|Problem: The student appears to be forgetful, forgetting homework, forgetting newly learned information, and the like.
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.
Self-regulation/strategy impairment: Some students may have difficulty with memory/retrieval as a result of a self-regulation/strategy impairment. (See Tutorials on Self-Regulation, Strategic Thinking and Learning, Problem Solving.)
Relevant Observations: The student may have a weak understanding of her own ability and needs. It may be difficult for the student to organize her behavior and use special strategies to learn, remember, and retrieve information. She may have general difficulty with problem solving.
Useful experiments for assessment and intervention:
- 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.
- Possible strategy-related teaching strategies or supports (See Tutorial on Self-Regulation/Executive Function Routines; Strategic Thinking and Learning): Create an environment that provides support for the student’s strategic memory and retrieval. Examples: When giving new information, prompt the student to use memory strategies, such as repeating/rehearsing the information, creating associations/ elaborations that may facilitate memory, or in some other way marking the information as important. At the time of retrieval, prompt the use of retrieval strategies, such as producing associations that may trigger the desired information. Prompt asking for help as a general problem-solving strategy.
- If the frequency and/or intensity of the targeted behavior decreases during intervention, it may be that this student’s problem behaviors are in part a result of weak strategy use. (See Tutorials on Self-Regulation, Self Monitoring and Self Evaluating, Organization, Problem Solving,Impulsiveness/Disinhibition, Problem Solving)
Possible referrals: School psychologist for strategy assessment; instructional support specialist for instructional strategies