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Trauma Informed
Behavior Management




The person is able to get someone to look at them, play with them, yell at them, etc

The person is able the to get out of a task, away from something aversive, etc


Self Stimulation

The person is able to get an item, a location, an activity etc that they want

This is something that

just feels good

Ineffective Behaviors

These are behaviors that the student is doing that won’t be effective long term. So, throwing himself on the floor might be super effective right now to get a cookie, but it won’t be effective in the grocery store when he is alone at 22. Ineffective behaviors are NOT things that are functional but “unusual”

Our Approach- Increasing Effective Behaviors

When We Do An Intervention

We assume that any behavior is getting a need met. If the behavior is ineffective, we would follow these steps:

  • We determine what the need is.

  • We teach the child a new way to get the need met.

  • We prompt the child to the new skill or to soothing strategies when they use the ineffective skill.

  • We teach any missing foundational skills that may be contributing to the need for the behavior

How Does It Work?

For example, Fabio is given a math assignment. He rips the math assignment and screams “No!” In the past, Fabio has been sent to time out. In this instance, it appears that Fabio is ripping his math work so he does not have to do the math (escape). So, we would follow the above protocol:

1. We determine that the behavior is maintained by “escape”. By sending him to time out, he is escaping math work.

2. In therapy, we would teach Fabio to ask for a break (it may be a visual card, a gesture, or a calm verbal request) so he can escape the work when he needs to.

3. We would begin working with him by:

  • Prepping him before we start

  • Reminding him he can take a break

  • Role playing the break

  • Making sure we addressed simple issues with the worksheet (too many problems, could he type, etc)

  • Then when we presented we would be sure we prompted break right away if he looked like he might rip it and also reinforce any work on the sheet

  • If he did rip it and would not take the break, he would not go in time out, but would be asked to do more work

  • BUT he will ALWAYS have the option to take the break and we will continue to remind him

  • We would also create programming to teach the math skills and tolerance for difficult tasks to deal with the underlying issue.

Our Approach- Increasing Behaviors

When we identify that a child needs to improve on a skill-set, we break that skill into small parts and teach each piece individually. Once the pieces are mastered, we move onto the next skill.

How Does It Work?

For example, if 5 year old Sarah is having trouble making friends at the park, we would break the play skills into small parts;

  • We might teach Sarah to imitate us when we move (this is how most play starts at age 5).

  • We might teach Sarah the steps of a game like tag.

  • We might pair her favorite activities with the new games to improve their appeal.

  • We might teach her game playing rules (turn taking, choosing who goes first, etc).

  • We might teach her a conversation script to initiate play and how to respond if someone asks her to play.

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