Parenting Special Needs Magazine March/April 2017 : Page 34

In addition, his mother comments that Jack may not be feeling well. That could be a setting event. Now view this interaction. What exactly do you see and hear? to summarize the patterns within the routines. The summary should include the antecedents, behaviors, and consequences, as well setting events that might explain why your child’s behavior varies from day to day or across circumstances. Your “summary statement” might say something like: “When _____ occurs, my child is likely to ____ in order to get/avoid _____.” For the above videos, these summary statements could be: • When Jack is asked to do schoolwork, he makes noises, puts his head down, and tries to leave the room in order to delay or avoid the task. He is more likely to resist when he is ill. • When Violet is asked to eat food other than her preferred snacks, she leaves the table, drops to the floor, and screams. If this pattern continues, her parents may allow her to have treats. In addition, she is able to leave the table and gets a great deal of attention from her parents. The purpose (or “function”) of Jack’s behavior appears to be to avoid or lessen the demands of his schoolwork. On the other hand, Violet’s behavior may serve a few different purposes – getting her preferred foods, avoiding sitting at the table, and/or gaining attention and physical contact. Once you understand the patterns surrounding your child’s behavior within the routines you want to address, you are better able to develop strategies that are likely to be the effective. You will be more informed and equipped to bring about the changes in behavior you want and that will benefit your child and family the most. In the next article in this series, you will learn to select and plan strategies for your child to prevent problem behavior and prompt more positive behavior, teach skills to replace problem behaviors and be more successful in routines, and manage consequences to reward positive (and not problem) behavior. w Meme Hieneman, has a Ph.D. in Special Education and is nationally certified as a behavior analyst. She has published a variety of articles, chapters, and books including “Parenting with Positive Behavior Support: A Practical Guide to Resolving Your Child’s Difficult Behavior.” In her professional career, Meme has worked with children with severe behavior problems for more than 20 years. Notice that the pattern in this video was not the same. In this situation, the parents guided their daughter, Violet, to the table to eat. She continued to leave the table. From what the mother explains, however, it is for a different reason than Jack’s. Violet wanted a treat. Here are the ABCs: Lunch is on the table. Mother says, “Eat with me?” and guides Violette to the table. When she leaves, Dad brings her back. Violet leaves the table and runs into the kitchen. She pulls away, drops to the floor, and begins yelling and crying. AntecedentS BehaviorS ConsequenceS Dad physically brings her back to the table and guides into seat. (Dad does not give her the treat). It is also important to note that in the past, Violette’s parents have sometimes “given in” when she has a tantrum by allowing her to have something else to eat. Once you have gathered information on patterns surrounding your child’s behavior, it is often helpful 26 34 Parenting SPecial needS.org MAR/APR 2017

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