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Special Needs Behavior Plans

Students with complex behavioral problems including cognitive limitations need to be taught to behave appropriately so they can learn in school. 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”.

FeelingsinmyHead

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.

RainbowGoal

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.

Visual Safety Plan

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.

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FAB Strategies Workshops

I’ve been getting several enquiries from therapists, parents, and teachers interested in taking my FAB (Functionally Alert Body) Strategies workshops.  FAB Strategies offer evidence based transdisciplinary mindfulness, sensory processing, handling, behavioral, art, music, and activity strategies for children with behavioral, developmental, and sensory challenges. I would enjoy discussing setting up workshops with you and can be reached at JLP96007@yahoo.com I am currently conducting efficacy research and working on a FAB Strategies Book.

Through ERI (Education Resources Inc.) I am currently offering small high quality trainings for occupational, physical, speech, and mental health therapists.  The number of participants is strictly limited so I can give individualized activity and handling instructions to each participant through laboratory sessions, where participants can learn to immediately use FAB Strategies in their clinical practice.  Professionally produced handbooks are provided for each participant with research references and unlimited ability to use my copyrighted FAB Strategies activity and handling forms.  My currently scheduled FAB Strategy Workshops are October 18 & 19, 2013 in Cedar Knoll, NJ and November 8 & 9, 2013 in Hollywood, Florida.  More information and registration informationis available at 

http://www.educationresourcesinc.com/course-details?courseid=38