4 DISCUSSIONS DUE IN 72 HOURS
Developing Relationships [WLOs: 1, 3] [CLOs: 2, 3]
Prior to beginning work on this discussion, read Chapter 5 and watch Rita Pierson at TED Talks Education: Every Kid Needs a Champion (Links to an external site.).
Review the week 2 Jose and Olivia (Links to an external site.) interactivity for new information. Select one of these students to write about. In your response, discuss how you will work to develop a relationship with this student. Share at least three different strategies you will use to ensure you build a connection with your student. Explain why you think each of your strategies will make a positive impact. Additionally, share at least two different suggestions/strategies that you will suggest to his/her parent(s) to further build this bond. Lastly, give an example from Rita Pierson’s TED Talk that will help you explain why you think it is so important to develop a relationship with every young child.
Culture and Behavior [WLOs: 2, 3] [CLOs: 2, 3]
Prior to beginning work on this discussion, re-read Section 1.3 and Chapter 6 in your textbook. Additionally, read America’s Hispanic Children: Gaining Ground, Looking Forward (Links to an external site.).
When addressing challenging behavior, it is important for teachers to understand students’ culture and background. Utilize the new cultural information you learned about Olivia and Jose this week to address your discussion forum prompt. If you select Jose for this week’s prompt, discuss the behaviors of hitting his peers or not following the classroom rules. If you select Olivia for this week’s prompt, discuss the behaviors of impulsivity or addressing her peers negatively.
For your discussion prompt, choose Olivia or Jose and address the following questions:
· How will you approach the situation differently with what you learned about the cultural backgrounds of Jose and Olivia?
· What can you do to better support Olivia or Jose in the classroom and the child’s parents at home?
· Now that you know more about Olivia and Jose, what additional strategies can you use to help the child be successful within the classroom and at home?
Guidance Strategies [WLOs: 1] [CLO: 2]
Prior to beginning work on this discussion, read Chapter 9 of the course text and Planning for Positive Guidance: Powerful Interactions Make a Difference (Links to an external site.).
Over the course of time, many guidance strategies have emerged in an effort to help us guide children’s behaviors. Choose one of the following guidance strategies to elaborate on: developmental discipline, teacher effectiveness training, collaborative problem solving, positive reinforcement, natural and logical consequences, time-out, or time-away. You may utilize the following recommended resources to help you better understand the guidance strategies; however, please continue to search for additional insight regarding these strategies.
· Teacher Effectiveness Training (T.E.T. Philosophy) (Links to an external site.)
For your discussion response, answer the following questions:
· What did you learn about your chosen strategy and what information surprised you?
· How will you use this information in the future?
· Will your chosen guidance strategy work for the child you chose in Week 2? Why or why not?
· If your chosen strategy will not work for your student, which of the other listed strategies would work for your student and why?
· Create a challenging behavior scenario for your chosen student (Jose or Olivia) for your peers to solve (e.g., a problem on the playground, walking to lunch, center time or circle time, etc.). Please be sure to review the Guided Response so you offer your peers the necessary information to complete the response.
Functional Behavior [WLOs: 3, 4] [CLOs: 1, 2, 4]
Prior to beginning work on this discussion, read Chapter 10 in your textbook and review The Four Functions of Behavior Made Simple (Links to an external site.).
For your discussion response, review Jazmine’s behavior within section 10.1 in your textbook and answer the following questions:
· Which two methods of data described in Jazmine’s scenario do you think will best identify the problem behavior and determine the functions of a behavior? Explain why.
· Based on Jazmine’s data, who would you bring in to be a part of her behavior team?
· Name her problem behavior and identify the functions of the behavior.
· How can you use her preferences and strengths (i.e., her energy, her persistence, her intelligence, her love of drawing) to change her challenging behavior into an acceptable behavior?
· Create one short-term goal for Jazmine.
· Create one long-term goal for Jazmine.
Kaiser, B., & Sklar Rasminsky, J. (2017). Challenging behavior in young children: Understanding, preventing, and responding effectively (4th ed.). Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu
· Chapter 5: Relationship, Relationship, Relationship
· Chapter 6: Opening the Culture Door
Degel Sanchez, D., Steece-Doran, D., & Jablon, J. (2013, December/January). Planning for positive guidance: Powerful interactions make a difference (Links to an external site.). Retrieved from https://www.naeyc.org/resources/pubs/tyc/dec2012/planning-for-positive-guidance
· In this article, the authors provide information about positive guidance strategies that will assist you in your Guidance Strategies discussion forum this week.
Accessibility Statement does not exist.
DiNovi, B., & Ward, T. A. (2018, January 22). The four functions of behavior made simple (Links to an external site.). Retrieved from http://bsci21.org/the-four-functions-of-behavior-made-simple
· This article provides information about the four functions of behavior and will assist you in your Functional Behavior discussion forum this week.
Accessibility Statement does not exist.
Webster, J. (2018, May 7). ABC: Antecedent, behavior, consequence (Links to an external site.). Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/abc-antecedent-behavior-and-consequence-3111263
· This article provides information about the ABCs of behavior and will assist you in your A-B-C Analysis of Target Behaviors assignment this week.
Accessibility Statement does not exist.
IRIS Center. (n.d.). Functional behavioral assessment: Identifying the reasons for problem behavior and developing a behavior plan (Links to an external site.). Retrieved from https://iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu/module/fba/
· This module provides information about functional behavior assessments and will assist you in your A-B-C Analysis of Target Behaviors assignment this week.
Accessibility Statement (Links to an external site.)
Pierson, R. (2013, May). Rita Pierson at TED Talks Education: Every kid needs a champion (Links to an external site.) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/rita_pierson_every_kid_needs_a_champion
· This video features Rita Pierson, a teacher of 40 years, and provides information about connecting with students on a real level. It will assist you with your Developing Relationships discussion forum this week. This video has closed captioning and a transcript that can be accessed here: Rita Pierson at TED Talks Education: Every Kid Needs a Champion: Transcript (Links to an external site.).
Accessibility Statement does not exist.
Evertson, C., & Poole, I. (n.d.). Establishing classroom norms & expectations (Links to an external site.) [Case study unit]. Retrieved from https://iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu/wp-content/uploads/pdf_case_studies/ics_norms.pdf
· This case study provides information about setting norms and expectations within the classroom and will assist you in your Appropriate Behavior Expectations Case Study assignment this week.
Accessibility Statement (Links to an external site.)
Murphey, D., Guzman, L., & Torres, A. (2014). America’s Hispanic children: Gaining ground, looking forward (Links to an external site.) (Publication No. 2014-38). Retrieved from https://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/2014-38AmericaHispanicChildren.pdf
· This report provides information about the culture of Hispanic children within America and will assist you in your Culture and Behavior discussion forum this week.
Accessibility Statement does not exist.
Huang, C.-Y. (2018, July 19). How culture influences children’s development (Links to an external site.). The Conversation. Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/how-culture-influences-childrens-development-99791
· This article discusses various ways in which culture influences children’s development and behavior and may assist you in your Culture and Behavior discussion forum this week
Accessibility Statement does not exist.
Running head: PEER RESPONSES 1
PEER RESPONSES 2
10.1 PERFORMING A FUNCTIONAL ASSESSMENT
When do you use functional assessment and positive behavior support?
Although functional assessment and Positive Behavior Support were originally created to help individuals withdevelopmental disabilities, about 20,000 schools across the country are currently using PBS as a universal whole-school approach for preventing and addressing challenging behavior (Samuels, 2013). School-wide PBS serves as a primary intervention—that is, a foundation and support system for both classroom and individual interventions (Sugai, Horner, & Gresham, 2002).
Because these two strategies are so effective, the National Association of School Psychologists considers them bestprofessional practices (Miller, Tansy, & Hughes, 1998); and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of1997 and 2004 counsels their use whenever behavior interferes with learning or requires disciplinary action (Mandlawitz, 2005; Quinn, Gable, Rutherford, Nelson, & Howell, 1998).
Most children respond well to the universal strategies we’ve described in previous chapters, but not all.Approximately 5 to 15 percent need the extra help of a secondary intervention (Sugai & Horner, 2002; Walker, Ramsey, & Gresham, 2004). And an additional 1 to 7 percent—more in some inner-city schools—require an intensive,individualized intervention, termed a tertiary intervention (Warren et al., 2003). (A diagram of this interventionmodel appears on page 135.)
Functional assessment is a tertiary intervention, used for serious, frequent, and intense behavior problems (Gable,Quinn, Rutherford, Howell, & Hoffman, 1998). More moderate behaviors—especially those that occur often or overa long period and affect learning and social relationships—may be candidates as well (Chandler & Dahlquist,2014).
It may feel to you as though Jazmine kicks and hits dozens of times a day, but before you undertake a functionalassessment and develop a positive behavior support plan for her, you need to know just how serious this behaviorreally is. An informal observation will provide a reality check by helping you figure out exactly how frequently thebehavior takes place—how many times a day, how many times a week—and whether it appears at specific times—for example, only during free play, only during teacher-directed activities, or only at the end of the day when she istired.
Recently educators and researchers have begun to apply the response to intervention (RTI) method tobehavior. RTI aims to prevent school failure and special education referrals by providing all children witheffective evidence-based teaching strategies and curricula and by adding early and quick intervention forthose who need more support (Fox, Carta, Strain, Dunlap, & Hemmeter, 2009).
With its proactive, three-tiered approach, RTI seems a natural partner for both schoolwide PBS and the earlychildhood pyramid model. In all three systems, the tiers represent a continuum of increasingly intensiveevidence-based interventions (Fox et al., 2009; Sugai, n.d.). Using data gleaned from frequent screening andmonitoring of children’s progress, a team matches interventions to each child’s requirements. Children withthe most persistent behavior problems usually receive individualized support in the form of a functionalassessment and positive behavior support plan.
Because challenging behavior is often related to academic difficulties, some schools are integrating academicand behavior RTI into one system, with encouraging results in both areas (McIntosh, Chard, Boland, & Horner, 2006; Stewart, Benner, Martella, & Marchand-Martella, 2007).
FIGURE10.1 It’s easier to see a pattern in a child’s behavior when you make a bar graph with your data.
Record your observations on a simple chart with the days of the week across the top and the times of the day alongthe side. Choose one or two of the most challenging behaviors to observe (throwing things at cleanup, forexample), and put a mark in the appropriate spot each time you see the behavior. If the behavior goes on for a longtime, it may be more useful to note its duration. Does it last for 10 minutes or 10 seconds? (A watch that shows theseconds is helpful here.) Although a behavior’s intensity is difficult to measure, it may also be helpful to create ascale of 1 to 5 to figure out how serious or destructive it is.
At the end of the day, you’ll know how many times the behavior occurred, and after a week or two you can make abar or line graph that will enable you to visualize exactly what’s happening. Put the dates or days of the weekalong the bottom axis, and the frequencies along the side. You can make a separate graph that shows the times oractivities (such as free play or math) when the challenging behavior occurs. For future reference, don’t forget tolabel the graph with the child’s name, the behavior you’ve observed, and the dates. The frequency of Jazmine’sthrowing things at cleanup shows clearly on the bar graph in Figure10.1.
If your results show that the behavior is truly challenging, the next step is a functional assessment that will providethe basis for an individualized positive behavior support plan.
Enter the teacher as detective. When you perform a functional assessment, you and everyone else who works withthe child become a team of sleuths searching together to discover the function of the challenging behavior andsolve this case.
A functional assessment enables you to figure out the function or purpose of the challenging behavior and toidentify events in the environment that trigger and maintain it. With this information, you will be ready to developan effective behavior support plan.
Create and convene a team
It takes a team to make functional assessment and a positive behavior support plan work well. Everyone who’sdirectly involved in the child’s life—family, teachers, directors or principals, psychologists, social workers,paraprofessionals, bus drivers—has something to contribute, and when you pool information and ideas, you aremore likely to see patterns and come up with an effective plan that everyone can implement (Fox & Duda, n.d.). Ifyour school has an intervention assistance team (see page 224), which may include people trained in functionalassessment, they should certainly join you.
To be as effective as possible, the plan must be comprehensive—that is, it should cover all aspects of the child’s dayat home, at school, and in the community. The family has great strengths, knowledge, and expertise to bring to thetable, and when they participate in developing the plan they will be more likely to understand the logic behind it,believe in it, and implement it faithfully. As always, a sensitive and respectful relationship is crucial. Work to gainthe family’s trust and cooperation by learning about their daily lives, culture, interests, and resources;understanding the roles of each family member (who is the caregiver; who is the disciplinarian); and helping themto recognize you’re on their side. With their good will, problem solving and implementation of the plan will becomeeasier and more consistent.
When the team meets for the first time, your tasks are to identify the problem behavior clearly and set goals foryour intervention. What do you want to achieve? With Jazmine, your overarching long-term goal will probably be toreduce her disruptive behavior so that she can learn and function in class. You can also begin to think about thepurpose of the challenging behavior and the conditions that precipitate it. Brainstorming will prod memories andstimulate thoughts and ideas. The situation is probably more complicated than you think. You may suspect that shewants to get out of cleaning up, but it’s also possible that she wants more attention or that she finds cleanup timeoverwhelming. Keep all the possibilities in mind as you gather information. Eventually a hypothesis—a tentativetheory or best guess—about the purpose of the behavior will emerge.
Steps for Success
Experts outline these steps for performing a functional assessment and creating an individualized positivebehavior support plan for a child with challenging behavior.
· Create and convene a team.
· Identify the problem behavior(s).
· Identify the function(s) of the behavior(s).
· Design a behavior support plan.
· Implement and monitor the plan.
· Evaluate the outcomes.
How do you figure out the function of a behavior?
The functional assessment process reveals the purpose of the challenging behavior by focusing on theenvironment immediately surrounding it (Carr, 1994). Because the classroom is such a complex place—comprisednot only of physical space, curriculum, and routines but also of a social climate and the behaviors of both teachersand children—functional assessment asks teachers to look at it in a special way called an A-B-C analysis (Bijou, Peterson, & Ault, 1968; O’Neill et al., 1997).
A stands for antecedents—events that take place right before the challenging behavior and seem to trigger it. Theresearch mentions demands, requests, difficult tasks, transitions, interruptions, and being left alone (O’Neill et al., 1997). Peers’ actions can be antecedents, too—think of teasing, bullying, showing off, coming too close, andexclusion. When you flash the lights and start to sing the cleanup song (which signals it’s time to clean up), Jazminethrows things on the floor. The flashing lights and the cleanup song are the antecedents.
It is often hard to distinguish between antecedents and their more distant relations—known as setting events—that occur before or around the antecedents. Setting events make the child more vulnerable to the antecedentsand the challenging behavior more likely (Durand, 1990; Repp et al., 1995). The adults who are present (asubstitute teacher, for example), changes in routine, the number of children in the group, the setup of the room,the noise level, the lighting, the type of activity, the sequence of activities, and the time of day can all act as settingevents. Setting events also include the child’s physical or emotional state—being hungry, tired, or sick; being onmedication (or not); spending the weekend with the noncustodial parent; having a parent deployed; beingforbidden to bring a favorite toy to school; being pushed on the bus; and so on. Even the child’s culture can be asetting event if behavior that’s appropriate or encouraged at home is unacceptable at school (Sheridan, 2000).Setting events often depend on information supplied by someone else or are just plain unknowable, which is oneof many reasons to develop a positive relationship with the child’s family. Setting events may be difficult orimpossible to alter, but sometimes they are easy to identify and amenable to change, so it’s important to look forthem.
Difficult tasks, demands, requests, transitions, and interruptions often trigger challenging behavior.
B stands for behavior, which you must describe so clearly and specifically that anyone who’s observing canrecognize and measure it (not “Jazmine is uncooperative” but “Jazmine throws things on the floor when it’s time toclean up”) (Gable et al., 1998). If the child has several challenging behaviors, describe them all, because you willneed to find out if they serve the same or different functions (“Jazmine also kicks and hits other children”). Ofcourse you can’t observe or measure thoughts or feelings, such as sadness or anger—but you can observe andmeasure crying, yelling, or throwing chairs.
C stands for consequences—that is, What happens after the challenging behavior? Here you must look at your ownactions as well as the responses of Jazmine’s peers. Did you pretend you didn’t see her throw three puzzles on thefloor? Did you reprimand her sternly, take her aside for a private conversation, or change her seat? Did you redirecther to another activity or send her to the office? Did the other children laugh, join in, move away, or tell her to stop?Any of these responses, positive or negative, may have an effect on Jazmine’s behavior and serve to reinforce andmaintain it.
What functions can behavior serve?
Taken together, the A-B-C analysis and the setting events form a pattern that points you toward the function orpurpose of the challenging behavior. The functional assessment model postulates three possible functions:
· • The child gets something (attention from an adult or a peer, access to an object or an activity, and so on).When Jazmine throws things on the floor, she gets attention—her classmates become very quiet, and youreprimand her or talk with her privately. Because she’s obtaining something she wants, her behavior is beingpositively reinforced, and it will probably continue.
· • The child avoids or escapes from something (unwelcome requests, difficult tasks or activities, contacts withparticular peers or adults). Ronnie, who is clumsy at gross motor activities, doesn’t want to participate in gym.When he pushes a classmate, you remove him to the sidelines. This response strengthens his behavior andincreases the likelihood it will persist.
· • The child changes the level of stimulation. All people try to maintain their own comfortable level ofstimulation, and when they get too much or too little, they act to change it (Karsh, Repp, Dahlquist, & Munk, 1995). When Jamal has to sit in circle for more than 8 minutes or wait in line for the bathroom, he pokes andpushes the children around him, and the world instantly becomes more stimulating. Because he is changingthe level of stimulation in the environment, his behavior is creating its own reinforcement (Iwata, Vollmer, & Zarcone, 1990).
What about appropriate behavior?
It may seem as if the child never behaves appropriately, but when you keep your mind open you will discover thisis not the case. Appropriate behavior also has antecedents, consequences, and setting events (O’Neill et al., 1997).Because part of planning an effective intervention is knowing how to increase the child’s appropriate behaviors,you’ll need to know what engages her, where her talents lie, which peers and teachers she’s comfortable with,whether she likes being in structured or unstructured settings, in a small group, with a partner, or on her own.Tuning into Jazmine’s preferences and strengths—her energy, her persistence, her intelligence, her love of drawing—will enable you to provide her with new acceptable behaviors and potent reinforcers for them.
What will help you understand the function of the behavior?
To figure out the function of Jazmine’s behavior and develop a hypothesis, you will need current and accurate data,and the more sources you have, the more accurate the information is likely to be (Dunlap & Kern, 1993). Officialrecords are an obvious starting point. Medical forms, incident reports, grades, children’s personal files, and yourown daily logs may be hiding valuable nuggets. It’s especially important to read the notes on any previous behaviormanagement plans. Have any strategies worked with this child, even for a while? Which didn’t? You don’t want torepeat them!
Perusing Jazmine’s file, you see she has attended three child care centers. One center suggested testing for ADHD,but her family hasn’t followed up.
It’s tempting to assume you already know all there is to know, but a formal interview may surprise you (Durand, 1990). Begin with the family, who can add important background information and insights. Be sure to seek theirpermission before you start—if they come from a diverse culture, they may find the functional assessment processinappropriate, intrusive, or just plain strange (Sheridan, 2000). Because they may see both the problem and thesolution differently from the way you see them, take note of your own cultural bias and try to emphasize solutions.The family’s participation and belief in the process are crucial to successful implementation of the plan.
This is a good opportunity to ask about setting events: Sleeping and eating habits, allergies, medical conditions,medications, events in the community, or family problems may all be influencing Jazmine’s behavior. Her mothertells you she comes home late from work, and because her daughter waits up for her, Jazmine often goes to schooltired.
You can also interview other members of your team, including Jazmine’s teachers, past and present (O’Neill et al., 1997). The teacher at the after-school program tells you Jazmine enjoys art and gym, and she gets along well withsome of the older children; the bus driver mentions Jazmine is frequently in a bad mood when she boards the busin the morning, and she swaggers down the aisle bugging the other children until she finds a seat alone at theback.
Don’t overlook the most obvious source of all: the child herself. Even a 5-year-old can shed light on what causes herreactions. Talk with her in a quiet place when she’s feeling calm and good about herself. Stay away from whyquestions, which make some children feel defensive, and zero in on her preferences and pleasures as well as hercomplaints. If your manner, voice, and body language are open, warm, and unthreatening, some very usefulinformation may emerge.
You can take questions from existing questionnaires (see page 208) or make them up yourself. Include somequeries about the A-B-Cs. Which circumstances almost always surround this child’s challenging behavior and whichnever do (O’Neill et al., 1997)? Does the interviewee have a theory about why the child is behaving this way?Interviews also help you to fill in the particulars about previous interventions, especially if you’re talking tosomeone who took part in them.
Observing the child and the environment
By far the best way to learn about a child’s behavior is to observe and collect data about what you see (O’Neill et al., 1997). As the great New York Yankee catcher Yogi Berra once said, “You can observe a lot just by watching.”
There are two major reasons to observe a child’s challenging behavior. The first is that it gives your assessment ascientific base. Collecting data before, during, and after an intervention allows you to find out precisely what you’redealing with and reliably measure any change that occurs. The second reason is to enable you to see therelationship between the immediate environment and the challenging behavior more directly (Dunlap & Kern, 1993)—in other words, to pinpoint what triggers the behavior, what consequences are maintaining it, and what thechild is getting or avoiding as a result.
If your team includes a special education teacher or someone else trained in functional assessment, he or sheshould observe the child; and the principal or the school psychologist might also observe. You can even do anobservation yourself—you may be able to collect some very good data without outsiders around to make younervous, distract the children, and change the environment (O’Neill et al., 1997). In fact, anyone who spends timewith the child should participate.
Although teachers recognize that observing behavior is crucial to intentional teaching, observation isn’t often apriority. Teaching and observing at the same time takes willpower, a quick and perceptive eye, and a good memory.One of the most daunting aspects of this process is that you’re observing your own behavior as well as the child’s.Fortunately, the more you practice, the easier it will become.
Your own previous experience with the child—or a reputation that precedes her—can make it difficult to observeobjectively. Teachers tend to see what they expect to see—especially if they’re expecting challenging behavior. Self-reflection can help. Try to identify your biases so that you can observe what’s actually happening.
This is where the A-B-C analysis comes in. Using the data the team has gathered so far as a guide, select two orthree behaviors to observe more closely. Plan to observe during a variety of activities, routines, times, and days sothat you’ll see when and where the behavior occurs—and doesn’t. Pay close attention to what happened justbefore the challenging behavior, who was involved, and what happened afterwards.
When you’re interviewing people who know the child well, experts (Durand, 1990; Gable et al., 1998; Iwataet al., 1990; O’Neill et al., 1997; Quinn et al., 1998) suggest you ask such questions as these:
· Which of the child’s behaviors do you consider challenging, and what do they look like?
· When and where does this behavior occur?
· When and where does the child behave appropriately? Which activities does she enjoy?
· Who is present when the challenging behavior occurs? Who is present when the child is behavingappropriately?
· What activities, events, and interactions take place just before the challenging behavior?
· How predictable is the child’s daily schedule? How much waiting is there? How much choice does shehave? When the routine changes, does her behavior change?
· What happens after the challenging behavior? How do you react? How do the other children react? Doesthe child get something from the behavior, such as your attention or a favorite snack? Does she avoidsomething, such as cleaning up or wearing her rain boots? According to Brian Iwata (1994), one of thepioneers of functional assessment, “Parents, teachers, and other caregivers sometimes can describe thefunctional characteristics of a [child’s] behavior problem with uncanny accuracy” (p. 414).
· Can you think of a more acceptable behavior that might replace the challenging behavior?
· What activities does the child find difficult?
· Which approaches work well with her, and which don’t? Does she prefer her interaction with you to beloud or soft, fast or slow? How much personal space does she need? If a particular family member or staffis especially successful with her, what does she do?
· If the child is from a different culture, this behavior may not have the same meaning for the family as itdoes for you. Does it trouble them? Why or why not? How would they like you to respond to it?
There are many ways to record your observations. One is to make a basic A-B-C chart divided into categories: A forantecedent (what happened just before the behavior and who was present); B for behavior; C for consequences(what happened afterward); and perceived function (a guess that you make while you’re observing). Be sure tolabel the chart with the child’s name, the date, time, and activity and/or teacher. (See Appendix B for an example.)You can put the chart on a clipboard, stash it in a convenient spot in the classroom, and fill it in as you watch; orprepare index cards or post-its with the A-B-Cs to carry in your pocket and mark on the spot. When you have amoment (at lunch, naptime, the end of the day), transcribe the information onto the chart. Everyone who observesshould record and initial her impressions.
Collect data until a clear pattern emerges. This usually takes at least 15 to 20 incidents over 2 to 5 days (O’Neill etal., 1997). Be careful not to jump to conclusions or interpret the data prematurely. If you’ve made a substantialeffort and things still aren’t clear, perhaps your description of the target behavior isn’t specific enough or yourpersonal biases are getting in the way. You may need to bring in additional help.
Take a look at videos 4 and 5 of this series to see how a guidance counselor works with the teacher toidentify the A-B-Cs of a behavior before he observes in the classroom. How would you collect this information?How will this information help to identify the function of the behavior?
How do you develop a hypothesis?
When you have enough information, call the team together for another brainstorming session. It’s time to create a hypothesis and a hypothesis statement. To do this, you must analyze your data and come to a conclusion about whatit shows. What triggers the challenging behavior? What are the consequences that maintain it? And what purposeor function does it serve for the child?
Looking at your A-B-C chart, you can see that Jazmine’s problem behavior is tied to certain transitions. When youask her to clean up or get ready for lunch, she responds by throwing things. But you notice she rarely behaves thisway during the afternoon cleanup and other transitions when she is with her teacher named Grace. What is Gracedoing differently, and what does that tell you about the function of the behavior?
The data show that you flick the lights and sing the cleanup song to signal a transition—and Jazmine often throwsLego or other objects. But in the team meeting Grace says that when she is in charge of the cleanup transition, shespeaks to every child individually and gives each of them specific tasks to complete before she flicks the lights andsings. Then she gets Jazmine started on her assigned task and stays with her until it’s clear she knows what to do.Jazmine doesn’t throw anything. This gives a hint about the function: Before and during cleanup, Grace spendstime with Jazmine and makes sure she knows what she’s supposed to do. Perhaps Jazmine is overwhelmed by thechaos of cleanup and needs to slow things down and get direction.
One for All and All for One
In a study in Illinois, researchers trained teams working with preschool children in special education and at-risk classes in the use of functional assessment and Positive Behavior Support (Chandler, Dahlquist, Repp, &Feltz, 1999). The result? Addressing the behavior of one child substantially lowered the challenging behaviorof the whole class. At the same time, both active engagement and peer interaction rose, creating a betterlearning environment for everyone.
Because consequences often reinforce and maintain challenging behavior, your observation will help to clarify thishypothesis. The chart shows that when Jazmine throws Lego, the room becomes quiet; then you go over and tellher to pick it up. Suddenly you realize that by giving Jazmine attention and direction after the behavior occurred,you have inadvertently reinforced her actions! As is often the case with children with challenging behavior, Jazminedoesn’t care whether the attention she gets is positive or negative, as long as she gets attention.
Now you can make a hypothesis statement that describes the trigger event or antecedent, the behavior, the