Students with complex behavioral problems including cognitive limitations need to be taught to behave appropriately so they can learn in school. A special needs behavior plan helps them with learning this.
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Special Needs Behavior Plans
An individualized understanding of the student’s developmental level, trauma history, sensory modulation, and effective coping strategies are helpful in developing a behavior plan. It is helpful to develop a trauma informed behavior plan that addresses the student’s feelings and developmental challenges.
Often “big” feelings need to be managed to prevent problematic behaviors. Visual supports help students become aware of their problematic big feelings.
Emotional learning follows a developmental sequence with the first feelings learned being sad, mad, glad, tense and relaxed. Once these are learned more complex and combined emotions can be taught. Emphasis is given to current feelings that lead to problematic behavior. Ask student to use different colors to draw all the feelings “in my head”.
Next, feelings which are always O. K. things to feel need to be distinguished from problematic behaviors like hitting, which are not O. K. in school.
Particularly with cognitively impaired students desired results are emphasized not morality. It is also helpful to use a trauma informed approach that repeatedly emphasizes “I will like you no matter what. Some behaviors will be rewarded that will make you successful, while other behaviors will be punished so you don’t have a bad life”. A rainbow goal is a useful art activity is used to help the student plan behavior goals.
For cognitively impaired students goal planning emphasizes what they want to do “Be safe” rather than what they won’t do “hit”.
Each rainbow beneath the top pot of gold goal is a related step. The student can dictate or write, chooses the color, and draws. Participation is encouraged, rather than just scribbling and saying “done”.
Finally a safety plan is visually depicted with objectively specified behaviors for reaching their rainbow goal. The students favorite sensory coping strategy options for replacing the inappropriate behavior are included.
Coping strategies are “non-contingent reinforcement (NCR)”, always immediately available options that do not need to be earned. This transdisciplinary behavior plan was developed by the student’s occupational therapist, social worker, and speech/language pathologist.
The objective behaviors include a definition of “Be safe” that the student and all teachers and therapists understand clearly “No hitting, threatening, or throwing objects”.
A baseline is taken and specific point chart or rewards are given for progress toward the goal. Visual supports and art activities can help students with complex behavioral challenges improve their behavior for learning.
- Sensory Solutions in the Classroom for the Kid Who Cannot Sit Still
- School and Sensory Processing Disorder: Get Set for Success
- Sensory Strategies for the Elementary School Classroom
- Getting Ready for School with Sensory Processing Disorder
- Fun Sensory Activities for the Home and Classroom
- Classroom Strategies for Sensory Processing Disorders
Printable Classroom Support Resources
- Calming Strategies for the Classroom
- Classroom Behavior Management Guide
- Sensory Break Cards for the Classroom
- Classroom Behavior Management Incentive Puzzles
- Classroom Yoga in 10 Minutes a Day
- Create a Calm Classroom
- Sensory Tools for the Classroom – Handouts, Forms and Data Collection
- Sensory-Friendly Classroom Starter Kit
- Teacher’s Handbook to Sensory Processing in the Classroom
- Yoga in the Classroom
For more reading about sensory solutions in the classroom:
Behavior Solutions for the Inclusive Classroom: A Handy Reference Guide That Explains Behaviors Associated with Autism, Asperger’s, ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, and Other Special NeedsGryphon House Wired Differently: A Teacher’s Guide to Understanding Sensory Processing ChallengesBuilding Sensory Friendly Classrooms to Support Children with Challenging Behaviors: Implementing Data Driven Strategies!Answers to Questions Teachers Ask about Sensory Integration: Forms, Checklists, and Practical Tools for Teachers and Parents
This post originally appeared on Fab Strategies.