To Behave Or Not Behave!
That Is The Question!
I just spent two days at a Professional Development Conference to learn about autism and how to be a positive role model for children. I learned so much but given that this was over the span of two days, I cannot possibly relay everything to you. Therefore, I decided to discuss one main points that can be used across the board with student, at any given time, especially for those who have behavior problems or learning disabilities.
Please note that I am not insinuating that students who are autistic or who have learning disabilities also have behavior problems. In fact, many of these students tend to be model students. I want to share this with you because you can use this right away either in your classrooms with any student or during your homeschooling classes with your children.
One of the biggest words that I took away from this training was FUNCTION. When you have a child who is exhibiting inappropriate or according to the Zones of Regulation book, “unexpected” behavior, instead of going on the defensive, I want you to think about and ask the question “what is the function of the behavior?” In other words, “why is this behavior occurring?”
To really assess this question, it is important to think about the following: Is it because your child wants to “escape” from doing a difficult task? Does the child need either your attention or something tangible from you?
Finally, is your child receiving automatic reinforcement every time they behave negatively? For example, if you have students walking quietly in the hallway, when the child who has a behavior problem screams or pushes another student, do you automatically walk beside that student or move them to the front of the line, because if that was what they wanted – more attention from you, then they just received reinforcement atomically using this unexpected behavior.
Guess what will keep happening if we continue to react instead of taking a moment to evaluate the function of the behavior? The best way to assess the situation is to document the behavior. I know that you are busy but it will make your life so much easier in the long run.
To simplify your life, I created templates for this in my Lesson Planning Package. I have two separate packages: one for teachers and one for if you homeschool your child.
If this feels too daunting, take a step back, BREATHE and instead of writing long detailed notes, use check marks or another system that is easy for you. Make sure though, that you are able to understand your documentation so that you can communicate it to others, like administration, parents therapists or other professionals who need the information.
What do you do to manage unexpected behaviors?
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