Behavior Plans: Another Type of Teaching Plan
Each week teachers and special educators ask how to respond to a disruptive student. "What should I do when he screams?" "Should I remove her when she cries?" Actually, by the time the student has misbehaved the teacher has very few response options and even fewer opportunities to teach that student.
Behavior plans, which provide students a roadmap to correct conduct, are often misperceived as being nothing more than a response to inappropriate behavior. In fact, 90% of an effective behavior plan consists of ways to prevent undesirable behavior combined with methods for teaching underdeveloped skills. Every student would behave appropriately -- if they could. Because misbehavior is symptomatic of an underlying disability that's intensified by situational triggers, behavior plans should more aptly be thought of as teaching plans.
Setting Up the Student for Success
Teachers routinely make accommodations for students with academic disabilities to ensure they'll perform well and access the curriculum. Students with behavioral problems need that same consideration, but it's sometimes unclear when, where and how to accommodate them. School situations and activities can trigger inappropriate behavior, communicating discomfort or the inability to meet typical school day expectations. When teachers focus on what occurred immediately before a misbehavior incident, they can uncover these triggers -- perhaps competitive games or writing assignments. A behavior plan must outline which preventative accommodations would work best in each situation. These might include structured activities at recess or using a word processor instead of writing. Importantly, these crucial supports prevent inappropriate behavior from occurring in the first place. Prevention should always be the main focus and emphasis of behavior plans.
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