Anyone that works with students in special education knows that dealing with different types of behaviors is always part of the job whether you are a teacher or their parent.
Knowing some intervention strategies for dealing with different types of situations and to prevent certain situations can always be helpful in the special education world.
Some students do not get a lot of say in their day. If they are forced to wear an outfit that they do not want to and eat something for breakfast that they did not really like, they could already be having a rough start to their day. When they come to the classroom, if they are demanded to “start your morning work” right when they enter the room, their cup may overflow and a meltdown could occur. It is best to give students choices whenever possible throughout their day to make them feel empowered, even if it is as simple as asking them, “do you want to write your name at the top or bottom of your paper?”
Break Student Work into Small Chunks
Giving students 3 pages of math work could feel overwhelming for some. A tip is to fold the page in half so that the student can only see half of the problems at once. Keep the other 2 math pages face down on the table or save for later work at a different time so as not to overwhelm them all at once.
Have a Visual Schedule and Preview it Often
Having a visual schedule is extremely important for students in special education, especially for students with Autism and students who are non-verbal. Students like to know what is happening at certain times of their day, when they can expect to have breaks, eat lunch and even go home. It is also a nice visual for them to be able to see how many of their tasks that they have completed for the day and how many items are left to complete. Having a visual schedule and showing what is expected of them (even in small chunks) can help students have a more successful day with fewer behavior issues. Parents can implement visual schedules to help with routines at home as well.
Have a Quiet Area for Breaks
Most all of the students in your classroom will need to take a break at some point. Certain students will need a quiet place to sit or lay when they are angry and upset over something. You could use a corner of the room with either mats or carpet on the floor and some calm-down sensory tools to utilize nearby. Setting a timer to signal them to come let you know when they are feeling better can also help.
Preview the Rules and Expectations Consistently
Some students might misbehave because they are impulsive and do not think through the consequences of their misbehavior before they act. It is best to briefly review rules and expectations at certain times of the day, especially before a student may be entering a potentially challenging situation or setting. If the instructor has a rewards system in place, he or she can use that to encourage positive behavior and the behavior that they want to see from that student.
Use Yes Language
How would it feel to be told no all day? It wouldn’t be the greatest feeling. Students are much more empowered to do what parents and educators need them to if they are going to get something that they want in return.
For example, if a student asks, “May I have an M&M?” Instead of saying “No, not right now,” you could choose to answer this way: “Yes you can, after you complete your independent work station.”
Dealing with student behaviors can be difficult and exhausting. Implementing these intervention strategies can help you try to prevent some of these situations with students.