Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) for Students with ASD - West Palm Beach Autism & Education | Examiner.com

Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) for Students with ASD - West Palm Beach Autism & Education | Examiner.com

It is hard to get districts to do this in the right way.  I know that Lee's Summit rarely does and it is not in accordance with proven guidelines.

The problem behaviors of children with autism spectrum disorder
(ASD) are among the most challenging and stressful issues faced by
schools and parents. The current best practice in addressing and
preventing undesirable or challenging behaviors utilizes the principles
and practices of positive behavior intervention and support (PBIS). PBIS
is not a specific intervention per se, but rather a set of
research-based strategies that are intended to decrease problem
behaviors by designing effective environments and teaching students the
appropriate social and communication skills needed to achieve social,
emotional and academic success. The objective of PBIS is to decrease
potentially problematic behavior by making environmental changes and
teaching new skills rather than focusing directly on eliminating the
problem behavior. Functional behavior assessment (FBA) is an essential
component of PBIS that helps determine the events that influence and
maintain challenging behavior.
An FBA is necessary when students exhibit serious or dangerous
challenging behavior or behaviors that persist over time. While FBA
assists with complicated challenging behaviors, teachers may also
prevent the possibility of challenging and disruptive behavior through
the implementation of PBIS strategies in the classroom.

Other than families, teachers are the most influential resource for
students with and without disabilities. Effective prevention of
challenging social behavior can be addressed through arranging the
classroom environment and/or by adapting instruction and the curriculum.
Changing the classroom environment or instruction may lessen the
triggers or events that set off the challenging behavior. Teaching
effective social interaction and communication as replacements for
challenging behavior is also a preventive strategy for improving little
used student social interaction and communication skills. Teachers can
model, demonstrate, coach, or role-play the appropriate interaction
skills. They can teach students to ask for help during difficult
activities or negotiate alternative times to finish work. Encouraging
positive social interactions such as conversational skills will help
students with challenging behavior to effectively obtain positive peer
attention. The following are examples of PBIS strategies for improving
social skills and prosocial behaviors in the classroom (Vaughn,
Duchnowski, Sheffield, & Kutash, 2005; Wilkinson, 2010).

Initiating interactions. Teachers might notice that
when a student with ASD enters the classroom, group activity, or other
social interaction, he or she may have particular difficulty greeting
others students or starting a conversation. For example, they may joke,
call another student a name, laugh, or say something inappropriate. In
this situation, the student may have trouble ini­tiating interactions or
conversations. The teacher might talk to the student individually and
offer suggestions for ways he or she can provide an appropriate greeting
or introduce a topic of conversation. The student might then be asked
to practice or role-play the desired behavior.

Example: “why don’t you ask students what they
did last night, tell them about a TV show you watched, or ask if they
finished their homework, rather than shouting or saying ‘Hey, Stupid.’
Other students in the class want to be your friend, but you make it
difficult for them to talk with you. Let’s practice the next time the
class begins a new group activity.”

Maintaining interactions. Many students with ASD
struggle to maintain a conversation (e.g.., turn taking). Some may
dominate the conversation and make others feel that they have nothing to
contribute, while other students may experience difficulty keeping up
with the flow of conversation and asking questions. Students may also
have lim­ited topics of interest and discuss these topics repetitively.

Example: “I’ve noticed that other students
cannot share their thoughts and ideas with you when you start a
conversation because you do all the talking. It may seem to them that
you don’t care what they have to say. Other students will be more
willing to talk if you stop once you’ve stated your idea or opinion and
allow them a turn to talk. When you stop, they know you are listening.
You can say to them, “What do you think?” or “Has this ever happened to

Terminating interactions. Some students with ASD may
not know how to appropriately end a conversation. They may abruptly
walk away, start talking with another student, or bluntly tell a student
they don’t know what they’re talking about. Other students may
interpret this as rude and impolite behavior. Teachers might point out
to the student some ac­ceptable ways of ending a conversation.

Example: “You just walked away from that student
when they were talking. Rather than walk away, you might say “‘I have
to go now,’ ‘It’s time for my next class,’ ‘Or ‘I’ll see you later and
we can finish our talk.’”

Recognizing body language. The recognition of body
language or nonverbal cues is critical to suc­cessful social
interactions. Students with ASD typically have difficulty interpreting
these cues from teachers or other students. Body language tells students
when they violate a person’s personal space, a person needs to leave,
or they need to change behavior. Teachers can incorporate these skills
into their class time or school day.

Example: Before leaving the classroom,
demonstrate nonverbal cues by holding a finger to your lips and telling
students that means “quiet,” a hand held up with palm fac­ing outward
means “wait” or “stop,” and both hands pushing downward means “slow
down.” You may need to demonstrate facial expressions you use to
“deliver messages” and what they mean. Other students can demonstrate
nonverbal cues they use. When students move through the halls, you may
want to teach them the “arms length” rule for personal space.

Transitions. Many students with ASD have significant
problems changing from one activity to the next or moving from one
location to another. They may be easily upset by abrupt changes in
routine and unable to estimate how much time is left to finish an
activity and begin the next one. Poor executive function skills such as
disorganization may also prevent them from putting materials away from
the last activity or getting ready for the next activity. They may also
need closure and preparation time for the transition. Problems arise if
the teacher tries to push them to transition at the last minute.

Example: About 10 minutes prior to the
transition, refer to the classroom schedule and announce when the bell
will ring or when the next activity will begin. Provide a 5-minute and
then a 1-minute warning. This countdown helps students finish
assignments or end favorite activities. For students that have
difficulty getting started after a transition, place assign­ment folders
on their desks so that they have their assignments and don’t have to
wait for instructions or materials. They can use the same folder to
submit assignments (the folders can be left on their desks at the end of
the period).

Students with ASD often lack the social skills to communicate and
interact effectively with peers and adults. They may use challenging or
disruptive behavior to communicate their needs. These examples
illustrate how PBIS provides a proactive framework for assessing social
interaction and communication needs and for teaching new, effective
skills that replace the challenging behavior. When used consistently,
these strategies fit within the framework of the classroom and can help
promote positive student behavior.


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