Functional Behavior Assessment: Scott Smith Classroom Interventions and Strategies in Special Education SE 5400 Plymouth State University Professor Dr. Marcel Lebrun November 15, 2012 Kelsie Brook and Todd Austin
Introduction • Scott is 16 years old and is currently in his Junior year of High School. • Scott lives with his mother and her boyfriend. • Scott self-identifies as homosexual and has been a victim of bullying. • Scott has attended three different elementary schools before coming to the high school. • He has difficulty with reading and vocabulary. • He has difficulty completing assignments independently. • Transitions between classes are problematic due to tardiness and inappropriate behaviors. • Scott Enjoys cooking and would like to go to a culinary arts school after high school to become a chef. • Scott dislikes doing homework he also dislikes having an aide while in class, which is needed to help keep on task.
Testable Hypothesis Triggers When asked to work on something that Scott feels he is not good at, or was unsuccessful with in the past, ie. independent reading and answering questions aloud in class. Daily schedule is changed without prior notice. Problem Behavior Starts with self doubt and comments about not being able to do the task. From there if asked to try, the behavior worsens to crying and sometimes extreme belligerent behavior. Get or Avoid Scott is trying to avoid assigned tasks for fear of failure. He may also be avoiding ridicule from his classmates who may not tolerate his sexual preference. Context Classes: specifically English Daily Routine • Positive Behavior Supports • Preview the day so Scott will know what to expect during class. • Process the behavior and teach Scott the proper skills to manage his stress. • Meet with school social worker to build a more positive self-image • New Behavior • Scott will participate in the lesson because he will be prepared. • Scott will stay in class and work appropriately • Scott will be willing to try new tasks instead of doubting himself • Consequence • Scott will enjoy class more because he will participate. • Scott will remain in class and not get into trouble. • Scott will be healthier mentally and not have as many breakdowns. Hypothesis: Scott engages in self doubt, crying and belligerent behavior when asked to work on an assignment that he feels he can not do in order to avoid doing the work because he feels he will fail. This is more likely to occur when asked to work independently or asked a question in class discussion.
Patterns • When Scott is asked to complete an assignment he is not comfortable with he starts to make comments about himself not being able to do the assignment, such as “I can’t do this” or “Last time I did this I couldn’t do it.” • After this behavior if Scott is asked to continue he gets more overwhelmed and begins to cry, or starts to swear and become belligerent. • Scotts behavior usually occurs during times when he is asked to complete an assignment that is similar to one he has failed in the past. • When the behavior happens Scott is removed from the classroom and is disciplined by the administration. Sometimes this has resulted in out of school suspension. • Most times Scott does not make up the assignment. • When Scott does make up the assignment he is rewarded with a desired activity such as cleaning. • Meets with social worker on a bi-weekly basis.
Primary Behaviors Identified and Defined • Self doubt and comments • “I can’t do this” • “This is Stupid” • “Last time I did this I couldn’t do it” • Swearing and belligerence toward staff.
InterventionsChange Context • English Class • Instruction is adjusted to Scotts learning needs. Scott is given visual supports to scaffold independent reading skills. • When possible, Scott has assistance with independent reading assignments to help him with comprehension and confidence. • Routine • Each day’s schedule is provided and previewed with Scott. He is also given a “To-Do List” detailing the expectations for the day.
InterventionsChange Triggers • People who make him feel like a failure • Scott is seated away from students that intimidate or aggravate his behavior. His seat should be near accepting and positive classmates. • Other adults (bus drivers, lunch attendants, and teachers) need to monitor Scott’s behavior and be aware of how other students may intimidate him. If necessary, assign seating for Scott and other students so that triggers can be diminished. • Situations that make him feel like a failure • Scott is given independent reading that is scaffolded by images and graphic organizers for comprehension. • Scott is given notes in advance of class, so that he has the information needed to answer class questions. • A system is developed so that Scott can answer class questions on his own terms. • Scott takes his ADHD medication regularly to continue the already diminishing mood swings. • Change in daily schedule • Scott is prepared by teachers for any change to his schedule and given as much advanced warning as possible. • Other adults (bus drivers, lunch attendants, and teachers) need to monitor Scott’s behavior and consciously seek consistency for him.
InterventionsTeach Replacement Behavior • Self-Confidence • Faculty and Staff listen to Scotts needs and interests. Adults use compassion and empathy to build a trusting and open relationship with Scott. • Scott meets with the school social worker to build a positive self-image and taught skills to reframe his thoughts. • Act Appropriately • Scott is taught strategies for communication to apply when aggravated and how to replace certain behaviors with positive ones. • Scott is taught ways to express himself positively (ie. journal writing) and to reattribute his frustrations from innate flaws. • Participate in Class • Scott is shown the benefits of taking risks to build his confidence. • Scott is shown the benefits of class preparation to build his confidence.
InterventionsMaintain Positive Behaviors • Self-Confidence • Scott is encouraged by faculty and staff. • Scott maintains scheduled meetings with the school counselor. • Notifications of positive behaviors are sent home and to other faculty and staff to encourage praise. • Act Appropriately • Scott keeps a journal to record and express his feelings. • Scott receives praise and rewards when he behaves appropriately. • Scott’s behavior is redirected when he shows signs of negative behaviors. • Participate in Class • Tolerance is emphasized throughout the school to ensure all students are held accountable and that the likelihood of Scott feeling intimidated decreases. • Scott is recognized for his participation in class.
Desired Behaviors Identified • Self-Confidence:Scott will be willing to attempt the assignment that is given. • Act Appropriately: Scott will ask for help when he is struggling with the assignment and not get angry. • Participate in Class: Scott will be a willing participant in classroom discussions, and will give appropriate answers when asked.
Function of Behavior • Scott is trying to avoid assigned tasks for fear of failure. • Scott gets attention from his peers and staff. • Scott gets to be removed from a situation that is uncomfortable for him.
Participants • Scott • Scott’s Parents • Scott’s Classroom Teachers • Scott’s Special Educator • School Social Worker • School Administration
Conclusion Scott displays belligerent behaviors when put in situations that intimidate him. He uses inappropriate language and can be violent toward teachers. He seems to be afraid of failure. His behavior appears to be centered around his English class in which he resists independent reading and volunteering participation. In addition, Scott is belligerent when his schedule is changed without notice. It is possible his behavior is aggravated by certain students who are not tolerant of his sexual preference. These behaviors make Scott a strong candidate for a Functional Behavior Assessment implemented by his teachers, administrators, special educators, parents, and school social worker. This assessment will teach Scott the necessary skills to communicate appropriately and participate affectively in class. Scott will also gain improved self-confidence. These skills will lead to improved class attendance and grades, as well as relationships with teachers and peers.
Local New Hampshire Resources • Lakes Region Outright • http://lakesregionoutright.webs.com/apps/links/ • Provides a safe and judgment free zone for LGBT families and supporters. • PFLAG: Plymouth • http://pflagnh.org/chapters.htm • The chapter meets the 2nd Tuesday each month from 7-9pm at Whole Village Resource Center. PFLAG Provides a supportive community for families of the LGBT community. • Highland St., Plymouth, NH 03264 (603) 536-3823. • Rainbow Resources • http://www.rainbowresources-nh.org • Provides free access to networking, educational information about the LGBT community in New Hampshire. • Therapist Dr. Leanne Tigert • http://www.leannetigert.com • Is an internationally recognized counselor specializing in the area of diversity and sexuality. • Information Center on Special Education • http://www.nhspecialed.org/services.shtml • Gives support and information to families of students with special education needs.
Applicable Websites • True Colors • http://www.ourtruecolors.org • True Colors is a non-profit organization that works with other social organizations to ensure that the needs of sexual minority youth are recognized and met. • American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry • http://www.aacap.org • This organization provides legal and disorder related information. It also is a legislative advocate for adolescents on issues regarding psychiatry. • Council for Exceptional Children: The Voice and Vision of Special Education • http://www.cec.sped.org • An organization dedicated to improving the educational opportunity for students with disabilities. • Education • http://www.education.com/reference/article/emotional-behavioral-disorders-defined • Education.com provides a number of educational resources, including information on emotional disorders. • PACER Center: Champions for Children with Disabilities • http://www.pacer.org/ebd/ebdart.asp • Pacer is an organization that provides support to families of children with disabilities. This particular page covers emotional disabilities.
Journal Article:Pachankis, J. E. (2007). “The psychological implications of concealing a stigma: A cognitive-affective-behavioral model.” Psychological Bulletin, 133(2), 328-34. Scott sometimes exercises belligerent behaviors as an attempt to avoid failure. Teachers and others have attributed his behavior to a low self-concept. It is likely that Scott’s behavioral disorder has psychological implications relative to his sexual orientation. This article suggests that the stress and anxiety associated with homosexuality can have a negative impact on a students daily experience (p.328). On one level, students can feel separated from their “true-self” and unable to express themselves openly (p.328). These students may avoid social interactions and seek isolation (p.336). The authors say, “these youth seem to experience more social anxiety than their heterosexual peers, which may be related to less contact with supportive friends or adults” (p.336). Socially, the student may feel separate and isolated from his or her peers (p.328). They may feel disconnected because their heterosexual peers cannot relate to them. Additionally, there could be a consistent heterosexual bias in their academic, family, and social settings that makes them feel like they don’t belong. This alienation is problematic for their self-concept. As a result students can develop “negative cognitive patterns” that misattribute the source of pain, frustration, or difficulties to something innate instead of concealment of their sexuality, societal ignorance, or anything external (p.330). Limited self-expression and social interaction could be related to anticipated interpersonal feedback (p.336). If a student is concerned about being negatively received-- or “failing,” they are more likely to isolate themselves. The feedback students receive regarding homosexuality can shape their future behavior (p.336). This could also cause a student to avoid ambiguous social experiences. Students with concealable stigmas, like homosexuality, may “develop strategies to control their interactions with others” especially those whom they perceive to be less sympathetic to their stigma. Heterosexually bias social pressure could lead a student to feelings of guilt or shame about homosexuality. This shame can rationalized by the mere worthiness of being hidden (p.334). Shame and guilt can create negative self-evaluation and self-perception. Shame and guilt can negatively affect one’s self-concept, or one’s perceived ability to succeed. The author says, “if one doubts his or her abilities to succeed in a given situation, this is likely to affect his or her thoughts, feelings, and actions” (p.330). Shame and guilt can also lead to an irrational fear of rejection (p.335). This article has obvious implications for Scott’s behavior. It is likely that his limited social interactions are a result of a fear of rejection, and that his anxiety over his daily schedule is a result of fears of social ambiguity. Additionally, Scotts low self-concept and inability to provide self-help could be representative of his social conditioning and negative cognitive patterns in which he attributes his pain to his own “wrongness.” It is clear that Scott’s behavior is multi-causational, but that attention to his self-concept will be helpful.
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