Q:

The teacher said she was going to have the behavior specialist observe my son and develop a behavior modification plan for him. I need to know more about what this means and what is going to happen. -- Lacking Information

A:

When you don't understand what teachers are talking about, tell them. They are usually happy to explain in detail. If you don't say anything, teachers just assume that you understand.

The idea behind behavior modification is to change behavior. To effect this change, either positive reinforcers (free time, privileges, tokens) or negative reinforcers (no recess, extra assignments) are used. To be effective, reinforcers must be ones students want or would not like to have imposed. The goal is to have the behavior improve over a period of time so reinforcers no longer need to be used.

Your son has a behavioral issue in school that is disturbing in some way. To change it, the behavior specialist will observe your son in the classroom following the steps below:

1. Look for and identify the inappropriate behavior.

2. Observe the child in different settings and assess in which settings the behavior that needs to be eliminated occurs.

3. Write down the specific actions prior to the onset of the behavior, during the behavior and as a consequence of the behavior.

4. Talk to the students and others to assess the behavior indirectly with what they think happens before and after.

5. Take everyone's observations into account when writing the intervention plan.

6. Analyze if the student displays similar or different behavior in various settings.

7. Decide what the student avoids or gets as a result of the behavior.

8. Write an intervention plan addressing the specific behaviors that need to be changed.

9. Select a chart that the teacher will use to keep track of the behaviors and the reinforcers.