Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
While my high functioning teen was in the brick and mortar school setting for his Elementary school years there was no need for a behavior support plan. The thought never crossed my mind or was mentioned during any of the numerous Individual Education Plan meetings we had over that time period.
With online school the majority of your dealings takes place in web conferences, message boards, email or on the telephone with the teachers or administrators. Once a year every spring students have to go a location to take the State exams. Depending on the grade this will be math, english, science and history. These tests are taken on different days during a one or two week period to accommodate all students.
From the first grade on my son was in a general education setting with some therapies taking place outside of the class or within the classroom. We always had the testing accommodations for small group setting, which meant the library with some other IEP students and extended time.
This followed over into the online school IEPs for the first two years in Middle School, but due to social challenges and lack of comprehension of autism by those at the testing site this was changed to take the test in the normal setting with other students.
I was informed one year that no one at the testing site had knowledge of the disability or reason behind a student taking the test in a small group setting. We opted at the end of the year after an unfortunate incident with a teacher to create a behavior teaching intervention plan, which is also referred to as a PBIB within the online school system.
The main reason for drafting the plan was that this follows the student to the site, giving the proctor of the testing site access to his IEP. The prior year my son was asked if he wanted to take another test instead of coming back the next day. No break was given and parental consent was not granted or even requested. Besides the breakdown in communication there was no adherence to the rules of the state testing. This led to undue stress on my teen son.
The behavior plan lists the strengths, weaknesses, frequency, environmental conditions, possible communicative intent, replacement behavior, objectives, implementation, environmental modifications, teaching plan, reinforcement schedule, reactive strategies, communication and coordination with home and staff.
The current plan states the following:
Strengths - Faced with a stressful situation when in a familiar setting, Nick is able to redirect himself to reading a book, engaging himself in one of his interests.
Weaknesses - When under emotional overload or in stressful situations, Nick can be unaware of social boundaries, common social cues and physical boundaries. Nick requires a thorough explanation of the expectations of him and/or step-by-step directions clearly defined in these situations.
Frequency - During state testing, but may occur again in future stressful situations.
Environmental Conditions - During timed activities, when there is a change in plans without his knowledge or consultation with parent, unfamiliar adults or peers, when alone with an adult and when not prepared to make significant decisions which change his schedule or expectations.
Possible communicative intent - Student is seeking comfort for his stress or worries, may be seeking guidance, reassurance or options.
Replacement Behavior - Given a stressful situation or when Nick is experiencing an emotional overload, he will respond appropriately by self-advocating for his needs and request an explanation of the situation, a movement break or a phone call home 80% of the time in 3 out of 4 trials.
Objectives - Student will correctly identify emotions, will self-advocate for his needs and establish positive relationships with peers and staff.
Environmental Modifications - The staff needs to be aware of the signs of Nick's emotional overload and stress, which are evidenced by his consistent need of physical attention. Student does not respond well to changes in his schedule and is usually not prepared to make those changes/choices for himself. When these behaviors are noticed, staff needs to prompt student in using one of his coping techniques.
Teaching plan - strategies used to shape behavior include verbal prompts.
Reinforcement schedule - verbal praise from staff/learning coach when Student appropriately responds to stressfful/emotionally challenging situations.
Reactive strategies - prompt student verbally, offer one of the coping techniques, contact parent immediately.
Coordination with home - contact parent immediately and debrief.
Coordination with staff - learning coach will provide any information regarding student behavior to the Special Education Teacher within 48 hours via phone or email.
This is how the Special Education Teacher and I put together the behavior plan at the end of the seventh grade for the following school year. We had his ninth grade IEP recently and this was kept the same. It was suggested since he is now in high school that we will have an opportunity to visit the testing site and proctor beforehand to go over the schedule.
In one month we will be visiting a park to take the California Physical Fitness Test for ninth graders.