Addressing Challenging Behaviors Activity
Description: If you’re working with a client who has challenging behaviors, it can be helpful to do a behavioral analysis so you can identify the cause of the behavior and teach the child to use language to get that need met. For this, you’ll want to use a behavioral analysis chart like the one above. You can download ours by clicking the link below or find your own. You will want to observe the child and each time the behavior occurs, you’ll write down the antecedent (what happened right before), the behavior (what the child did), the reactions (what those around him did and his reaction), and the outcome (what happened as a result of the behavior). Once you have enough data points, you can look for patterns and see what the function of the behavior was. The function will be one of five things:
- To get something
- To avoid something
- To escape something
- To get attention
- To get sensory input (the behavior itself is the reward)
Keep in mind that sometimes, children will have more than one function going at the same time or over the course of the week. If you’re struggling with this part, be sure to consult with a behavioral specialist. They love this stuff! Next, you’ll come up with a plan for how you can teach language that will serve as a replacement behavior for getting that need met.
If the child is trying to get something, teach him how to ask for it with his words. If the child is trying to avoid or escape something, teach him how to use a break card to ask for a break. If the child is trying to get attention, teach him the words he can use to ask for a hug or a high five. If the child needs sensory input, teach him how to ask for a sensory break. Keep in mind that for nonverbal children, you may need to introduce some sort of AAC to get this done.
Once you’ve chosen your replacement behavior, then everyone in this child’s life must work together. Everyone must make sure that the old behavior does not work (ex: he doesn’t get sent to time out for escape behaviors because that’s what he wants). Everyone must redirect the old behavior to the new replacement behavior. Everyone must provide reminders and prompts to use the replacement behavior before he resorts to the old behavior. And everyone must be consistent. For more information about how to do this, click the link below!
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