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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Effects of the Behaviour Education Program

The Behaviour Education Program (BEP; Crone et al 2004) is a modified check in, check out program for students who may not respond to school wide behaviour plans. The groups of students who may benefit from this type of secondary intervention are those with:
a. poor peer relations
b. low academic outcomes
c. chaotic home environments

These type of students may require more practice in behavioural expectations as well as academic modificitions to ensure success.

The daily check in, check out program provides these students with positive adult interaction as well as targeting these students for other secondary interventions that may aid in decreasing future inappropriate behaviour.

The study was conducted in the following manner:

Students were selected for participation in the study if they (a) entered the BEP intervention after at least 2 months of school (to establish a baseline office discipline referral rate), (b) received the BEP intervention for at least 6 weeks, (c) had received at least two office discipline referrals, and (d) were nominated by instructional staff to receive additional behavior support. Students selected for the study also had to demonstrate problem behavior throughout the school day rather than during one academic period (i.e., math, language arts) or only during unstructured times (i.e., recess or lunch). Of the 17 students who received the BEP intervention during the school year, only 13 met the criteria to be included in the study, with parental permission being secured for 12 students. The 4 students who were excluded from the study were already receiving the support of the BEP at the beginning of the school year; thus, a baseline measure of the dependent
variable could not be established. Of the 12 students included in the study, 10 were boys and 2 were girls,with 2 from ethnic minority backgrounds. Eight of these 12 students qualified for free or reduced lunch. One of the 12 students in the study was receiving special education services for a learning disability in reading.
Students engaged in a range of problem behaviors, including talking out; making inappropriate comments; failing to complete work; and failing to keep hands, feet,
and objects to self (e.g., playing with another student’s hair, throwing paper). None of the students in the study engaged in severe problem behavior, such as physical aggression, property destruction, or self-injurious behavior.

Implementation of the Behaviour Program

Once parental and student permission was obtained for a student, the BEP was implemented. The BEP process involved the following five elements: First, students were required to “check in” with a paraprofessional before school.
The paraprofessional provided the student with a Daily Progress Report (DPR) form that was carried to class for feedback throughout the day. When students checked in, they were asked if they had their DPR from the day before signed by their parents and if they had their materials ready for the school day. They received praise and a lottery ticket for a weekly drawing for checking in. Also during check in, students were prompted to identify daily goals and given feedback to encourage success. For some of the younger students, the paraprofessional delivered the DPR to their classrooms.

Second, during natural transitions in the school day (i.e., after language arts, after math), teachers would provide students with feedback on their DPRs. Teachers provided feedback on student behavior at the end of each time period by rating either 0 (did not meet expectations), 1 (somewhat met expectations), or 2 (met expectations). The expectations for all students were the same as the schoolwide
expectations: (a) keep hands, feet, and objects to self; b) use kind words and actions; (c) follow directions; and (d) work in class. Teachers also provided immediate verbal praise for students who met behavioral expectations for that time period and corrective feedback if students did not meet the expectations.

Third, at the end of the school day, students took the DPR to the paraprofessional to check out. Student percentage of points for the day was calculated, and students received praise and rewards if they met their daily point goal. Rewards were randomly selected each day using a spinner system and included small pieces of candy, schoolwide tokens, or a bonus move on a sticker chart system. Daily point goals were developed during a meeting among the BEP coordinator, teacher, and student before the student was placed in the BEP. For all students in this study,
80% of the total points earned (i.e., 40 out of 50 total points) was their daily point goal. If students did not meet their daily goal, the paraprofessional would provide information on what to work on for the following school day.

Fourth, students then took their DPR home to be signed by a parent/guardian, and fifth, the Daily Progress Report was signed by a parent and returned the next morning. Student data on the BEP were summarized daily, and the schoolwide behavior support team met bimonthly to examine student progress on the intervention. Students were considered to be making progress on the BEP if they were receiving 80% or more of their possible points each day.

OUTCOMES

Although more research is needed to further document the effectiveness of the BEP, the data from this study as well from previous research encourage the addition of this type of intervention to a school’s system of behavior support.
The BEP can be modified by incorporating functional assessment procedures, and this modification may lead to the BEP being effective with more students (Crone et al.,
2004). For example, for students who are motivated by peer attention, the BEP can be modified to allow students to earn reinforcers to share with their peers (e.g., free gym time, extra recess for the class). For students who are engaging in problem behavior to escape from math that is too difficult, the BEP could be combined with academic supports to improve the student’s math and organization skills. To strengthen the research base for the BEP, future studies should investigate the effectiveness of including functional assessment procedures for students who are not
responding to the basic BEP intervention.

Hawken, L.,Macloed,S.,& Rawlings, L(2007); Effects of the Behavior Education Program
(BEP) on Office Discipline Referrals of Elementary School Students; Journal of Positive Behaviour Interventions, 9(2), 94-101

Monday, March 7, 2011

The ASD Nest Program


Lord and McGee (2001) believe that education is still the primary form of treatment for children with ASD, parents and teachers. The classroom has the potential to impact the lives of children with ASD. The ASD Nest Program was developed to help higher functioning ASD children learn how to socially and academically function in school and their community.
The idea of the "nest" provides the children with supportive structure in a nurturing environment. The Nest Program typically starts in kindergarten and moves the children throuhg the grade levels. The Nest Program utilizes the required support systems for the child to function successfully. Teams are set up within the classroom to meet the complex needs of the child. Strategies are then employed by the therapists and teachers to modify the enviroment so the child can excel within the classroom. The strategies are research based and consist of positive behaviour support and social stories, relationship based strategies and other social cognitive strategies.
Basic instructional supports include:
* Daily class schedule
* Visual aids
* Choice making opportunities
* Role playing
* Classroom environmental modifications
* "Catch them being good"

The Key Elements of the Program:

1. Class Size:
2. Co-teaching model:
3. Targeted Goal Areas:
4. Social Developmental Curriculum:
5. Home School Connection:
6. Specialized preservice training:
7. Teaming:
8. Ongoing site support:
9. Additional Learning Opportunities: Peer Supports

Organization of the Classroom Environment: (Children with ASD have difficulty with sensory processing and can become overloaded. Ensure classroom is not overwhelming)

* Display only those materials that are being used in a lesson or that are needed for ongoing reference. Put them out of sight when they are no longer useful.

* Use drop cloths to cover shelves holding play items that may be distracting when they are not being used.

* Reserve on particular bulletin board or area of the room to display children's work and only display items that are relevant to current learning.

* Be mindful of the child's visual point of view. Children should be able to easily view relevant material.

* Clearly mark areas used for group and individual work, including learning centers.

* Set a quiet area with a bean bag chair and tools for self calming such as headphones for listening and manipulatives.

* Avoid the clutter that may be created by unnecessary furniture and materials or poorly organized materials.

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT INTERVENTION

1. Experience Sharing: Promote engagement and interaction: Build a "we-fort" Assign roles that together are needed to complete the structure, thereby encouraging communication. Creating a shared memory.

2. Language Comprehension: Become aware of pragmatic language weaknesses as well as the use of educator language. "Person of the Week" (Winner, 2005). Tell the children to find out as much as they can about a peer. Collect information througout the week and put it on a tree or friendship file. Encourage questioning techniques and information gathering.

3. Problem Solving: Promote flexibility in problem solving both in the academic and social domains.

4. Social Cognition or Social Thinking: Encourage social thinking through the use of vocabulary and model situations that require us to think about others. "Social Detective Agency" Students study photograph, illustrations from familiar literature and movie clips collecting clues to make "smart guesses" as to what the character may be thinking, feeling and planning. Have studens look at non verbal clues in order to assess a situation.

5. Flexibility/Self Regulation: Model flexible thinking and encourage the use of flexible vocabulary. "Identify Your Team of Unthinkables" Help the children identify their unthinkables, the characters that get in the way of being good social thinkers. The Unthinkables are enemies of Superflex, or Rockbrain that we can defeat if we train ourselves to recognize when we are being inflexible.

6. Incorporating Strengths and Preferred Interests: Capitalize on preferred interests to help with the student's thinking.

As the authors of this article state there can be many barriers to implementing a best practice program. Funding, inappropriate staff, and a lack of dedicaiton or motivation to find news ways to help children with ASD. The Nest Program tiries to address these issues as a team and is supportive of everyone involved. Maybe worth looking at!!

Bleiweiss, J., Brennan, S., Cohen, S., Koenig, K., & Siegel, D.,(2009); A model for inclusive public education for students with autism spectrum disorders. The ASD Nest Program. Teaching Exceptional Children, 6-13

Bullying: Making School a Safe Place to Learn

                                                         FREE RESOURCES A number of children and families are being affected by bullying...