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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There is a very popular ABC (Antecedent – Behavior – Consequence) approach when the carer is supposed to find the trigger (Antecedent), define the Behavior and provide the Consequence for this (often called inappropriate) behaviour – ignore/ time out/ etc. In autism this approach does not always work. Sometimes the antecedent cannot be easily identified, because it can be either ‘present but invisible’, or ‘possible future’, or ‘past’ antecedent. Let me explain.
Present but invisible antecedent
Sometimes we cannot see/ hear/ feel certain stimuli as our senses are too ‘normal’. For example, the child may be disturbed by the sound of the microwave oven two rooms away. As the carer cannot hear it, any ‘challenging behavior’ displayed by the child would be interpreted as ‘out of the blue’. Read the rest of this entry →
Recently, in one of my classes, we had a debate regarding the importance of data collection in the classroom. Everyone had varying opinions on the importance of data, but one of my classmates was adamant in her stance:
I’m totally against taking data. I don’t see the point. It’s too time consuming and it’s time better spent with my students. I know if my kids are doing better or if they need help. I don’t need data to tell me this.
I should start by saying (in case this teacher is reading this) that I have a lot of respect her. She works with a tough population, is passionate about her work, and isn’t afraid to express her opinions. Read the rest of this entry →
1. If your child is exhibiting new behavioral problems that are interfering with their ability to access the curriculum; your school may need to implement a Behavior Support Plan to extinguish the negative or off task behavior.
2. If your child is struggling academically in the first semester, don’t wait until second semester to address the problem. If you have to request new assessments; keep in mind the timeline from the day you authorized the assessments. The school has 60 days* in which to conduct the assessments and hold an IEP, so if you wait until second semester, the school year might be coming to an end; basically, your child has lost the entire year. * Some States have different timelines so please check the timelines in your State. Read the rest of this entry →
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) says that behavior is a special factor that must be considered when developing an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Specifically, IDEA states that IEP’s for those children whose behavior impedes their learning or that of others, should consider the use of positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS), and other strategies, to address that behavior. Congress’s reasons for including PBIS was due in part based on their findings which stated, “Almost 30 years of research and experience has demonstrated that the education of children with disabilities can be made more effective by providing incentives for whole-school approaches, scientifically based early reading programs, positive behavioral interventions and supports, and early intervening services to reduce the need to label children as disabled in order to address the learning and behavioral needs of such children.” Read the rest of this entry →
Robert Langdon has nothing on Jessica Minahan and Nancy Rappaport. While Robert Langdon was out cracking the DaVinci Code using symbology and being chased by deadly assassins Jessica and Nancy were hard at work in our public schools cracking “The Behavior Code” for our most challenging students. In their new book, “The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students,” Jessica and Nancy share their wisdom and experience working with the most misunderstood population in our schools. This book is a must read for every Teacher in elementary school whether you are in a general education or special education setting. I also highly recommend that Parents read this book as well to get an understanding of what it takes to change behavior and how important it is to carry these philosophies over to the home environment. Read the rest of this entry →
Today in the Inspirational Teacher Series we profile Patrick Black. Patrick is one of the most popular special educators on twitter and is your go to guy when you are seeking advice on using technology in the special education classroom. When I originally conceived of this series a couple of months ago I knew I needed Patrick to particpate and I’m glad he did. Read the rest of this entry →
Many schools use Data Collection when they are monitoring a child’s behavior. It helps them track the appropriate and inappropriate behavior of a student. The data will show patterns as to when and what triggers a specific type of behavior. In order to have a complete picture of a student with behavioral problems, data collection is essential during both structured and non-structured time. Therefore, when a behavioral goal is written, be as specific as possible when discussing how data will be collected. Read the rest of this entry →
The other day I read a blog by Phillip Hain, the West Region Director of Autism Speaks, called Why Awareness Matters that deeply disturbed me. In this blog Phillip shared a letter so ignorant, so abhorrent it made my skin crawl. It also made me angry, not only with the people who wrote the letter, but with the School this child attends. As you are all aware I am a Special Education Advocate and I spend my days championing for every child’s needs and writing Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) to meet those needs. Before we get into exactly why I am angry with the school and what IEP’s have to do with my anger I think it’s important for you to read the letter: Read the rest of this entry →
Functional Behavioral Assessments (FBAs), when done correctly and thoroughly can uncover the motivation(s) behind a child’s behavior. Understanding why a child is acting out is critical to creating an effective Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP). BIPs are used to provide support, training, accommodations and strategies to children who exhibit inappropriate behavior at school. Writing a BIP without conducting an FBA can lead to valuable time being wasted on ineffective and/or inappropriate interventions.
Children exhibit inappropriate behaviors for four different reasons: to escape or avoid something, to gain something, for sensory reasons or for medical/physiological reasons. There is usually a primary reason that a child exhibits behavior but some children do exhibit behaviors for multiple reasons, which, of course, are more challenging to address. A particular behavior may look exactly the same for each of the reasons above so determining the reason(s) leads to properly addressing the behavior. For example, a child who is throwing a tantrum by flopping themselves on the floor, screaming and kicking could be exhibiting that behavior due to any of the four reasons. It could be avoidance because he was just told it was time to turn off the television and go to bed. It could be to gain attention because she needs to feel in control of situations and she was just told something she did not like. It could be because he is in a loud environment that is overly stimulating. And/or it could be because she is having an allergy to a food or substance in the environment. I would deal with each of these situations differently even though the behavior looks identical. Read the rest of this entry →