Below, you will find a short list of positive intervention strategies for teachers of students with significant intellectual disabilities. Identify powerful reinforcers – Everyone wants to be positively reinforced for their work. Examples include praise, pay checks, and intrinsic motivation.
Students with significant intellectual disabilities may exhibit challenging behaviors that are referred to as (broken link) self-injurious behaviors as well as (broken link) self-stimulation. Further, communication deficits may result in a student’s use of attention-seeking behavior such as loud vocalizations or banging in order to communicate wants and needs. Below, you will find a short list of positive intervention strategies for teachers of students with significant intellectual disabilities.
5 Tips to Foster Positive Student Behavior
1) Identify powerful reinforcers– Everyone wants to be positively reinforced for their work. Examples include praise, pay checks, and intrinsic motivation. It is important to identify ways to powerfully reinforce students. Ask a student’s parents for ideas. Reinforcers may be a favorite toy, high-fives, verbal praise, time listening to music, time on the computer, etc.
2) Be age-appropriate– Be sure to consider a student’s chronological age when providing reinforcement. An elementary school teacher may give hugs, while a high school teacher would give high-fives. A pre-school teacher might clap her hands and say, “You are such a big boy!” for a student’s good behavior, while a middle school teacher might say “Way to go! I am proud of you!” A teenager, regardless of developmental age, should be reinforced with appropriate items. (For example, when working with middle or high school students, avoid the use of musical items that play Mary Had a Little Lamb or the like.)
3) Behaviors must be replaced– Students sometimes exhibit inappropriate behavior as a means to reach a desired outcome. These desired outcomes may include attention, escape, or gaining a desired item. It is not enough to merely teach a student to abandon such behavior. We must teach the student a new, and more appropriate, means of reaching the desired outcome. Here are some examples of replacement behaviors for students who desire escape or attention.
4) Change the Environment– Oftentimes, the first reaction to a student’s inappropriate behavior is to modify the behavior. There are ways to prevent such behaviors by modifying the environment. This should be considered for students who rely on a consistent daily routine or who have adverse reactions to certain stimuli. Here are some suggestions to prevent behaviors of students who desire escape or attention.
5) Take Data– Data is extremely important. Before we can address a problem behavior, we must determine the function of the behavior. Click here (pdf)for examples of data forms that will assist you in identifying the function of a behavior. Functional Behavior Assessment will provide a better understanding of the purpose behind a particular behavior. Once a purpose for a specific behavior is determined, create or select data forms that address the function of that behavior. Such data collection will allow you to monitor the effectiveness of selected interventions.