Wednesday, June 18, 2014

B is for Behavior from the summer series ABCs of a 1st year teacher

Welcome to day 2 of the summer series, "The ABC's of a 1st year teacher." Today I will be talking about Behavior.  I will keep it as brief as possible because there are TONS of useful books, blogs and articles online. For starters, if you are following The Autism Helper, Sasha has an AMAZING summer lined up of behavior posts that will guide you in dealing with problem behavior.  Also, visit I love ABA for thoughts, tips, & musing about applied behavior analysis.

Before I get started on behavior, there are a few acronyms I need to define:
  • Function of Behavior: Students engage in certain behaviors because the find the behavior reinforcing in one or more ways:
    • Escape/Avoid a situation
    • Gain attention
    • Gain a tangible item
    • Sensory input 
  • A.B.C. data: Data collected to help define the function of behavior
    • Antecedent: The antecedent is whatever happens right before the child engages in the behavior.
      • Does the adult request the child to do something? Did the adult correct the student? Does the peer playing with the child walk away/yell/take something from them/say something mean/throw something at them?
    • Behavior: The behavior is what the student does. It needs to be written in observable/measurable terms. Here are 2 examples of observable/measurable terms:
      • Sally leaves the group activity to play in the bathroom sink without permission at least 4 times a day 
      • Jackson licks his finger and sticks his finger in his peers food during lunch time while laughing  
    • Consequence: The consequence is whatever happens after the child engages in the behavior.
      • Does the adult talk to the student/ignore/walk away in response to the behavior? Does the peer yell/hit/run away from the student?
  • F.B.A. (Functional Behavior Assessment) The process used to identify problem behavior exhibited by students. The FBA is typically created by a special education teacher, behavior analyst or school psychologist. 
  • B.I.P. (Behavior Intervention Plan) A plan created by the ARD committee using the information from the FBA.  The BIP explains how staff will improve the child's behavior. 
  • Bx this is an abbreviated term for Behavior. 

Anybody feel like this ^ yet? 

Now that the definitions are out of the way, what are the steps to dealing with problem behavior?

1. Identify the problem behavior by using specific observable measurable terms. Once you have your behavior defined, you will begin your data collection.
  • e.g. of observable/measurable behaviors: When the teacher is talking to another student, John sings out loud, yells the teachers name and slaps his hand on the desk. 
  • e.g. of NON observable/measurable behavior: When the teacher is talking to another student, John engages in behaviors that are disruptive to the class. 
2. Collect ABC data to determine why the behavior is occurring. For each incident that specifically matches your defined behavior, you are going to collect what happens immediately before the behavior (antecedent) and what occurs immediately afterwards (consequence).  Just a reminder-the consequence is whatever happens after the child engages in the behavior (does the adult/peer talk to the student/ignore/walk away in response to the behavior?)

Here are some helpful data sheets for ABC data:

3. Create an FBA by compiling all of your ABC data. Then create your action plan-the BIP. I have found the following links to be helpful when I created my first FBA & BIP:
Read more about replacement behaviors from
OR purchase
How to reach & teach children with challenging behavior
4. Implement the BIP while continuing to use data collection on the effectiveness of replacement behaviors and the effectiveness of positive reinforcement. If you've seen the Big Bang Theory, they have the perfect example of Positive Reinforcement.

Read more from this summer series!
Stop by on Friday to read about Conversation & Communication!

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