To understand the impact of the learning deficiencies on students with disabilities, one can only look in the classroom and see how students are behaving. Behavior is a constant learning process for students who may have an IEP that includes dealing directly with behavior analysis and expectations.
Amy is a 7th grade student with an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) in a mainstream LA (Language Arts) class at Middlebrook Junior High School. Her IEP includes a FBA (Functioning Behavioral Analysis) and a BIP (Behavioral Intervention Plan) to address her issues of off task behavior and constant acting out in class. Amy currently has 20 discipline referrals to her Administrator, Mr. George for the month of September. Ms. Ames, her LA teacher worries how Amy's inclusion in mainstream classes will impact her future behavior as she nears graduation to the 8th grade and whether she can continue to be mainstreamed without additional Instructional Aide support.
Amy like other students with disabilities engages in behaviors that have impacted her current academic placement and may impact her future school placement. The following behavioral therapy shows what strategies must be used for students like Amy:
- Behavioral theorists have indicated that behavioral therapies must include strategies that are used to change a person's behavior in order to create an acceptable behavior in the classroom and beyond.
- For Amy to change her behavior of acting out, her IEP team and her teacher, Ms. Ames must understand why she's acting out; why she continues to act out and what strategies could be used to redirect the behavior.
- In finding ways to reinforce on task behavior in the classroom, the team must understand what Amy needs in order to redirect her behavior.
Read on to see what the team learns about effective strategies that can be used in changing Amy's behaviors in all of her classrooms.
Changing Amy's Behaviors
In order to change Amy's behaviors, her team must know what Amy is doing that distracts her own learning process which is defined below:
- What the IEP team knows is that Amy is repeating the acting out and being off task because those behaviors are serving a purpose leading to some reward that Amy sees as gratifying and a positive outcome in response to the behavior.
- Amy's grades are mediocre because she can't complete assignments, yet she continues to get massive amounts of attention from Ms. Ames and Mr. George who interact with her daily to deal with the discipline referrals that say the same thing, "Disruptive Behavior-Amy acts out in class."
- Amy appears gleeful when she is asked about the high number of referrals and the attention she gets from everyone including a new Psychologist trying to figure out how to provide behavioral therapy specifics to her team.
Knowing that Amy's behavior serves the function of getting attention and interaction from adults in her life, the new Psychologist provides the team and his new client with strategies to change her behavior and still get the attention and adult interaction, she so craves in her life.
- Amy is now journaling her daily student and adult interactions in a reflective journal that she shares with her psychologist and Ms. Ames.
- The additional time that she spends with them both has provided a new outlet for attention and a redirection of old behaviors into new positive behaviors in the classroom.
Changing Amy's behaviors required the specifics of the behavior and the application of behavioral therapies to address the required behaviors.