Activities for Teaching Behavior Management

I.  Theories of Behavior

1.  Observe a child trying to complete a task (e.g., toileting, completing a puzzle, etc.)  Write a list of all of the discrete behaviors which are linked in the completion of that task.  Observe another child completing that task and record for each step if the child performed the task independently (I), with a verbal prompt (V), or a physical prompt (P).  Note the presence of interfering behaviors at each task step.  Which steps were most challenging for the child?  How could you tell?

2.  Observe child in classroom for 5 minutes.  Choose a target behavior and define it clearly.   Observe the child for 10 minutes, looking for that behavior.  Identify how that behavior is influenced by the characteristics of the child, the characteristics of the environment, the characteristics of the teacher.  Of these influences, determine which are amenable to change and which must be accepted as unchangeable. 

3.  Observe a child’s behavior briefly and choose a target behavior (which can be negative or positive).  Observe this child for 15 minutes and record the antecedents and consequences of the target behavior over that time period.  What are the antecedent events which tend to occur before the behavior?  What are the consequences that tend to happen after the behavior?  How can these observations assist you in teaching the child positive behaviors? If you chose a negative behavior, what would an adaptive alternative behavior be?

4.  Observe a child for 15 minutes and determine:

                a.  How does this child communicate to get attention?

                b.  How does this child communicate to request an object or activity?

                c.  How does this child communicate to request a particular sensory experience?

                d.  How does this child communicate to reject an activity or leave a situation?

                What are some more adaptive ways that the child could behave to get attention, request objects or experiences, and reject activities?  Make a list of the target behaviors you have observed and their alternatives.  Clearly define each behavior.

II.  Assessment

1.  Two participants work together on this activity.  Each dyad is assigned a child to observe and completes four activities together concerning that child and those behaviors.  Each activity is later presented to the group for discussion.

                (1).  The dyad choose one target behavior for the child and:

                                (a)  Defines the behavior

                                (b)  Devises a recording system to record frequency, intensity, and duration.

                Both participants take data simultaneously and independently on the     behavior for 15 minutes.  Issues of data collection and reliability are then discussed.

                (2)  The dyad completes a preference assessment with the child and identifies three         potential rewards in the following categories:  social/attention, tangible, sensory, and escape.

                (3)  The dyad continues to observe the child and the target behavior.  The dyad completes a functional analysis of this target behavior.  Tools used may include:  A-B-C sheet, Detailed Behavior Report, Motivation Assessment Scale, etc. The dyad forms a hypothesis concerning the primary and secondary functions of the target behavior. 

                (4)  The dyad identifies an adaptive alternative behavior to the target behavior and clearly defines it. 

III.  Tools of Behavior Change

1.  Each participant is given one of the following assignments.  Each completes it and then presents her ideas to the group.  Following her presentation of preventative techniques that can be used, the group brainstorms some intervention techniques which could also be applied to the behavioral issue.

                a.  Choose a child and watch how he/she manages transitions between activities.  Perform whatever assessments you need to perform.  Devise a method which combines some of the preventative strategies to assist this child in making calm transitions.

                b.  Choose a child who has difficulty completing a specific task or activity. Perform whatever assessments you need to perform.  Devise a method which combines some of the preventative strategies to assist this child in completing an activity successfully.

                c.  Choose a child who has difficulty playing with toys in a functional manner. Perform whatever assessments you need to perform. Devise a method which combines some of the preventative strategies to assist this child in playing with a     toy as it was intended to be used.

                d.  Choose a child who has difficulty controlling impulses and tends to run toward objects or grab objects or take objects from other children. Perform           whatever assessments you need to perform.  Devise a method which combines some of the preventative strategies to assist this child in inhibiting impulses.

                e.  Choose a child who tends to place inedible objects into his/mouth. Perform whatever assessments you need to perform.  Devise a method which combines some of the preventative strategies to assist this child in not mouthing inedible objects.

IV.  Creation and Implementation of Behavior Plans

1.  Using the same dyads from part II (assessment) and the same child and target behavior, each dyad is asked to devise a behavior plan which includes the aspects listed in the training.  Each dyad presents this plan to the group and describes how to teach others to implement it.