Transdisciplinary School Strategies Enhance Inclusion

It is common for early education classes to include undiagnosed special needs students.  While the students often eventually qualify for special education services their teachers need strategies to meet the immediate needs of these students within the regular classroom.  This is important for both the special needs students and the ability of all the other students to learn.  Fortunately, transdisciplinary use of positive behavioral support strategies improve behavior and learning in regular and special education students in a variety of settings.

Teachers are becoming overwhelmed with the demands of increasing academic standards and students with developmental, behavioral, and mental health challenges.  Meanwhile, related services personnel are recognizing the importance of working in conjunction with classroom teachers to best serve students.  There has been much hostile criticism of related services staff by some early childhood faculty and organizations.  Despite this teachers, parents, and students have increasingly recognized the contribution of related services staff including occupational, speech/language, physical, and mental health therapists (social workers, school psychologists, guidance counselors). Teachers and related services staff have particularly found value in teaming together in implementing evidence-based positive behavioral support interventions.

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Teachers and related services staff learn from working together to more effectively educate students using positive behavioral support interventions.  In my over thirty years working as a school occupational therapist with regular and special education students I have learned from teachers and other special services school staff many strategies to improve student learning and behavior.  Particularly using positive behavioral support strategies we have effectively integrated special and regular education students in activities to improve their behavior and learning.  My attached list of Evidence-BasedClassBehaviorStrategies has resulted from this collaboration.


Riggs, N.R., Greenberg, M.T., Kusche, C.A., Pentz, M.A. (2006).  The mediational role of neurocognition in the behavioral outcomes of a social-emotional prevention program in elementary school students: Effects of the PATHS curriculum.   Prevention Science, 7(1), 91-102.

Simonsen, B., Fairbanks, S., Briesch, A., Myers, D., & Sugai, G. (2008).  Evidence-based practices in classroom management: Considerations for research to practice.  Education and Treatment of Children, 31(3), 351-380.

Simonsen, B., Britton, L. & Young, D. (2010).  School-wide positive behavior support in an alternative school setting.  Journal of Positive Behavioral Intervention, 12(3), 180-191.

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