A Resource for Teachers, Clinicians, Parents, and Students by the Brain Injury Association of New York State.
Problem: The student engages in off-task and possibly distracting behavior.
Social-Emotional Possibility: Egocentrism

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

Some students may engage in off-task and possibly distracting behavior as a result of learned egocentrism. Students with extended hospital stays and long periods of time with adults who understand and accept their behavior may develop social interactive habits that fail to take into account the needs of others. (See Tutorial on Egocentrism.)

Relevant observations: The student appears disinterested in others and unaffected by their reactions. The student may express feelings of superiority. The student may fail to get along with peers and prefer to spend time in the company of adults.

Useful experiments for assessment and intervention:

  1. Observe and record the frequency and/or intensity of the problem behavior when a new teaching strategy or support is being implemented versus when it is not being implemented.
  2. Possible egocentrism-related teaching strategies or supports (See Tutorial on Egocentrism): Give the student tasks that require effective interaction with other students. Prior to an activity, preset the student to attend to other student’s needs. Possibly involve the student in friendship-related counseling group or individual sessions.
  3. If the frequency and/or intensity of the targeted behavior decreases during intervention, then it may be that the off-task behaviors were caused by the student’s insensitivity to others’ needs. (See Tutorial on Egocentrism.)

Possible referrals: Social worker, school psychologist, or counselor for assessment and 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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