A Resource for Teachers, Clinicians, Parents, and Students by the Brain Injury Association of New York State.
Problem: The student speaks out of turn, shows off, or engages in other apparent attention-seeking behavior.
Social-Emotional Possibility:

Step 1: Organize observations relevant to the problematic behavior/issue

  • Who is reporting the problem?
  • When does it occur? (Include time of day, activities etc).
  • Where does it occur?
  • What tends to precede the problematic behavior/issue?
  • What tends to follow the problematic behavior/issue?
  • What is the age and functioning level of the student?
  • Previous documentation/charts?

Step 2: Identify possible contributors to the problematic behavior/issue

In many cases, there are several contributors to the student’s identified problem. These contributors may interact with each other, therefore, it may be necessary to combine tests from different categories of possibilities. The existence of several interacting contributors may become obvious as you proceed through individual intervention experiments.

Frustration: Some students may engage in apparent attention-seeking behavior as a result of feeling frustrated. (See Tutorial on Self Regulation/Executive Function Routines after TBI, Teaching Positive Communication Alternatives to Negative Behavior)

Relevant observations: The student may complain about the difficulty level of tasks. She may express lack of satisfaction with the quality of her work. The student may act out while attempting to complete a difficult task. She may act out before a specific class period or before a task that she feels is difficult or confusing.

Useful experiments for assessment and intervention:

  1. Observe the frequency and/or the intensity of the target behavior when no intervention is implemented compared to when an intervention is implemented.
  2. Possible frustration-related teaching strategies or supports (See Tutorial on Self Regulation/Executive Function Routines after TBI, Teaching Positive Communication Alternatives to Negative Behavior): Create an environment that provides instructional support to the student. For example, partner the student with a peer buddy or allow for extra time on tasks. Collaborate with the student so that the task can be completed successfully. Reduce the difficulty level of the task. The student’s level of frustration may also be decreased if a workspace is created that is free from distraction.
  3. If the target behavior has decreased in frequency and/or intensity as a result of the intervention, then it may be that frustration is at least one of the contributors to the target behavior.

Possible referrals: Instructional support specialist for instructional strategies; counselor for counseling

A program of the Brain Injury Association of New York State, and funded by the Developmental Disabilities Planning Council.

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The Brain Injury Association of New York State
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