By: Steve Bross
Taking the proper measures to developing a plan for students with behavioral problems takes a lot of hard work and planning. The most important element is to figure out what kind of actions will trigger the behavior and then try to figure out ways to accomplish the positive reinforcement. Behavior Intervention Plans need to be very specific an detailed, in order for the teachers and staff to help the student in everyway possible. A good plan will definitely give the student the best opportunity to grow, but the plan is only as good as the student will allow. If a student just really wants to go against the corrections
plan than the process will be a hard path for everyone involved. This is a key element in the education process in order to get past the students issues and allow for the education to develop.
School Psychology Resources Online:
This website is dedicated to providing psychologists, parents and teachers resources that are geared to improving the understanding of what might affect the students performance. The site provides information on specific conditions and disorders, along with a number of links to websites devoted to the treatment options for each condition or disorder. There is another section that provides access to specific books that you can link to and then purchases. The site is a valuable resource for information although after searching a few of the links I found a few sites that the links have gone bad or have not been updated. This is one big problem that will always be with research online.
Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice:
This website does a nice job in providing web links related to emotional and behavioral problems in such areas as education, families, mental health, juvenile justice, child and school safety. Issue Areas, Mini webs and Interactive sections help provide strategies for children at risk of developing serious emotional problems. The most important thing on this site is to provide a solid understanding of the functional behavior assessment and the positive behavioral intervention. This site also has a nice link for already made powerpoint presentations on different topics that could be used in professional development or in the classroom.
Part I – An IEP Team’s Introduction to Functional Behavioral Assessment and Behavioral Intervention Plans
To put things in simple form, the functional behavioral assessment is the problem solving process. As with all student issues the IEP team comes in to figure out the needs of the student. There are a number of plans and techniques to help identify the specific behaviors. This gives the IEP team a starting point to help prepare the teachers involved with the specific student behavior problem. I think most teachers associate these problems as disruptive behavior in the classroom but in reality it is set up to try and stop the behaviors before they happen. I have a an agreement with one of my students that unless the questions are written in red on a slide lecture I will not ask him to participate
in the class discussion this tends to calm his nerves and take in the information with getting nervous.
The requirements specified by IDEA are included the functional behavioral assessments and positive behavioral intervention plans provide the process and guidelines for working with a functional behavioral assessment. Some of these guidelines are as followed:
- The team should explore the needs for strategies and support systems in order to address any behavior that may impede the learning of a child with the disability
- Within 10 days of a disciplinary action by school personnel, the IEP team should meet to formulate a functional behavioral assessment to prepare data for developing and/or revising an existing behavior intervention plan
- States shall address the needs of all in-service and pre-service school personnel as they relate to developing and implementation of positive intervention strategies
Some of the verbiage throws me for a loop in my own interruption, but what I think they are saying is the educator is to be more involved in the efforts of the students planning. The same rules still apply; the steps can not interfere with the academic process.
Most educators still do not believe there is a single cause for problem behaviors. Figuring out the problems a head of time will me most beneficial to the teachers of the students. These assessment can fall under this specific requirements:
- Indirect or informant assessment that relies on structured interviews
with students, teachers and other adults who have direct responsibility
for the students concerned.
- Direct assessment which involves observing and recording situational factors surrounding a problem behavior
- Data analysis after the IEP team is satisfied that enough data has been collected that it should analyzed to determine whether or not there are any patterns associated with the behavior
- A hypothesis statement is created from the analysis where school personnel can establish the functions of the behaviors and help predict the general conditions in which they are most likely to occur (antecedents and consequences)
Developing the functional behavioral assessments will vary from district to district however many components can be collected by members of the IEP team. As a result of this team effort behavioral intervention plans are formulated based upon collecting, analyzing and developing a hypothesis statement of the likely function of a student’s behavior. The IEP team may want to consider these techniques in the design of a positive behavioral intervention plan:
Manipulating the antecedents and/or consequences
Teaching more acceptable replacement behaviors
Implementing changes in curriculum and instruction
Modifying the physical environment
The IEP team has a lot of responsibility to try to make the right decisions and establish the right assessments. So much goes into this and I think the best way for me to learn more about this is talk to my coordinator and see if I could get on a team to see hom this really works in real life.
Part 2 – Conducting a Functional Behavioral Assessment:
Teachers face a number of student behaviors that effective classroom instruction and can become problematic for all students in the classroom. The IDEA guidelines help schools address both classroom and behavior problems for students with disabilities. The first step is to start a functional behavioral assessment which is developed and uses a six step process:
- Describe the seriousness of the behavioral problem
- Refine the definition of the behavioral problem
- Collect information on possible functions of the behavioral problem
- Analyze information using the pathway analysis
- Generate a hypothesis statement regarding probable function of problem behavior
- Test the hypothesis statement regarding the function of the problem behavior
Also, to help collect and study the information a variety of forms may be employed to categorize and document behavior observations using Scatterplots and ABC charts.
The IEP team may use appropriate methods of direct or indirect assessments to record student behaviors. The accuracy of behavioral measurement can become problematic in a number of ways by using untrained observers, observer biases that generates a vague definition of the problem behavior. The effectiveness of the functional behavioral assessment depends on the skills and objectivity of the persons collecting the data. Using the six steps to figure out the functional behavioral assessment is vital to the planning of the behavioral intervention plan.
Part 3 – Creating Positive Behavioral Intervention Plans and Supports:
The next step in the process in creating positive behavioral plan is collecting and identifying the likely functions of a student’s behavior problems. The behavioral intervention plan will include- Strategies, program modifications and supplementary aids and services. When the plan is done right it will provide motivation to meet the required standards of education.
When the IEP team has determined that a behavioral intervention plan is necessary the team should include strategies to:
- Teach the student more acceptable ways to get what they want
- Decrease future occurrences of the misbehavior
- Address any repeated episodes of the misbehavior
The behavioral intervention plan may want to consider the following techniques when designing the behavioral intervention plan:
- Teach more acceptable behaviors
- Teach students to deal with setting events
- Changes in the instructional strategies
- Offer positive reinforcement for appropriate behaviors
A student with behavioral issues is often the case of wanting a specific reward or reaction. The IEP team should consider plans that are based upon specific outcome behavior. When developing the plan these ideas should be kept in mind:
- What is appropriate for the individual student’s needs?
- What directly teaches the target behavior?
- What will produce positive behavioral changes?
- What is least likely to produce a negative side effects?
- What is most acceptable to the team members responsible for
- carrying out the plan?
- What is most likely to be acceptable to the targeted student?
- What is most likely to promote a replacement behavior?
The success of any behavioral plan rests on the ability and willingness of the student. In this case the student is also taught to self-monitor and evaluate there own behaviors. Many educators believe that the use of punishment is often ineffective and counter productive in motivating the student. The use of punishment should only be considered in the most severe cases. In some of these cases the IEP team may necessitate the development of a crisis/emergency plan to address severe or dangerous behavioral situations. As in all plans there may be inherent obstacles that may require the attention of school personnel such as:
- The definition of the behavior is too vague
- A bad measurement or data regarding the behavior
- Poor interpreting the functional assessment
- Choosing the wrong application of one or more parts of the plan
- Failure to monitor the plan provided
- Inadequate system-wide support
- Teachers lack specific skills and support
- Failure to consider environmental issues
All said and done, the plan needs to focus on a structure that is in the best interest of the student and learning environment. The plans and outcomes generated must be reviewed and revised as needed to control the students behavioral issue.
A Self Instructional Exercise:
The Center for Psychology at Athabasca University has provided a self instructional website dedicated to the help understand of positive reinforcement. There are three major positive reinforcements to use as guidlines:
- A consequence is presented dependent on a behavior
- The behavior becomes more likely to occur
- The behavior becomes more likely to occur because and only because the consequence is presented dependent on the behavior (Direct Pull)
This website offers an interactive section allowing the visitor to apply the principles of positive behavior. Through a series of questions you are asked to determine if the example given is a positive reinforcement. I felt for the most part the questions were pretty easy to figure out, but what I did like about the questions is the fact that it gave you a scenario to compare things that would happen in your life. I especially like the dirty look question, the only real problem that I have to work on is students holding conversations during lectures. I might try to use some of these techniques to help solve this problem.
Intervention Central and the Behavior Homepage:
This website is devoted to tools that educators can use to help monitor and improve student behavior in the classroom. The Behavior Homepage considers a number of interventions that include:
- Universal or school wide objectives
- Small groups intervention for behavioral issues
- Wraparound behavioral issues
Another part of the website was dedicated to a web quest which is designed to help develop interactive answers to problems using different websites. The information provided suggests that you write down a few questions that you would need to answer about your specific needs for the student. The questions should include who, what, where, how and why. An example question would be … I wonder where I might find more information about the students specific behavior problems that revolve around disruptive behavior in large groups. I played around with the webquest and used student disruptive behavior and got a lot of great information. A few great tips were as followed
- Break student tasks into manageable 'chunks': Students may misbehave to escape activities that they find too hard or tedious. Consider breaking a larger task into smaller or easier 'chunks' that the student will more willingly undertake.
- If the student must complete a large number of subtasks, include an
- occasional 'fun break'.
- The teacher decides which specific behaviors to select for the behavior contract. When possible, teachers should define behavior targets for the contract in the form of positive, pro-academic or pro-social behaviors.
- Disengaging Tactics. The teacher's most important objective when faced with a defiant or non-compliant student is to remain outwardly calm.
- Interrupting Tactics. When students become upset, they may not be able to control the headlong rush of their own anger. In such situations, the teacher can use interrupting tactics--well-timed, supportive techniques that 'interrupt' the escalation of student anger.
This information is exactly what I need to try, I will defiantly be spending a lot more time on this site, as a matter a fact a just booked marked to spend more time on it. Even though I am still considered a new teacher most of my last three years have been just trying to figure out what to teach and how to teach it, and now I am seeing that I have 90% of curriculum in place the smaller details are now becoming more present. Such as how the student are connecting with the material. This web site and the web site used in the web quest are a must have bookmark for all teachers.
The materials and information that are available for teachers to improve their overall teaching methods is incredible. For the longest time I always asked other teachers in the building on how to deal with certain problems in the classroom. Although this is always a good start, this particular assignment was a true eye opener. I found so much information on so many different topics. This information has come to me at the perfect time. Understanding the other half of the teaching spectrum that probably is the most important one, the students learning and improving the social and soft skills.