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Paraprofessional Behavior Module. Goals for this Module. Paraprofessionals will have a basic understanding of what it means to function as part of a behavior team.

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goals for this module
Goals for this Module
  • Paraprofessionals will have a basic understanding of what it means to function as part of a behavior team.
  • Paraprofessionals will have a basic understanding of how to assist the supervising teacher in promoting and responding to student behaviors.

3. Paraprofessionals will understand the importance of collecting and using data to support behavior change in students

competencies paraprofessionals will display
Competencies: Paraprofessionals will display…

1. A basic understanding of the purpose of behavior programs and the philosophical basis underlying the selection of the strategies and techniques that the supervising teacher may employ.

2. An understanding of their role and the role of the supervising teacher in responding to student behavior and in the implementation of behavior support plans.

competencies continued paraprofessionals will display
Competencies: (Continued) Paraprofessionals will display…

3. An understanding of the variables that may contribute to student misbehavior.

4. The ability to identify the ABCs (antecedents-behaviors-consequences) of behavior and understand the process and importance of using this data to facilitate behavior change.

competencies continued paraprofessionals will display1
Competencies: (Continued) Paraprofessionals will display…

5. The ability to verbalize the importance of being proactive (e.g., teaching an appropriate behavior to replace an inappropriate behavior) over being reactive.

6. The ability to identify the skills required to assist the supervising teacher in promoting positive behavior in the school environment.

competencies continued paraprofessionals will display2
Competencies: (Continued) Paraprofessionals will display…

7. The ability to identify the skills needed to prevent inappropriate behavior, replace inappropriate behavior with appropriate behaviors, and respond appropriately to escalating behavior.

8. The ability to observe, record and chart behavior under the direction of the supervising teacher.

competencies continued paraprofessionals will display3
Competencies: (Continued) Paraprofessionals will display…

9. An understanding of the role of confidentiality and how it relates to behavior management and discipline of students with disabilities.


Competency OneA basic understanding of the purpose of behavior programs and the philosophical basis underlying the selection of the strategies and techniques that the supervising teacher may employ.

our purpose and philosophy of behavior supports
Our Purpose and Philosophyof Behavior Supports

1. The belief that the overall purposeof any behavior program is to aid the student in learning and displaying those behaviors conducive to learning and functioning in society.

2. The overall goal is to teach and encourage appropriate social behaviors.

3. The underlyingphilosophy is that appropriate behaviors can be taught just as we would teach any other lesson.

importance of a common philosophy
Importance of a Common Philosophy
  • Prevents misunderstandings
  • Ensures that both the supervising teacher and paraprofessional approach student behavior in a consistent and appropriate manner

Competency TwoParaprofessionals will understand their role and the role of the supervising teacher in responding to student behavior and in the implementing of behavior plans.

role of supervising teacher
Role of Supervising Teacher
  • Creating a positive learning environment
  • Establishing classroom rules and procedures
  • Determining positive and negative consequences
  • Writing Behavior plans
  • Ensuring appropriate implementation of behavior plans
  • Making major decisions regarding the direction of behavior management
role of the paraprofessional
Role of the Paraprofessional
  • Assisting the supervising teacher in:
    • creating a positive learning environment
    • observing, recording, and charting behavior
    • implementing behavior plans
    • crisis intervention
    • supervising students’ behavior during free play or class activities
    • reinforcing appropriate behavior and skills
role of the paraprofessional continued
Role of the ParaprofessionalContinued
  • Demonstrating and/or modeling appropriate


    • Personal Hygiene
    • Appropriate conversation and language skills
    • Manners
  • Coaching/cueing appropriate behavior
Competency ThreeParaprofessionals will understand variables which contribute to student misbehavior.
dealing with student behavior
Dealing with Student Behavior
  • Behavior is complex. Behavior does not occur in isolation.
  • Environmental and intra-student variables contribute to students’ behaviors (both positive and negative).
Environmental VariablesVariables present in the environment which can cause or contribute to the students’ inappropriate behaviors.
environmental variables
Environmental Variables
  • School/Classroom environmental factors
  • Supervising teacher/Instructional factors
  • Curriculum factors
  • Social factors
  • Home/community factors
school classroom factors
School/Classroom Factors
  • Unsatisfactory professional development programs for staff.
  • Inconsistent discipline programs/philosophical differences
  • Bus ride (length, problems on bus carry over to school, etc.)
  • Temperature of building/classrooms
  • School and staff to student ratio
school classroom factors continued
School/Classroom Factors(Continued)
  • Areas in building that are inadequately supervised
  • Rules/expectations in class/building far exceed skills of students to be successful
  • Insufficient school materials (books, labs, other resources)
  • Classroom seating arrangements (too close/near to peers, too far from supervising teacher, near window or distractions
supervising teacher instructional variables
Supervising Teacher/ Instructional Variables
  • Supervising teacher expectations too high/too low for student
  • Feedback to student not frequent enough
  • Rates of reinforcement too low for student’s needs
supervising teacher instructional variables1
Supervising Teacher/ Instructional Variables
  • Supervising teacher’s energy, fatigue, or tolerance resulting in higher negative or less frequent feedback and interaction
  • Insufficient rehearsal time, direct instruction time and guided practice time.
supervising teacher instructional variables2
Supervising Teacher/ Instructional Variables
  • Level of supervision (frequency/rate) too low for student’s needs
  • Supervising teacher’s teaching style does not take into account student’s various/preferred learning styles.
curriculum factors knoff 2001
Curriculum Factors(Knoff 2001)
  • Curriculum too easy or difficult
  • Curriculum not relevant to the student’s needs
  • Curriculum presented too fast or slow for student’s learning rate.
  • Insufficient opportunity to practice
curriculum factors continued
Curriculum Factors(Continued)
  • Length of curriculum presentation too long for attention span of student
  • Philosophy of curriculum presentation too narrow or broad (e.g. phonics only)
social factors
Social Factors
  • The supervising teacher and his or her ability to effectively manage a classroom and create a positive learning environment can contribute to the presence or absence of inappropriate behavior
social factors continued
Social Factors (Continued)
  • The student’s peer group can contribute in a positive or negative manner.
      • Do the peers support/reinforce appropriate behavior?
      • Do the peers exert influence over inappropriate behavior by teasing, taunting, or instigating?
home community factors
Home/Community Factors
  • Discrepancy in values/expectations between home and school.
  • Parents’academic skills inadequate to help student
  • Parents unable or unwilling to reinforce school-related academic/behavior strategies in the home
  • Absence of appropriate levels of parent supervision
home community factors continued
Home/Community Factors(Continued)
  • Parent/community difficulties such as substance abuse
  • Parent unwilling or unable to meet health/nutrition/basic needs of child resulting in school absences, tardiness, and the ability of student to concentrate on school tasks
intra child variables
Intra-child Variables
  • Cognitive factors
  • Physical factors
  • Emotional factors
  • Academic Factors
  • Motivational Factors
cognitive factors
Cognitive Factors
  • Memory skills
  • Length of attention span
  • Language
  • Self control
  • Absence or presence of prerequisite academic skills
physical and health factors
Physical and Health Factors
  • Hearing, motor, vision
  • Speech (articulation, voice)
  • Stimulation or fatigue
  • Side effects of medication
  • Stages of maturation/development
  • Health conditions
  • Sensory problems
emotional factors
Emotional Factors
  • Emotional conditions
  • Past/present history of abuse or neglect
academic factors
Academic Factors
  • Student’s level of academic functioning.
  • Link between inappropriate behavior and the difficulty of the task. Inappropriate behavior increases with the difficulty of the instructional task.
motivational factors
Motivational Factors
  • Major factor in motivation is the ability to predict success.
  • You are more motivated to attempt a task if you have reason to believe you will be successful.

Competency FourParaprofessionals will be able to identify the components and understand the process and importance of conducting an ABC analysis of behavior.

have you ever said
Have you ever said:
  • I’ve tried everything!
  • He needs to be somewhere else.
  • He comes to school that way.
  • He just needs a good spanking.
  • Nothing Works!
  • He does it all day.
  • It’s his home.
have you ever said1
Have you ever said:
  • Nothing set him off .
  • He could do better if he wanted to.
  • He acts just like his daddy.
  • What would you expect from his family.
  • We punish him but it just doesn’t work.
  • Can’t predict his behavior …There is no reason.
The basis of functional assessment is the acceptance that all behavior is a form of communicationand allbehavior serves a purpose.
the process of identifying what is causing or maintaining behavior is called the abcs of behavior
The process of identifying what is causing or maintaining behavior is called the ABCs of Behavior.
abcs of behavior
ABCs of Behavior
  • Antecedent: What happens just before a problem behavior occurs. Time of day, who is present, during what event/subject/task.
    • Setting events: happen further away in time but still contribute to the problem behavior: Lack of sleep, hunger, medication.
  • Behavior: What the student does that is observable. Written in concrete terms
  • Consequences: What typically happens after the behavior occurs. Indicates what maintains the behavior.

By looking at what occurs as a result of the behavior you are able to make an hypothesis about what is maintaining the behavior or what function is the behavior serving for the student.

Function of Behavior:What is the student getting or avoiding when they engage in a specific behavior?
typical functions of behavior
Typical Functions of behavior
  • Attention: peer attention, adult attention
  • Escape: get out of an activity or away from other students/staff.
  • Sensory stimulation-self reinforcing behaviors such as thumb sucking
  • Access to materials or activities-something tangible the student wants.

Situation #1When the supervising teacher gives Joe a math assignment, he begins to get extremely disruptive, causing the supervising teacher to tell him to go stand in the hallway.

  • What are the antecedents? What happens right before Joe’s behavior?
  • A B C

Math assignment

  • What behavior is the result of the supervising teacher giving Joe a math assignment?
  • A B

Math AssignmentCurses and Argues

  • What is the consequence for Joe engaging in disruptive behavior?


Math AssignmentCurses and Arguesremoved

what do we know
What do we know?
  • What do we know about when Joe curses?
    • He curses when given math assignments.
  • What is Joe getting or avoiding by cursing?
    • Being removed to the hallway is allowing him to avoid the math assignment.
if joe got what he wanted
If Joe got what he wanted….
  • Was that the supervising teacher’s intent?
  • Is it possible that the supervising teacher saw removing him as a negative or punishing consequence?
  • Will Joe’s cursing behavior decrease under these conditions?

For Joe the act of being sent out into the hallway is a reward…How do we know?…Joe’s behavior doesn’t decrease (which is the effect of punishment) but will increase or stay the same (which is the result of reinforcement).(We will look at punishment and reinforcement in more detail later.)

situation 2
Situation #2
  • Peter wants peer approval. When he smarts off to his supervising teachers, his peers laugh and later tell him how great he is. His supervising teacher asks him to open his book, Peter smarts off. His peers laugh and look approvingly at him. The supervising teacher gives him lunchtime detention. Peter serves his time in lunchtime detention willingly.
situation 21
Situation 2

What are the ABCs of Situation 2?


(Antecedent) (Behavior) (Consequence)

situation 22
Situation #2


Teacher Request

abcs situation 2
ABCs Situation #2


Teacher requests Smarts off



Teacher requestsSmarts off Peers laugh

give approval;

Teacher gives


Is he trying to avoidlunch detention?How do we know?Because his behavior is not decreasing despite being sent to detention.
peter s need for peer approval is stronger than the consequence of lunch time detention
Peter’s need for peer approval is stronger than the consequence of lunch time detention.
group activity with a partner look at activity situation 1
Group Activity: With a partner, look at Activity Situation #1
    • Trisha wants supervising teacher attention. Whenever the supervising teacher gives Trisha an assignment to do she immediately puts her head down on her desk. Seeing this the supervising teacher walks over to Trisha, leans down and with great care talks to Trisha about how she knows Trisha can do the assignment if only she will try. The supervising teacher normally spends at least 2 minutes per assignment getting Trisha started
  • What are the antecedents, behavior and consequences?
activity situation 1 answers
Activity Situation #1 Answers
  • What is the antecedent: supervising teacher presents a task
  • What is the behavior: Trisha puts her head down
  • What is the consequence: supervising teacher attention.
what do we now know
What do we now know?
  • Trisha’s need for attention is greater than her need for academic learning or success. Presently the only time she gets the supervising teacher’s total attention is for being helpless and not working. If the supervising teacher wants to increase the amount of work Trisha does without assistance she needs to rearrange the consequence. Trisha should get attention when she is working, not when she is not working.
activity situation 2
Activity Situation #2
  • Every day during recess Spencer (who has a severe speech and language disability) runs over to the swings, which is his favorite piece of equipment. If he gets to the playground late and someone else is on the swing, he will grab the swing and or pull him/her off.
activity situation 2 continued
Activity Situation #2 (continued)
  • Usually the student pulled off the swing will go and tell the duty teacher/staff who will eventually come get Spencer off the swing and make him stand on the wall. Spencer’s parents are tired of him standing against the wall during recess and want the practice stopped. The school’s position is that they can’t let him hurt the other kids.
activity situation 2 answers
Activity Situation #2 answers
  • What is the antecedent: Recess, swing
  • What is the behavior: Pulls or pushes another student off the swing.
  • What is the consequence: Gets to swing on the swing.
activity situation 3
Activity Situation #3
  • Adam is an 11th grader. Whenever the supervising teacher gives him an assignment, which is unfamiliar to him, he argues about why he has to learn the material or why he has to do it. The arguments usually last a few minutes and ends with the supervising teacher becoming upset and sending him to the resource room.
activity situation 3 continued
Activity Situation #3 (continued)
  • When he gets to the resource room, the resource room teacher sits down with him and explains what he needs to do to complete the assignment. Adam starts to work without any further comment.
activity situation 3 answers
Activity Situation #3 answers
  • What is the antecedent: unfamiliar work
  • What is the behavior: arguing
  • What is the consequence: being sent to resource room/getting assistance
competency five paraprofessionals will be able to verbalize the importance of being proactive
Competency Five:Paraprofessionals will be able to verbalize the importance of being proactive.
  • Example: Teach an appropriate behavior to replace an inappropriate behavior rather than waiting until a behavior occurs and attempting to “just stop” it.
  • Most of us draw on our own past experiences and childhoods – for our knowledge about behavior and behavior management.
  • We need to put that aside and take a fresh look – based on what science offers us.
paraprofessional responsibilities
Paraprofessional Responsibilities
  • Demonstrate, explain, model, and reinforce appropriate behavior and skills
  • Observe, monitor, and record students’ behaviors in carrying out a particular behavior management plan.
  • Help the teacher by responding immediately to students
paraprofessional responsibilities1
Paraprofessional Responsibilities
  • Assist in working with smaller groups and individual activities
  • Increase monitoring
  • Provide frequent attention
  • Help prevent problems
  • Deal with problems quickly when they do arise.
Competency Six:

Paraprofessionals will be able to identify the skills required to assist the teacher in promoting positive behavior in the school environment.

Competency Seven

Paraprofessionals will be able to identify the skills needed to prevent inappropriate behavior, replace inappropriate behavior with appropriate behaviors, and respond appropriately to escalating behavior.

  • a basic understanding of learning and behavioral terminology
  • understanding of principles of reinforcement and punishment
classical conditioning
Classical Conditioning
  • Learning based on repeated association
  • (The things that happen at the same time as something important to you – become important also. These things then become signals.)
classical conditioning continued
Classical Conditioning (Continued)
  • Remember:
    • The signal has to be clear – what they hear and what they see
    • The time between the signal and what happens next needs to be short. (Signal needs to be immediately prior.)
    • Example: Bell rings to signal end of class. Bell needs to be loud enough, and class needs to end right away – not 30 minutes later.
Song (is paired with)

Party--------->Pleasure (Then the song brings pleasure.)

  • Sight of you (is paired with)

getting in trouble--->Fear / anger (Now the sight of you brings fear and anger.)

  • Darkness (is paired with)

Loud noise------->Fear (Now darkness elicits fear.)

  • ABCs (are paired with)

Clowns----------->Pleasure (or fear)

Teaching math (was paired with) Smurfs ---- fear, confusion, and resistance
  • Some children reacted negatively to the use of disposable gloves – because they had been previously associated with bad experiences with doctors.
  • An autistic child loved PE. When he saw the PE teacher, he wanted to go and play basketball. He liked her because of that pairing – that association.

When those two things are no longer paired, the response gradually weakens and disappears - EXTINCTION occurs.

  • Examples:
    • Turn lights off is signal to be quieter.
    • Bell ringing is signal for class change.
    • Mom putting on shoes and coat is the signal she is going out.
    • Timer going off is the signal that work is finished.
    • Ambulance is a signal that something is seriously wrong!
the bottom line
The Bottom Line….
  • YOU can become paired with “the goodies” or with what is “bad”, depending on what you do with your students.
  • Are you a signal that life at school will be positive and successful? Or are you a signal that says life will be difficult – or even depressing?
operant conditioning
Operant Conditioning
  • Not all of our behaviors come from associations.
  • We also learn from the consequences of our behavior.
  • We operate on the environment andwhat happens AFTER we do something influences whether we do it again or not.
law of effect
Law of Effect
  • Behaviors which lead to satisfying consequences will be strengthenedand are likely to be repeated,
  • whereas behaviors that lead to unsatisfying consequences will be weakened and are less likely to occur again.
Our environment is filled with consequences.
    • If I walk into the wall, it will hurt, and I am not likely to do it again.
  • Behavior produces consequences.
    • Your behavior on the job will have the consequence of getting paid or getting fired
    • Students’ behavior at school will have the consequence of passing or failing
  • Reinforcement is the most important consequence.
  • Definition of Reinforcement: Any consequence that increases the probability of a behavior occurring.
  • What is reinforcing to one is not necessarily to another.
    • Listening to a type of music.
    • Playing football
    • Entertaining a group
**Don’t call it “reward.” The only way we know is if the behavior increases.
  • *Case study - vomiting
  • *Activity
when training a new behavior
When training a new behavior


1) Timing of the reinforcement (needs to be immediately after the behavior.)

2) Continuous. Reinforce every single time the behavior occurs (in the beginning – you can space it out more later.)

3) What we use as a positive reinforcer must be reinforcing.

Some reinforcers are learned - some are naturally reinforcing.
  • *Primary Reinforcers - naturally reinforcing and do not have to be acquired through learning: Food, water, warmth, air
  • *Secondary Reinforcers - learned reinforcers (by associating them with primary reinforcers): money, grades, prizes, applause.
positive reinforcement
Positive Reinforcement
  • Something (stimulus) is presented following a behavior, & the behavior increases.
  • A behavior occurs. Then something follows it. And then the behavior increases.
positive feedback praise
Positive Feedback (Praise)
  • A powerful strategy for increasing positive behaviors
  • Teacher decides when and how to use
  • Guidelines:
    • Be specific for the positive behavior.
    • Comment should focus on what the student did RIGHT.
    • Include EXACTLY what part of the behavior is acceptable.
positive feedback praise guidelines continued
Positive Feedback (Praise) Guidelines (continued)
  • Clearly communicates what behavior meets with approval.
  • Should be given immediately.
  • What you say should vary.
  • Not too frequently or without reason.
  • Be sincere and genuine.
  • Be consistent.
  • Be developmentally appropriate.
why positive feedback works
Why Positive Feedback Works
  • Readily available as reinforcement
  • Can be administered immediately after the desired behavior.
  • Can be used repeatedly.
  • May be used in combination with other strategies to increase behaviors.
  • Can be tailored to a variety of behaviors by being specific about the activity.
  • Works if the relationship between the student and the person giving the feedback is a positive relationship.
Shaping: The method of reinforcing successive approximations of the target behavior
  • What if you never do what I want you to do? I’ll reinforce the closest thing to it that you DO now and then reinforce further actions toward it.
  • Shaping Demonstration
examples of shaping
Examples of Shaping
  • Shape eating with silverware.
  • Shape cleaning up classroom.
  • Shape sitting in seat.
  • Shape finishing task.
  • If reinforcement stops coming after the behavior, the behavior will gradually weaken and disappear.

If you stop giving attention for “calling out,” (and attention was what was keeping it there), “calling out” will weaken and disappear.

Planned Ignoring (Extinction)
    • When the inappropriate behavior is unintentional or not likely to recur
    • When the goal is to gain teacher or para attention
    • When you want a behavior to DECREASE
Do NOT ignore when
    • There is physical danger to you, others or the child
    • A student severely disrupts the classroom
    • There are violations of classroom rules or school policy
    • Other students are providing attention
  • Spontaneous Recovery:

Recurrence of the behavior - after rest or not being in that situation - following extinction.

schedules of reinforcement


(Every response is reinforced)

Interval (Time)

Fixed Variable



(Not all responses are


Ratio (# of responses)

Fixed Variable

Schedules of Reinforcement
five basic schedules of reinforcement
Five Basic Schedules of Reinforcement
  • Continuous
  • Fixed-interval
  • Variable-interval
  • Fixed-ratio
  • Variable-ratio
Fixed Interval - The first response that occurs after a predetermined period of time - is reinforced.
  • Paycheck every month.
  • Members of Congress - visiting with the voters in their districts. 2 years between elections almost up when they make visits home. Visits --> votes (reinforcement)
Variable Interval - The 1st response made after a variable amount of time is reinforced. (Never knows when.)
  • Fishing – throw line in and wait.
Fixed Ratio - Reinforcement occurs after a specified # of responses.

*Piecework - bonus for every 100


*Paid after every 10 yards mowed.

Student gets a point after working 10


  • (High rate of responding.)
Variable Ratio - Reinforcement occurs after a varying # of responses have been made.

*Slot machines.

  • Highest rate of responding
revisiting extinction or planned ignoring the problem with it
Revisiting Extinction (or Planned Ignoring) – The Problem With It
  • Once you start ignoring a behavior – if you give in, even once, you put that behavior on a variable ratio schedule of reinforcement!
  • The behavior will then be much more resistant to extinction, and will be very difficult to eliminate.
non verbal social approval
Non-Verbal Social Approval
  • Nods
  • Smiles
  • “Thumbs up” sign
  • Pat on the back
  • “High five”
  • Administer as soon as possible following the appropriate behavior.
rules and instructions as a means of increasing positive behaviors
Rules and Instructions as a Means of Increasing Positive Behaviors
  • Provide a guideline for what behaviors are appropriate.
  • Clearly stated instructions or posted rules – enhance communication about expected behavior.
  • Can be used with other strategies – like positive feedback.
  • Restating the rules or instructions right before an activity will remind or cue the students about what is expected.
    • Demonstration to make the expectation more clear
  • Build a positive relationship with the student
    • Invest time – to get to know them.
    • A positive relationship sets the ground work for all other strategies
    • Students are more likely to listen and respond to rules and requests if they know their interactions with the paraprofessional or teacher will be positive.
ways to be positive
Ways to be positive
  • Demonstrate to students their importance
    • Learn their names
    • Actively listen to them
    • Remember things said by them
  • Praise continuation of appropriate behaviors
  • Show interest in helping students
  • Explain reasons for having rules
  • Encourage students to participate in activities
Students respond better to adults who take a personal interest in them.
  • Develop positive relationships with all students
  • Make sure the ratio between positive and negative experiences for students is about 5 positives for every negative.
provide cues to students
Provide Cues to Students
  • Nonverbal
    • Eye contact
    • Physical gestures (raising your hand in silence)
    • Tapping or snapping your fingers
    • Coughing or clearing your throat
    • Facial expressions (smile)
    • Body postures (tilting your head)
  • More formal ones – that require training – usually during the first week of school.
    • Dimming or shutting off lights as a signal to be silent
    • Verbally reminding the class of the procedures to follow.
proximity control
Proximity Control
  • A tactic you’ve used frequently
    • Standing near a student who is experiencing difficulty
    • Moving around the room helps students stay on task because of your “proximity” to them.
    • The students know you’re aware of what’s going on – and “with it.”
proximity control continued
Proximity Control (Continued)
  • Helps the teacher to continue without interrupting the lesson or flow of the activity
  • Keep in mind – don’t reinforce the inappropriate behavior or call attention to the student
ways to help students want to
Ways to Help Students “Want to…”
  • Relate the material to their life experiences
  • Demonstrate an active interest in that child.
  • Demonstrate an active interest in the child’s activity or work.
  • Use lots of words and body language that support and give positive feedback to the student.
help students get back on task
Help Students Get Back on Task
  • Solving the problem with the student
  • Reviewing the directions
  • Providing another example or demonstrating
  • Supplying them the correct answer as a model
  • Behavior Management – an opportunity for TEACHING, not an opportunity for punishment.
  • Consider the impact on the students’ best interests.
  • Avoid embarrassing students.
  • Suggestions should be constructive.
  • Constructive suggestions should occur in private.
considerations continued
Considerations (Continued)
  • Never engage in a power struggle. Strive for win/win.
  • Thank students when they are trying to improve.
  • DO NOT touch a student when s/he is upset.
  • Keep teachers informed.
  • Documentation should be objective and free of emotion.
behavior management plans
Behavior Management Plans
  • Written document
    • Describes the behavior to be changed
    • Describes strategies or interventions regarding the target behavior
    • Includes a recording system
    • Developed by teacher or school team.
    • Sometimes includes paraprofessional’s input
behavior management plans cont
Behavior Management Plans (Cont.)
  • Assists the teacher and paraprofessional to proactively and effectively deal with behavior.
  • Communicates behavioral expectations and consequences for achieving the goal.
  • Helps paraprofessionals and teachers remain consistent.
  • Students in Ms. Withit’s 7th grade language arts class frequently ask questions during independent seat work without waiting their turn or raising their hands. More than one student is often speaking at once and students yell the teacher’s name to get help.
  • For three days, Ms. Withit and her paraprofessional counted and recorded the number of times students asked for assistance without raising their hands.
For the three day period, the average number of times was 15 per class. Hands were raised only an average of 5 times.
  • The teacher has decided that this is disruptive and that the first step in dealing with the problem is to create a plan which will increase the number of times that students raise their hands to request assistance.
sample behavior management plan
Sample Behavior Management Plan
  • Date of Plan: January 26, 2003
  • Class: 7th Grade Language Arts
  • Period: 5th, 11:20 a.m. – 12:10 p.m.
  • Starting Date: February 1, 2003
  • Ending Date: February 5, 2003
  • Objective
    • Students in the class will increase the number of times they raise their hands to indicate that they need assistance during independent seat work to at least 20 times per 50 minute class period.
Target Behavior
    • Raising hand before requesting assistance.
  • Activities
    • At the beginning of class on Monday the teacher will remind students that the teacher and paraprofessional will no longer provide assistance during seatwork unless students have first raised their hand to signal that they need help.
    • Watch all students for the target behavior (who raise their hand before requesting assistance and how often.)
Record the behavior on the tally sheet attached below.
  • Acknowledge that you’ve seen their hand raised.
  • When a student raises his/her hand, call on him/her as soon as possible.
  • Thank them for raising their hand and provide praise.
  • Provide assistance.
  • Ignore those students who call out without raising their hands.
Reinforcement procedures
    • The teacher will use verbal praise immediately following hand raising.
    • When students ask questions without raising their hand or waiting to be acknowledged they will be ignored.
  • Materials needed
    • Class Performance Chart with student names and target behavior.
Recording procedures
    • Using the tally sheet below, record the number of times that students raise their hands to request assistance during language arts class.
class performance chart
Class Performance Chart

Place a mark in the appropriate box for each time a student raises hand to indicate they need assistance. Repeat recording each day for one week.

summary of guidelines regarding paraprofessionals responsibilities regarding behavior plans
Summary of Guidelines Regarding Paraprofessionals’ Responsibilities Regarding Behavior Plans
  • Remember: The primary concern is to provide the BEST educational opportunities for students and teaching them new skills.
  • The teacher provides the plan or approach.
  • Any behavior concerns outside the plan will be referred to the teacher.
summary of guidelines regarding paraprofessionals responsibilities regarding behavior plans cont
Summary of Guidelines Regarding Paraprofessionals’ Responsibilities Regarding Behavior Plans (Cont.)
  • CONSISTENCY in following the strategies is critical.
  • It is also important to systematically gather information about behavior in order to plan and develop effective strategies for teaching positive behaviors.

A stimulus or event occurs following a behavior, and the behavior decreases.

  • Presentation of something unpleasant.
  • Removal of positive reinforcement
    • Time Out (from reinforcement)
    • Response Cost (a fine – take away positive reinforcement already earned.)
problems with punishment
Problems With Punishment
  • Onset/Offset Problem:
    • The behavior that gets punished will decrease, but whatever behaviors are occurring when the punishment ends – will increase because it will be perceived that those behaviors are what caused the punishment to END.
more problems with punishment
More Problems with Punishment
  • Doesn’t weaken the tendency to respond; just temporarily suppresses.
  • Can generalize - similar situations
  • Or - Behavior might be suppressed only in the presence of the punisher.
  • Sometimes backfires – and the behavior increases due to the attention it’s getting
If punished intermittently, may cause indecisiveness.
  • If no alternatives are available (and reinforced), may become withdrawn.
  • Punisher - negatively reinforced
  • Punisher becomes a “Conditioned Aversive Stimulus” and the relationship can be damaged.
  • Can cause anger and reduce cooperation and spark resistance and defiance
more problems with punishment1
More Problems With Punishment
  • Students’ self-esteem can suffer if the only attention they are receiving is in the form of punishment.
  • Learned helplessness – “I can’t do anything right.”
  • Can discourage both unacceptable AND acceptable behaviors.
  • Discourages students from taking social risks.
*Alternatives to punishment:
    • Extinction
    • DRO
    • DRL
    • DRA
    • DRI
dealing with escalating behavior

Dealing With Escalating Behavior

Source: Sprague J., Walker H., Colvin G., and Ramsey E.

dealing with escalating behavior1
Dealing With Escalating Behavior
  • Objectives:
    • Identify common assumptions that get school personnel into power struggles.
    • Learn procedures to de-escalate behaviors.
dealing with escalating behavior2
Dealing With Escalating Behavior
  • Assumptions
    • I can’t let a student get away with this.
    • I need to establish authority.
    • I need to get him settled down.
    • I need to be in control.
signs of escalating behavior
Signs of Escalating Behavior
  • Questioning and arguing
  • Noncompliance and defiance
  • Verbal abuse
  • Disruption
  • Bothering others
  • Destruction of property
more signs of escalating behavior
More Signs of Escalating Behavior
  • Whining and crying
  • Limit testing
  • Threats and intimidation
  • Avoidance/escape
  • Off-task behavior
preventing escalating behavior
Preventing Escalating Behavior
  • Recognize the behavioral signs for escalation
  • Avoid escalating responses
  • Maintain calmness, respect, and detachment
  • Use crisis prevention techniques.
phases of escalating behavior
Phases of Escalating Behavior

















Source: Walker H., Colvin G., & Ramsey E., 1995

phases of escalating behavior one
Phases of Escalating Behavior - One

Phase One: CALM

1. On task

2. Follows rules & expectations

3. Responsive to praise

4. Initiates behavior

5. Goal Oriented

6. Socially appropriate

phases of escalating behavior phase two triggers

1. Conflicts

a. Denial of something they need

b. Something negative is inflicted

2. Changes in Routine

3. Provocations

4. Pressure

5. Interruptions

6. Ineffective problem solving

7. Errors

8. Corrections


1. Dysfunctional families

2. Health Problems

3. Abuse

4. Nutrition

5. Sleep

6. Substance abuse

7. “Drug babies”

8. Gangs

Phases of Escalating Behavior - Phase Two:TRIGGERS
phases of escalating behavior phase three agitation
Increase in Behavior

1. Eyes dart

2. Language non- conversational

3. Busy hands

4. In and out of group

5. Off-task / On-task

Decrease in Behavior

1. Stares into space

2. Language subdued

3. Hands contained

4. Withdraws from group

5. Off-task, “Frozen”

Phases of Escalating Behavior Phase Three:AGITATION
phases of escalating behavior phase four acceleration
1. Questioning & Arguing

2. Non-compliance & defiance

3. Off-task

4. Provoking students

5. Compliance with accompanying inappropriate behaviors

6. Criterion problems

7. Whining & crying

8. Avoidance & escape

9. Threats and intimidation

10. Verbal abuse

Phases of Escalating Behavior Phase Four :ACCELERATION
phases of escalating behavior phase five peak
1. Serious destruction of property

2. Assault

3. Self-abuse

4. Severe tantrums

5. Hyperventilation

6. Screaming

7. Running

8. Violence

Phases of Escalating Behavior Phase Five:PEAK
phases of escalating behavior phase six de escalation
1. Confusion

2. Reconciliation

3. Withdrawal

4. Denial

5. Blaming others

6. Sleeping

7. Responsive to directions

8. Responsive to manipulative or mechanical tasks

9. Avoidance of discussion(unless there is occasion to blame others)

Phases of Escalating Behavior Phase Six :DE-ESCALATION
avoid escalating responses
Avoid Escalating Responses

 Getting in the student’s face

 Discrediting student

 Nagging or preaching

 Arguing

 Engaging in power struggles

 Tugging or grabbing the student

 Cornering the student

 Shouting or raising voice

techniques for managing agitation
Teacher Support



Preferred Activities

Teacher Proximity

Independent Activities

Movement Activities

Involvement of the Student

Relaxation Activities

Techniques for Managing Agitation
prevention is good but what do you do when the behavior occurs1
Prevention is Good, But What Do You Do When the Behavior Occurs
  • Reactive Strategies – Positive
    • (Too many people who are restraint dependent and time-out dependent)
    • No one wants a crisis – best emergency management is just don’t have one!
    • Traditional management – to punish
    • First you have to know WHY they are doing it (FA)
    • And what are the cues and conditions under which the behavior occurs?
If you know the antecedents, you know what NOT to do.
    • The behavior never occurs with this person…Ask the person: What do you do? (I just give him his space…etc.)
    • Should be built into the program.
    • Survive with dignity
    • Don’t make it worse.
    • If you have good antecedent strategies – good prevention, and good teaching, then reactively you can do whatever you want.
When he pushes his work away, say “Do you need help?”
  • When he puts his head down, say “You look like you need a break.”
    • We have designed activities he can understand; we have a nonaversive classroom; we are reinforcing him for participating and for completing, and for not stripping naked. All of the treatment is there. So we can let him take a break.
THEN build it in that the activity is SO reinforcing that he won’t WANT to take a break.
  • So GIVE him attention; GIVE him a hug; we are not worried because we have a good treatment plan.
let s get real
Let’s Get Real
  • So often, we try to create programs for kids that WE wouldn’t be able to do.
    • Imagine that you are sitting in a parking lot. Someone walks up to you, points a gun, and says “Give me the car.” …….You COULD say “I’m not going to reinforce that behavior….”
Remember Rodney King? – Speeding, chased by police. Didn’t stop. Finally trapped. Gets out of car – big – but no gun, no bat, no knife. All saw on video – beating by police. What else could have been done?
traditional reactions to challenging behavior
Traditional Reactions to Challenging Behavior
  • Wash mouth out with soap
  • Write 500 times “I will not….”
  • Clean up the mess!
  • Wash the wall!
  • Wash all of the walls!
  • If he refuses, MAKE him do it.
  • Take a lap!
  • Loud “NO!”
  • Time-Out
  • Go to your room!
  • Go to bed early!
  • You lose 5 points! (or worm, or apple, etc.)
  • You’re grounded for life
  • Go to the principal’s office!
  • Systematic exclusion
  • No recess
  • Stay after school
traditional reactions to challenging behavior1
Traditional Reactions to Challenging Behavior
  • Punishment by delivery – Type 1
  • Punishment by withdrawal – Type 2
  • Natural Consequences
  • Logical Consequences


  • Results in movement to the next stage of crisis
reasons for avoiding traditional consequences
Reasons for Avoiding Traditional Consequences
  • Punishment / discipline
  • Legal and administrative reasons
  • Danger of elicited aggression
  • Danger of “thoughtful” aggression
  • Lack of social validity
antecedent control strategies
Antecedent Control Strategies
  • The Best Emergency Management is NOT to have an emergency in the first place.
    • What can we do?
    • Remove seductive objects
      • Fidgety Phil gets into everything
      • Lock the gate because Ted runs
Lock your purse – Sandra steals
  • Don’t take Alan to the store – he has Pica
  • Don’t give Ralph coins – he puts them in his mouth
  • Don’t leave food out – Karen has an eating disorder
  • Don’t leave sweets out – John has diabetes
  • He got in my purse again! (Why again?)
Joe has ADHD and you have thousands of knick knacks out – and they are worth a lot. (Many have problems with impulse control – or no brakes.)
  • Child-proof – and then when he’s learned – can bring them back out again.
  • Kid who hates women (or men)
  • Kid and teacher have personality clash – and clash...
Remove unnecessary demands and requests
    • “Set the table”  turning over the table.
    • “Take out the trash”  yelling and screaming
    • “Do this puzzle”  biting the teacher
  • Shape participation
Eliminate the provocative statements and actions
    • Profanity when criticized in front of peers
    • “You are noncompliant.”
    • “You have just lost all your privileges.”
    • “Hurry, hurry, hurry” (pushing and prodding)
    • Hands on -  leads to assault
    • Child mumbles something and you say, “What was that you said!!?? What did you say??!!”
Change the timing and location of activities
    • Slow to awaken from nap – awaken gradually with music.
    • PE in afternoon – not first period
    • Don’t ask them to clean up during their favorite movie
    • Don’t interrupt ongoing activity (respect)
    • Change appointment – schedule
  • Maybe can’t prevent all episodes, but many.
interrupt the behavioral chain
Interrupt the Behavioral Chain
  • Don’t interrupt me.
  • You made me lose my train of thought.
  • What was I saying?
  • Think of a tantrum
    • What does it look like?
    • Think about it as a number of response chains.
    • Think of the “task analysis” of the tantrum
    • Slow motion – or turning on and off a VCR.
Behaviors have little spaces between them.
  • One behavior serves as a cue for the next.
  • What I do right now reinforces the previous.
  • Can you do something to INTERRUPT the chain of events?
  • Lots of ways to intrude on that chain.
facilitative strategies
Facilitative Strategies
  • Designed to help the person solve the problem and regain control
    • Active listening - Reflect the message:
      • You seem to be upset
      • You want to leave.
      • You don’t like …
      • Your ____ seems to be hurting you.
Facilitating Communication in Other Ways
    • Determine the nature of the problem.
      • What do you want?
      • Do you have a problem?
      • Do you need help?
      • What’s wrong?
      • Can you show me where it hurts?
    • Non-directive listening
    • Understanding presence
Facilitate relaxation
    • Acknowledge the person is upset
    • Instruction in relaxation
    • Model relaxation position and movement
    • Move to quiet place
    • Decrease volume and slow movements
Help solve the problem.
    • This is the way to do it.
    • Have you tried this way?
    • Prompt the solution.
    • Use words like “calm down,” “chill out,” when teaching to relax.
    • Then – when escalating – use the same words and THAT ITSELF will help them calm down.
Identify his favorite music – divert him to it. Turn it on. Then teach HIM to do that when he’s upset. “When you’re upset, put on your music.”
  • Set up a “Time-In” location – a place that has nice soft furniture, low lighting, very comfortable.
  • Teach him that it’s the place to go and relax.
  • Then when escalating – say, “Let’s go relax.”
Help him solve the problem.
    • You know you have someone who can tie his shoe. Today he asks for help to do it.
    • Imagine you are on your way to an appointment. You lost your keys. You’re walking around – who took my keys? Can’t find them – late – upset.
Train and build in reinforcement for independence, but at that moment, solve the problem – right thing to do.
redirection and instructional control
Redirection and Instructional Control
  • Redirect to competing activities
  • Run an errand
  • Ask entire class to name three favorite things and call on student with the problem first
  • Ask entire class to stand up and take a deep breath.
  • “Check this and see if it’s ok.”
Ask student to collect the classwork.
  • 2 children starting to escalate – “Excuse me, would you run this here – and you – would you do this over here?”
    • Or give directions to the entire group:
      • Put your pencils down, everyone take a deep breath, now let it out, do it again. You just needed a little relaxation. (The two who were escalating followed along and that intruded on the escalation.)
Look for directions they can’t help but follow – again, to interrupt.
    • Friend’s daughter – major tantrum. Loved ice cream. I’m going to Baskin-Robins, I’ll meet you in the car. She loves good ice cream. Can’t help but do it.
    • Upset – think of their favorite thing – go up and say Let’s go do it. In many cases, they will. But make sure that event is available outside of the emergency.
“Help me” instructions
    • Run this paper to the office for me.
    • Help me take out the trash.
    • Collect the papers for me. Or – I dropped my papers and I need your help. (Columbo)
  • Teach him to use an escape card that says I want to take a break. (or is red…) (Before, he was spitting at you to send the same message.) Now – “You look like you need to take a break.” – Prompt with card.
Proximity control
    • Closeness may influence behavior
    • But for some, it will help if you move away.
    • If you can see it in their eyes, sometimes it helps not to ask them to do the task.
Inject humor
    • Humor may interfere with anxiety/ anger.
    • Laughter may release endorphins which may give a feeling of well-being
    • Underused coping strategy
    • A look or gesture
    • Tickling
    • VERY difficult to be angry and laugh at the same time.
creative behavior management
Creative Behavior Management
  • Stare into the air
  • Swat flies
  • I forgot my ____
  • Hold this for me.

Creative Behavior Management

  • Look at ______!
  • Dropped my contacts!
  • Drop all your change
  • Knock over something
  • Talk to yourself
  • Feign a heart attack
  • Coughing attack

Creative Behavior Management

  • Do something completely out of context:
    • Scream “They’re stealing my car!” – and go running out the door, slamming it.
    • Escalating and about to hit you – “Oh, my gosh, I forgot to mail my taxes!” – Might be enough time to get you away.
stimulus change guidelines
Stimulus Change: Guidelines
  • Dramatic stimulus
  • Short-lived effect
  • Problems with repeated use
  • Change routine
    • May just give you a minute to get away, but may actually get him to stop.
physical management
Physical Management
  • The last thing you ever want to consider.
  • Geographical containment – strategic use of the environment
    • Get behind a table
    • Clutter the environment – furniture, etc.
    • Couch cushions
    • Position yourself between him and door.
is physical intervention necessary
Is physical intervention necessary?
  • Most can be avoided.
  • Reasons to minimize physical methods:
    • People get hurt
    • People have died
    • Bad feelings
    • Elicited aggression
    • Traumatizing to experience, and to watch
Whenever you put your hands on people, someone gets hurt.
  • Probably over 100 a year die.
  • Truly a danger. Should be last resort.
    • When there’s nothing to do that’s for fun, there is a greater likelihood of challenging behaviors.
    • Need noncontingent fun – throughout the day.
other things to do
Other things to do:
  • Show respect; patience.
  • Keep your word.
  • If you mess up, apologize.
  • Positive interactions
  • Time to just visit
competency eight
Competency Eight

Paraprofessionals should expect to be able to:

  • Define behavior in observable, measurable terms
  • Use systematic procedures for observing and recording behavior including:
    • frequency - anecdotal records
    • duration - interval recording
    • time sampling


competency eight continued
Competency Eight (Continued)
  • Chart results of behavior observation using graphs
purposes of data collection behavior observation
Purposes of Data Collection & Behavior Observation
  • Supporting classroom instruction
  • Providing feedback & reinforcement to students
  • Summarizing & reporting student progress
  • Supporting diagnosis & verification of disabilities
observation techniques used must
Observation techniques used must…
  • contain enough information to be useful


  • not be so complicated that it interferes with the observation.
observable behavior
Observable Behavior
  • Noted through one of the senses
  • Usually described by action words
  • Does not include feelings or intentions which are inferred from other behaviors

- aggressive - excited

- angry - lazy

- happy

measurable behavior
Measurable Behavior
  • Must first be observable
  • Must be able to clearly determine whether the behavior is occurring
  • Must be able to count the occurrences of the behavior and/or time the duration of the behavior
  • Must be able to tell when the behavior begins and ends
  • Bobby talks to other students when the teacher is talking to the class
  • Both observable & measurable
    • Hear & see Bobby talking
    • Can count the number of times Bobby talks or time the length that he spends talking
  • Bobby has a poor attitude toward school.
    • Not possible to determine exactly what Bobby is thinking
observation techniques1
Observation Techniques
  • Frequency
  • Duration
  • Interval recording
  • Time sampling
  • Anecdotal records
the supervising teacher
The supervising teacher….
  • Identifies and defines the behavior to be observed
  • Determines where the observation takes place
  • Determines when the observation will take place
  • Determines the observation technique to be used
  • A record of the number of times a specific behavior occurs within a specific time period
  • Useful for recording behaviors
    • With a clear beginning and ending
    • Of relatively short duration
    • That tend to occur a number of times during the specified time period
frequency components
Frequency Components
  • A specific time period
  • A specific behavior
  • A method for tallying the number of events
frequency count examples
Frequency Count - Examples
  • Number of math problems completed within 15 minutes
  • Number of times a preschooler talks to a peer
  • Number of times student raises hand during a 10-minute class discussion
  • Number of times student asks for help
frequency count not used for
Frequency count NOT used for…..
  • Behaviors occurring at a high rate (ex. Tapping pencil on desk)
  • Behaviors occurring for an extended period of time (ex. student sucking thumb)
duration recording
Duration Recording
  • Used when we want to know how long a behavior lasts
duration examples
Duration - Examples
  • Crying/screaming
  • How long a student takes to complete a math assignment
  • How long a student continuously taps pencil on desk
  • How long student takes to clean up play/work area
  • Record the starting and ending time of a behavior
  • Compute the length of time the behavior occurs
  • Usually used to observe behaviors which occur less frequently and continue for a period of time
interval recording
Interval Recording
  • Measures whether or not a behavior occurs within a specific time interval.
  • Total observation time is divided into smaller intervals, & observer records whether or not behavior occurs within that interval
interval recording1
Interval Recording…
  • Get an estimate of both the frequency and duration of the behavior
  • Mark only once whether the behavior occurred at any time within the interval
  • Requires observer’s undivided attention since observation is continuous for set period of time (interval)
interval recording examples
Interval Recording - examples
  • Child who throws toys during free time
  • Student who talks to other students around them during work time
  • Amount of socializing student does during recess
interval recording2
Interval Recording
  • Will work for any behavior that can be observed.
  • Must observe throughout the interval
time sampling
Time Sampling
  • Similar to interval recording in that the observation time is divided into intervals
  • Behavior is recorded only if it occurs at the end of the time period
  • Generally used for behaviors of longer duration
time sampling1
Time Sampling…
  • May be done intermittently rather than continuously
  • NOT used with behavior of short duration such as hitting, spitting, or kicking
time sampling examples
Time Sampling - examples
  • reading a book
  • thumb sucking
  • participating in game during recess
  • working on an assignment
anecdotal notes
Anecdotal Notes
  • Anecdotal notes are written notes describing events or incidents that occur. These notes usually become part of a student’s file.
  • Paraprofessional may be asked to complete anecdotal report if an incident occurs when they are with student.
anecdotal records might document
Anecdotal records might document:
  • Significant event which occurs unexpectedly or infrequently
  • Settings or conditions in which behavior occurred
  • Antecedents & consequences of problem behavior
  • Conversation with parents
anecdotal record guidelines
Anecdotal Record Guidelines
  • Record behavior immediately
  • Use standardized anecdotal record form to make sure all relevant information is included
  • Record what is actually observed rather than your feelings about the incident
  • Use performance terms to describe the behavior
anecdotal record guidelines continued
Anecdotal Record Guidelines - continued
  • Be careful about including information about other students (by name) in the record
  • Be aware that parents & other professionals will have access to the record
anecdotal records what should be included
Anecdotal Records – what should be included?
  • Name of the observer
  • Date of the incident
  • Time when incident occurred
  • Name of student involved
  • Description of the incident
  • Location/setting where the incident occurred
  • Notes/recommendations/actions taken
  • signature
why chart
Why Chart?
  • Makes it easier & quicker to review data
  • Easy to see changes in student behavior or performance
  • Beneficial in providing information and feedback to students and parents
charting frequency data graphs
Charting Frequency Data - Graphs
  • Graphs have a vertical axis and a horizontal axis
    • Vertical axis – record frequency of the behavior observed
    • Horizontal axis – indicates observation period on which the frequency data was recorded
  • Precisely describe behavior to be observed & discuss examples with teacher before you record.
  • Prepare recording technique ahead of time & make sure you are familiar with the form and the method for recording.
  • Carefully observe time limits and intervals used in the recording.
summary continued
Summary (continued)
  • Prepare so that you need to make the fewest judgments while recording.
  • Example – student touching other students
    • Record all touches whether gentle or hard
    • If unsure whether behavior fits criteria, refine criteria with teacher so that it is observable & measurable
Competency Nine

Paraprofessionals will display an understanding of the role of confidentiality and how it relates to behavior management and discipline of students with disabilities.

    • Can’t share information about a student
      • Posting in the hallways
      • Talk in the teachers’ lounge
      • Home
      • In the store
    • Be very careful to practice confidentiality.