A particular behavior exhibited by a student can be explained through three perspectives. The first perspective is that a student behaves a certain way because of the psychological problem while the second perspective is associated with a specific social background that deeply affected the behavior. The third perspective is tied to the events and situations that occur within the school environment (Functional behavior assessments and behavior support plans, n.d.).
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For this reason, conducting a functional behavior assessment is crucial for finding out the cause of the student’s irregular behavior and developing an intervention plan to modify and improve the conduct. This report will focus on the identification and definition of the specific behavior, the collection of information, identification of the behavior’s purpose, and the development of a hypothesis about the behavior. Three Expected Outcome Goals and accompanying interventions will also be included in the report.
Identification and Definition of the Specific Problem Behavior
The behavior of Mark, the student with a disability chosen for this assessment, significantly impedes his and other students’ learning. Teachers, students, and student’s parents have reported that the child cannot interact with others without being aggressive or annoying. Specific behaviors identified within the school environment included being aggressive to students if something does not go the way the boy wanted.
For example, when someone sits at a desk Mark wanted to sit, he begins screaming, verbally threatening, and punching the person that occupied his favorite spot. Another example of improper behavior is when a teacher poses a question that needs to be answered. If a teacher allows other students to answer the posed question, Mark begins interrupting with his answer, mocking other students, and, therefore, causing significant disruption in the learning process.
There is one common theme that can be found in all instances of irregular behavior exhibited by the student – Mark becomes angry and annoyed when his persona is not put in the first place. Thus, the identified target behavior can be formulated as “exhibits threatening behavior, uses verbally abusive language, and does not understand the boundaries of other students’ personal space in situations when his interest, opinion, or wish is not regarded as the most important and valuable.”
Since the student’s behavior brings some major inconvenience to teachers and his peers, as well as to the overall process of learning, the stage of information collection is considered one of the key activities that will present a better understanding of why a child behaves a certain way.
After observing Mark’s behavior in the school environment for one week, a conclusion can be made that other students do not provoke his aggression intentionally. There were no conflicts that resulted in other students being rude, disrespectful, or offensive. It was quite understandable that no one cared for the child and preferred to stay away from him in order not to get attacked. In almost all instances, Mark became aggressive when for example, someone has accidentally taken his pen or unwillingly interrupted him. Moreover, the student was never seen interacting with any friends between classes, which indicated that his behavior was off-putting and threatening to others.
It was decided to monitor the student outside the class to see whether Mark acts differently in a home environment. He lives with his stay-at-home mother and a father that works at two jobs and takes up regular night shifts. Such a family dynamic means that the mother gives all her attention to her child. When the boy is at home, every desire is fulfilled by his mother who wants to avoid aggressive behavior and give him what he wants.
It was observed that the only person that says ‘no’ in the household was the boy himself when he indicated that he didn’t want or need something. It became clear that the child was spoiled with attention from his mother who did all she could to avoid conflict. Therefore, there is a starking contrast between the way Mark behaves at school and his demeanor at home.
Interviews with other students, teachers, and parents have shown different results about the student’s behavior. Mark’s peers indicated that the boy always behaved like a spoiled child that ‘wanted his toys back.’ Students understood that his behavioral problems were associated with his disability and preferred to stay away from the boy as much as they could since conflict would not have brought any results.
Teachers indicated their frustration with the child and complained that he always disrupted the learning process; some of them even stated that ‘normal’ school was not for him. Mark’s father could not attend the interview because of his schedule, which shows that there could be some underlying issues with regards to the father-son relationship. The boy’s mother cried during the interview and stated that she was very tired of her son’s behavior. She indicated that fulfilling Mark’s wishes were the only thing that kept the boy from aggressive behavior. She also told about one instance when her son had intentionally spilled coffee on her white blouse when she had forbidden him to play video games until midnight.
After completing the stage of data collection, the next step is data analysis for determining what precedes the target behavior and what are the consequences. It is also important to identify with what purpose the child exhibits the target behavior. The collected data has shown that the precedent of violent behavior is the action or inaction of the third party that does not account for the interest and the desire of the student. The consequence of the action is the disruption of the learning process in the school environment or serious issues in the home environment. The purpose of the violent behavior is associated with making sure that the third party satisfies the desire of the student.
Hypothesis statement: when someone unintentionally causes an inconvenience to Mark or if his desire is not satisfied, he throws an aggressive fit, interrupts others in their activities, refuses to comply, or uses verbally abusive and derogatory language to focus other’s attention on himself.
Expected Outcome Goals and Accompanying Interventions
After formulating a hypothesis statement of Mark’s target behavior, it is important to identify Expected Outcome Goals and focus on their accompanying interventions.
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Facilitate teamwork and cooperation between Mark and his peers
To improve the learning process within the school environment, a cooperative learning intervention may be administered. It can benefit Mark in developing adequate leadership skills within the environment of interdependence and cooperation to achieve common goals. When Mark is put in a context of tight dependence on other people, he will slowly learn to turn to others for help because his grade will rely on the performance of the entire team, not just him alone.
Establish a relationship between Mark and his father
The data analysis and observations have shown that Mark’s father does not play a participating role in the boy’s life. An intervention should include family visits to a psychotherapist to find specific issues in family relationships and find a way in which Mark’s father can help his son overcome behavioral problems. Because Mark’s mother is very tired of her son’s aggression as is not strong enough to say ‘no’ to his desires, the father’s support is crucial when it comes to making the child behave appropriately. It is crucial to administer all changes gradually, given the underlying psychological issues Mark has.
Decrease the level of aggression and improve Mark’s overall wellbeing
Dealing with Mark’s behavior will require cooperation between teachers, parents, and students. The intervention should include regular consultations with a psychotherapist, possible administration of medication, and interaction with other children outside the school. A strategy of neutral redirection can be effectively used in cases when Mark exhibits aggressive behavior in the classroom and the home environment.
An example of neutral redirection is asking Mark to calmly express his opinion or dissatisfaction instead of allowing him to higher his voice or offend others for no specific reason. If none of the interactions help Mark improve his behavior in the classroom, it may be advised to transfer him to a special education school where teachers are trained to teach students with disabilities.