Positive Behavior Intervention Support: Preventative Behavioral
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Positive Behavior Intervention Support: Preventative Behavioral Practices for Early Childhood Classrooms. Debby Hudson dhudson1@spu.edu Jorge Preciado preciadoj@spu.edu Seattle Pacific University.

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Debby hudson dhudson1 spu jorge preciado preciadoj spu seattle pacific university

Positive Behavior Intervention Support: Preventative Behavioral

Practices for Early Childhood Classrooms

Debby Hudson dhudson1@spu.edu

Jorge Preciado preciadoj@spu.edu

Seattle Pacific University

*Portions of this presentation were designed by Carol Davis, Nancy Rosenberg, Dana Stevens, and Penny Williams at the University of Washington

What is positive behavior intervention support pbis

What is Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS)?

An approach to manage challenging behavior that emphasizes:

  • Prevention rather than reaction

  • Changing the environment

  • Figuring out the function of a behavior

  • Teaching a different “replacement” behavior

Debby hudson dhudson1 spu jorge preciado preciadoj spu seattle pacific university

Assessment of the Environment

Assessment of Instruction

and Adult - Child Interactions

Increase in Teacher Time

and Level of Intrusiveness

Assessment of


and Consequences

Prevention arranging primary structures of learning environments

Prevention: Arranging Primary Structures of Learning Environments

  • Physical Environment

  • Material Environment

  • Temporal Environment

  • Social Environment

  • Self Awareness Environment

Physical environment

Physical Environment

  • General Focus:

    Organization: Structures, system, and themes

    • Physical Boundaries

    • Safety

    • Visibility

    • Accessibility

    • Environment as teacher

    • Provides opportunities for appropriate control

Physical environment specifics

Physical EnvironmentSpecifics

  • Optimal Seating

    • Circle time

    • Small group activities

  • Optimal Body Regulation

    • Circle time

    • Transitions

      • Waiting in line

      • Moving between activities

Material environment

Material Environment

  • General Focus

    • Preparation

    • Accessibility

    • Rotation

    • Organizational System

    • Preference

    • Age and Developmental Appropriateness

    • Safety

Material environment specifics

Material EnvironmentSpecifics

  • Specifics:

    • Labeling systems with photos and words

    • Sorting bins and marked areas

    • Roll carts for activity specific items

    • Prepare materials beforehand for activities

    • Incorporate child preferences

Temporal environment

Temporal Environment

  • General Focus

    • Create a schedule and follow it!

  • Specifics

    • Visual Scheduling

      • Group

      • Individual

      • Across the day

      • Within activities

Temporal environment specifics

Temporal EnvironmentSpecifics

  • Activity Scheduling:

    • Match starting and ending activities to arousal needs of children. Alternate preferred and non-preferred activities.

    • Be open to changing schedules around child needs.

Common times for the p revention of c b

Common Times for the Prevention of C.B.

  • Transition: Clear beginning and end

    • Prepare for transitions: give warnings!

    • Auditory signal

    • Walking in line chants

    • Visual schedules or cues

    • Have transition or “waiting” items available

  • Clean up: Routines

    • Job charts

    • Song

    • Buddies

    • Labeled bins, roll-away carts for safety items



  • Down times / Done times:

    • “All Done” or “Waiting” box

    • Designated quiet area with activity choices

Social environment

Social Environment

  • General Focus:

    • Establishing group norms

    • Sharing and caring behaviors

    • Insuring safety

    • Fostering interaction

  • Specifics:

    • Posted and practiced class rules

    • Supported & planned social activities

    • Multiple material sets

Self awareness environment

Self Awareness Environment

  • General Focus:

    • Facilitating personal space and ownership

    • Opportunities to express needs

    • Recognition of self and other

  • Specifics:

    • Marked cubbies and seating

    • Classmate photos

    • Personal comfort items

      • Management

      • Optimal settings

Instructional strategies and pbs

Instructional Strategies and PBS

  • Making the learning experience a positive and enjoyable one for the child will help to prevent challenging behaviors

A positive learning experience includes

A Positive Learning Experience Includes…

  • Functional Communication

  • Shared Control

  • Clear Cues and Expectations

  • And…………Really Terrific Instruction

Six general prevention strategies

Six General Prevention Strategies

  • Functional Communication

    • A way to say no

    • A way to say, “I need a break.”

    • A way to request things they want

    • A way to ask for help

    • A way to ask for attention or interaction

  • Can be verbal, gestural, or graphic


Six general prevention strategies cont

Six General Prevention Strategies, cont.

  • Shared Control

    • Giving choices

    • Allowing negotiation

    • Collaborative activities

  • Prepare for transitions

    • Give warnings

    • Provide distractors

    • Teach waiting

Six general prevention strategies cont1

Six General Prevention Strategies, cont.

  • Errorless Learning

    -insuring success for the child

  • Behavioral Momentum

    • Very effective in small doses

  • Provide visual information

    • Planned Schedules

    • Visual cues

Modifying task size

Modifying Task Size

  • Decrease the overall length of the task

  • Provide frequent breaks

  • Shared Control

    • Balance teacher directed and child directed activities

  • Use of visual supports may be helpful

    • Often simply showing amount “to-do” can help

  • Instructional prevention strategies summary

    Instructional Prevention Strategies Summary


    • Include individual child preferences

    • Break the tasks into simple steps

    • Make the task meaningful and functional

    • Vary the difficulty of the tasks (intersperse easy with hard)


    • Shorten the length of the task

    • Use materials that are meaningful or preferred

    • Provide choices

    • Insure child success

    • Provide positive attention

    • Give clear instructions

    • Avoid repeated instructions

    The individual and pbis assessment of the function of behavior

    The Individual and PBIS:Assessmentof the function of behavior

    Debby hudson dhudson1 spu jorge preciado preciadoj spu seattle pacific university

    Assessment of the Environment

    Assessment of Instruction

    and Adult - Child Interactions

    Increase in Teacher Time

    and Level of Intrusiveness

    Assessment of

    Function of Behavior

    Focusing on the individual involves

    Focusing on the individual involves

    • Figuring out the function of the behavior

    • Preventing the behavior

    • Replacing the function with a more acceptable behavior

    Functional assessment of behavior p rocess

    Functional Assessment of Behavior Process:

    • Recognize that challenging behavior serves a function for the child.

      2. Identify the priority behavior as a team.

      3. Provide a clear description of the behavior.

      4. Collect information to figure out the function of behavior.

      5. Decide on effective intervention approaches.

    Challenging behavior

    Challenging Behavior

    • How does it make you feel?

    • Be honest with yourself and other staff

      -Know what you can and can’t tolerate

    • Develop team strategies to handle those situations

    1 behavior serves a function

    Obtain attention

    Obtain food or toys

    Obtain activities

    Obtain internal stimulation

    Escape/avoid activities Escape/avoid interaction

    Escape pain/discomfort

    1. Behavior Serves a Function

    Examples of escape avoidance behaviors

    Examples of Escape/Avoidance Behaviors

    Escape or avoid an activity or task

    • Child scratches to avoid having to cut during art.

    • Child flops down when it’s time to come inside

    • Child leaves line to avoid waiting.

      Escape interaction

    • Child moves out of play area when other children join her.

      Escape pain

      - Child hits head to escape the pain of a headache.

    Examples of behaviors to obtain

    Examples of Behaviors to Obtain

    • Obtain things

      • Child screams to get a favorite food.

      • Child hits to obtain a toy.

    • Obtain attention

      • Child asks repetitive questions.

      • Child pokes peer during circletime.

      • Child calls teacher “stupid”

        - Nic story

    • Obtain sensory input

      • Child smears glue.

    Debby hudson dhudson1 spu jorge preciado preciadoj spu seattle pacific university

    Behavior: Sam is poking and pinching kids during circle

    Sam is removed from circle.

    Function: To escape circle.

    Sam is reinforced!

    Sam continues to poke next time

    Debby hudson dhudson1 spu jorge preciado preciadoj spu seattle pacific university

    Behavior: Maria is banging a toy against the ground.

    Teacher comes over, redirects Maria to another toy, and reminds her to be gentle.

    Function: To get attention.

    Maria is reinforced!

    Maria continues to bang toys for attention.

    2 3 defining problem behavior

    2 & 3. Defining Problem Behavior

    4 figuring out the function

    4. Figuring out the Function

    Functional Assessment Questions:

    • What is the child getting out of this?

    • What triggers the behavior?

    • When does the behavior occur?

    • When does the behavior not occur?

    • How does the child typically communicate?

    Tools for figuring out the function

    Tools for figuring out the function

    • Talking to parents and team members

    • Motivation Assessment Scale

    • A-B-C Data

    Talking to parents and staff

    Talking to Parents and Staff

    This approach gives you info about:

    • Setting events outside of school that might be affecting behavior

    • Parent ideas of what function of behavior might be

    • Whether the behavior is happening outside of school

    • Creating a communication system with parents (i.e., Code red clip)

    Motivation assessment scale mas

    Motivation Assessment Scale (MAS)

    • published by Proactive Educational Planning, 1999.

    • http://www.monacoassociates.com

    • http://www.monacoassociates.com/mas/aboutmas.html

    • 16 item survey to assess behavior in four main categories: escape, attention, obtain tangible, and sensory.

    • Can be filled out by any team member

    Motivation assessment scale

    Motivation Assessment Scale

    1. Would the behavior occur continuously, over and over, if this child was left alone for long periods of time? (For example, 20 minutes.)

    Never Almost Never Seldom Half the time Usually Almost Always Always

    0 1 2 3 4 5 6

    11. Does the child seem to do the behavior to upset or annoy you when you are not paying attention to him or her? (For example, if you are sitting on the opposite side of the room, interacting with another person).

    If the function isn t clear

    If the function isn’t clear

    • Take ABC data. Each time the behavior occurs, write down

      • 1) Antecedent: what was happening right before

      • 2) Behavior: what the behavior was

      • 3) Consequence: what happened right after

    Debby hudson dhudson1 spu jorge preciado preciadoj spu seattle pacific university

    Name: ___________________________Date:____________________


    Example of a b c data

    Example of A-B-C Data

    Date: 4/03/04

    Time: 1:20 pm

    Antecedent: Stephen is doing cutting with teacher.

    Behavior: Stephen scratches teacher.

    Consequence: Stephen put in timeout.

    Date: 4/03/04

    Time: 2:00 pm

    Antecedent: Stephen is playing game with another child with teacher assistance.

    Behavior: Stephen scratches the other child.

    Consequence: Teacher comforts child (& game is delayed).

    Date: 4/04/04

    Time: 3:00

    Antecedent: Stephen is playing with toys. Another child comes and tries to play with him.

    Behavior: Stephen scratches the other child.

    Consequence: Other child leaves.

    Replacing the function

    Replacing the Function

    • Teach a Communicative Alternative

      • Think about what the child may be trying to communicate. What is an appropriate way to communicate the same thing?

    • Other examples of replacing a function

      • Giving a child something hard and plastic to chew on instead of hand biting

    Examples of what the child may be trying to say

    Examples of what the child may be trying to say

    • “NO!”

    • “I need a break”

    • “I want to stay here”

    • “Help me”

    • “Look!

    • “Play with me!”

    • “I want that”

    1 teach ways to request and reject

    1. Teach ways to request and reject

    A replacement communication SHOULD…

    • Be easily available

    • Be easily understood


    • Follow cultural norms

    Teaching request and reject cont

    Teaching request and reject, cont.


    • Look for (or set up) situations where the challenging behavior typically happens.

    • Catch the child BEFORE they engage in the challenging behavior and prompt appropriate communication.

    • Immediately reinforce the appropriate communication EVERY TIME at first.

    • To the greatest extent possible, make sure the challenging behavior no longer works for the child. (ideally prevent it!)

    Catch kids doing the right thing

    Catch Kids Doing the Right Thing!

    Positive Reinforcement:

    • increases the likelihood that behavior will happen again

    • helps children understand their behavior affects their environment

    • can help children build self-esteem

    • Remember the 3:1 ratio: For every corrective/negative, use at least 3 affirmative/positive comments

    Prevention strategies for escape behaviors

    Prevention Strategies for Escape Behaviors

    • Change task or activity

      • Make it shorter or easier

      • Make it more motivating by incorporating preferred items/activities

    • Establish a contingency: “if you do x, then you get y.”

    • Alternate between:

      • hard and easy tasks

      • more and less preferred tasks

    Prevention strategies for obtaining behaviors

    Prevention Strategies for Obtaining Behaviors

    • Example: Obtaining Attention

      • “Catch them being good” – give lots of attention for appropriate behavior

      • Give kids activities to engage them when you predict you will be busy

      • Schedule time to give a student undivided attention

    Prevention mindset

    Prevention Mindset

    • A key way to prevent challenging behavior is to pre-pick your “battles” wisely

      • Recognize that certain behaviors are ultimately controlled by a child (toileting, talking, eating, sleeping)

      • The Explosive Child strategy

        • Three baskets scenario

    Crisis management when the behavior happens anyway

    Crisis Management: When the Behavior Happens Anyway

    • Keep everybody safe: if necessary, remove child to a safe place and leave them until they are calm.

    • Do not try to reason with, plead with, or scold the child.

    • If the child was trying to escape something, wait until they are calm and then if possible, continue with the task.

    • If the behavior was to obtain something, try your best to ensure they don’t get it.

    Real life example child does not come to circletime

    Real-Life Example: Child does not come to circletime.


    - Reevaluate daily schedule

    • Use visual cues

    • Include more interactive and material oriented activities

    • Assess child’s favorite toy, activity, song, etc. and begin circle-time with that event

    • Establish carpet square as a positive setting during other times

    • Give a transition item and/or an item to hold during activity

    • Teach child to say, “I need a break.”

    Useful resources

    Useful Resources

    • The Portable Pediatrician (2nd Edition) by Laura Walther Nathanson, MD. Harper Collins, 2002.

    • Functional Assessment and Program Development for Problem Behavior by O’Neill, Horner, et al (1997)

    • Families and Positive Behavior Support: Addressing Problem Behavior in Family Contexts by Lucyshyn, Dunlap, and Albin

    • A work in progress: Behavior management strategies and a curriculum for intensive behavioral treatment of autism. By Leaf, R., & McEachin, J. E. (1999)

    • The Explosive Child by Greene, R.W. (2001)

    • http://csefel.uiuc.edu/whatworks.html

    • http://www.pbis.org/ Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports.

    • http://rrtcpbs.fmhi.usf.edu/ Center on Positive Behavior Support

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