Noncompliance: A Symptom of Difficulty With Transitioning

By Jessica Minahan, M.Ed, BCBA, and contributor to Huffington Post

"Come in from recess. It's time for math."

Simple requests can lead to refusal and perhaps behavior outbursts from students with anxiety. This doesn't mean these students are difficult or can't follow directions.

Transitions are among the most difficult times of the day for some students with anxiety.

Transitions require flexibility and executive functioning skills. In school, students must transition frequently with little support; however, transition difficulties are at the root of many non-compliance incidents. When students "don't stop reading when asked," "never follow directions" or "have to be chased to come in from recess," their noncompliance is symptomatic of a fundamental problem transitioning. We may be asking students to do something they don't have the skills to execute. Teachers can help these students with anxiety handle transitions more successfully so they don't become uncooperative.

There are four components to a transition and it's equally important to support students whether they're having difficulty with one or all of them.

Here's the example: "Come in from recess. It's time for math!"

First: Stop the Initial Activity

Students need support finding a stopping place in activities such as recess. They may need explicit instruction about how to find a stopping place (e.g., stop playing after one more time down the slide) and how to pick an activity that's a good match for the time allotted (e.g., pick a short game when you only have five minutes).

. . . . .

To read the remaining transition steps, visit the Huffington Post: Education website:

#noncompliance #transitioning #anxiety #students #school #activity #anxious #child #learning #flexibility #support

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