Managing difficult behavior is one of the challenges that makes or breaks effective instruction.
Early InterventionIf a child's behavior impacts his or her ability to perform academically, it requires a Functional Behavioral Analysis (FBA) and modify behavior informally, before you go to the lengths of an FBA and BIP. Avoid accusing parents or whining about behavior: if you gain the cooperation of parents early on you can avoid another IEP team meeting.
Behavior Goal Guidelines
Once you have established that you will need an FBA and BIP, then it's time to write IEP Goals for behaviors.
- Write you goals positively as much as possible. Name the replacement behavior. Instead of writing "Zachary will not hit his neighbors" write "Zachary will keep hands and feet to himself."
- Avoid preachy, values freighted words, especially "responsible" and "accountable." When discussing with the student "why" feel free to use these words, such as "Lucy, I'm so happy you're being responsible for your temper. You used your words instead!!" But goals should read: "Lucy will present a card cue when she needs a time out to cool off 80 percent of the day (interval objective.) "
- There are basically two kinds of objectives as noted above: interval and frequency goals. Interval goals are measured across intervals, and frequency goals measure the number of occurrences of a preferred or replacement behavior during a time period.
- The goal of behavior goals should be to extinguish, or eliminate, undesirable behavior and replace it with appropriate, productive behavior. Focusing on the target behavior may reinforce it. Focusing on the replacement behavior should help extinguishing the behavior.
- Problem behavior is not usually the result of reflective, thoughtful choices. It is usually emotional and has been learned by being rewarded. That doesn't mean you shouldn't talk about it, talk about the replacement behavior and talk about the emotional content of good behavior. It just doesn't belong in an IEP.
- There is no such thing as an attitude goal. Let's face it, we've all known kids who were nasty, negative or unpleasant, but we need to remember that attitude follows behavior. Once you have success, you can build a positive relationship. You can't dictate right attitude. You can model it.
Kinds of Behavioral Goal
Goals for Disruptive Behavior:
Disruptive behavior is generally out of seat behavior, calling out behavior, and attention seeking behavior. Generally, the function of this sort of behavior is attention, though children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) often do it because, well, that's who they are!
- Goal for "Out of Seat": During instruction (a Color Wheel Behavior Plan would be good for clarity, here,)Susan will remain in her seat 80 percent (4 of 5) of half hour intervals, two of three consecutive 2 1/2 hour probes.
- Calling Out: During instructional periods, Jonathon will raise his hand 4 of 5 (80%) of in class participation occasions for three of four consecutive 45 minute probes.
- Attention Seeking Behavior: These goals can only be written when you have a good, operational description of the replacement behavior you want. Angela will throw herself on the floor to get her teacher's attention. The replacement behavior is for Angela to use a pre-determined cue (a red cup on top of the desk) to get the teacher's attention. The goal would read: Angela will remain in her seat and cue the teacher for attention with a pre-agreed signal.
Goals for Academic Behavior
Academic behavior is behavior that supports academic progress, such as completing work, returning homework and meeting certain standards for neatness. Be sure behaviors support the child's progress, not your need for certain kinds of academic behaviors. Many of those things should be addressed under the rubric "procedures."
- Completion of Assignments When given adapted math assignments of 10 or fewer problems, Rodney will finish 80% of assignments 2 out of 3 consecutive weeks.
Homework: The behavior surrounding homework is composed of several component parts: recording assignments, doing the assignments at home, turning the assignment in. One adaptation for homework, especially for children with Asperger's syndrome would be to do "30 minutes of homework," ask the parents to time the work section and initial it. The behavior surrounding homework is really only important in supporting the purpose of the homework: to practice and review instruction.
Assignment Book: Louis will correctly record 80% of daily assignments for five daily classes (4 of 5) and get the assignment book signed by the teacher 3 of 4 consecutive weeks.
Doing Homework: Melissa will complete 45 minutes of homework as recorded by parents, 3 of 4 nights a week, 2 of 3 consecutive weeks.
Turning in Homework: Given daily homework assignments 4 of 5 nights a week, Gary will place completed work in a folder in the homework box on the teachers desk, 3 of 4 days (75%) for 3 of 4 consecutive weeks.
Tantrumming: Tantrumming is often more than one behavior, an you need to decide at what point intervention will eliminate the tantrum. A functional analysis is vital: what functional purpose does the tantrum serve? To avoid work? To avoid certain tasks or situations? Maybe you just need to change how work demands are made and how choices are proffered to the child. To get preferred item? Because the child is overtired and needs to escape all demands? Knowing the function of the behavior and the child's preferences can avoid a lot of tantrums. Our imaginary student, Cloe, tends to tantrum when she overly tired. The replacement behavior is to ask for a break/rest, where the classroom aide will place Cloe on her side on a mat, with her head elevated
When Cloe is tired, she will present the teacher or classroom aide with the picture exchange card for a break, 4 of 5 episodes (4 requests for each tantrum) or 80% of occasions, 3 of 4 weeks.