Behavior Managment Martha Van Leeuwen University of Kansas Resources for Paraeducators Website
HELP! The student I am working with is OUT OF CONTROL! • Working with students with special needs can be difficult as many times behavior can sometimes get in the way of their learning. On this page you will find: • a variety of research based strategies to help with managing behavior in the classroom or in a one on one or small group setting. • a Behavior Intervention Plan that a student might have in their IEP and how to read and implement this plan.
Using a Behavior Plan as written by the IEP team • A behavior intervention plan is used to target a specific behavior in a student and determine a plan in how to handle this behavior. According to IDEA, there are requirements to a behavior intervention plan: • Previously tried interventions and how they were successful (or unsuccessful) • Definition of the behavior • Descriptions of the interventions that will be used and who will be implementing the interventions • Procedures and Safeguards that will be followed • Procedures and explanations in how data will be collected • A measureable description of how the team sees the behavior changing and the successes • A time schedule for when and how the plan will be reviewed to determine if the plan is working and effective • A description of how the behavior will be shared with the students team members • Procedures in how the student's behavior will be handled in periods of crisis (Crisis Plan)
How did the team come up with this plan and interventions? • When a student exhibits a behavior that is impeding their learning (social or academic) or impeding other students learning, the team will decide to do a functional behavior assessment. • During this time, the team will define the targeted behavior, collect data on what happens prior to seeing the behavior, where the behavior occurs, when the behavior occurs, and what happens once the behavior occurs. • This process is called a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) and is specifically used to help gather information on the events that predict and continue to maintain the student’s identified behavior problem. • The team is trying to figure out why a student is engaging in this behavior and provide a plan to help eliminate the behavior. • The main purpose of the FBA is to give the team data and information that will help create a Positive Behavior Support Plan (PBS).
Creating a Behavior Plan • There are various reasons why a student engages in problem behavior. The 3 main reasons a student will engage in behavior is to1. Escape doing something2. Gain attention3. Self Stimulation • By conducting a FBA, the team is trying to determine why the student is engaging in this behavior (one of the 3 main reasons will be identified) and use this information to help determine the plan to eliminate the behavior.
What is my role in implementing the behavior plan? • As a paraeducator, you have a very important role of making sure data is being collected and the plan is being implemented as written. • If you do not implement the plan as written, the team will not be able to correctly assess the behavior and progress and the data can be looked at as invalid as it does not follow the specified procedures. • Also it is important to follow the crisis plan as directed by your supervisor. The crisis plan is created to help keep the student as well as any staff working with the student safe. • Make sure you are very familiar with the plan and able to correctly implement when working with the specific student. • If you have any questions, make sure you talk them over with your supervisor or the special education teacher to ensure continuity on implementing the behavior plan..
What does it mean when the plan talks about “Positive Behavior Supports”? • “A written plan that is developed based on a functional assessment of problem behavior. Behavioral support plans contain multiple intervention strategies designed to modify the environment and teach new skills.” (as taken from Special Connections Website ) • The key to remembering a positive behavior plan is they are interventions specifically created for that student and their environment. • They reward positive behavior in order to teach the student a new skills and help to diminish the targeted behavior as defined in the functional behavior assessment.
Tips for Behavior Managment with a Small Group • Behavior management is a very important part of working in small groups as well. The following are important points to remember when working in a group setting in order to manage behavior. A small group can easily get out of hand causing students to not getting the instruction they need.
Using techniques and strategies to help prevent the behavior BEFORE it starts. There are many ways you can create a learning environment that will help with behavior management. It is important to set up specific rules and to focus on the behavior you want to see. Give examples of the behavior such as say "Raising our hand tells the teacher we have something to say" rather than saying "No talking unless you have raised your hand," By keeping the expectations positive and showing students what they CAN do instead of telling them what they cannot do. When you have established the expectations and routines for the small group instruction, you need to directly teach these to the students. We can not assume student's will always know what is expected so it is important to teach the rules and routines until the students are familiar and know exactly what to expect. (Carpenter, McKee-Higgins, 1996). Consistency with the schedule can help with desired behaviors as students know what is expected and are not guessing at what will happen next. Also when the students are engaged in a consistent routine, there is less opportunity for "down time" or unstructured time which can lead to undesired behaviors.
Practicing positive reinforcement when a student exhibits the appropriate behavior • Positive reinforcement is rewarding the behavior you want to see, rather than punishing the behavior you do not want the student to exhibit. • When someone is reinforced for their good behavior, they are more likely to exhibit that behavior again. This will require you to be watching for the proper behavior and have a system in place in which the student will receive a reward for exhibiting the behavior you have outlined the group expectations and routines. • Positive reinforcement can be very effective when you reward students often and then gradually decrease the amount of rewards, you can see the behavior start to become natural and expected rather than rewarded. • The term "Catch them being good" is a key phrase in practicing positive reinforcement.
Proximity and supervision of students • Keeping close proximity to students and making sure they are supervised is always best practices. Not only does it help with behavior management, but also for safety issues as well. • If students are aware that you are paying attention and you know what is going on in the room, they will be less likely to engage in undesired behavior.
References • LD Online • Carpenter, S.L. & McKee-Higgins, E. (1996). Behavior management in inclusive classrooms. Remedial and Special Education, 17, 195-203.