to do with special needs kids?

Well, we think yield signs are yellow for one of two reasons.  If you’re someone who drove in the ’60s—when they actually were yellow—then your brain never updated the information, even though you’ve passed thousands of red and white yield signs for decades.

In short, our brain doesn’t automatically renew and revise circuits. Instead, we have to consciously update our brain when new information comes our way.

If you thought yield signs were yellow—even though they’ve been red since you’ve been alive—then incorrect information was imprinted on your brain.  How could that happen?

Easy. The brain doesn’t have an automatic fact checker. For example, Google “clip art for yield signs” and we’ll find lots of yellow ones. We’ll also find red and white ones. Read the rest of this entry →

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