A Resource for Teachers, Clinicians, Parents, and Students by the Brain Injury Association of New York State.
Problem: The student engages in behavior that is markedly inconsistent from day to day and possibly hour to hour.
Behavioral Possibility:
Non-Preferred Task Avoidance

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.

Non-preferred task avoidance: Some students may be inconsistent in their behavior and performance as result of being required to participate in non-preferred activities. (See Tutorials on Positive Behavior Supports; Behavior Management: Contingency Management; Behavior Management: Prevention Strategies.)

Relevant observations: The student tends to engage in unpredictable behavior when asked to engage in non-preferred activities. He may feel that he does not need to engage in non-preferred activities.

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 exploratory teaching strategies or supports for resistance to non-preferred activities: With the student, identify preferred versus non-preferred activities. Then systematically observe and record the student’s responses to the preferred versus non-preferred activities. Ensure that the student has the ability to complete the non-preferred activities (thereby taking task difficulty out of the experiment).

3. If the frequency and/or intensity of the targeted behavior varies significantly with the student’s preferences, then the student’s need for preferred activities may be one of the contributing factors to the student’s problem behavior. (See Tutorial on Positive Behavior Supports; Behavior Management: Contingency Management.)

Possible referrals: School psychologist or behavior specialist for behavioral assessment and behavior management strategies

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

Copyright 2006, by
The Brain Injury Association of New York State
10 Colvin Avenue, Albany, NY 12206 - Phone: (518) 459-7911 - Fax: (518) 482-5285

.Designed and Powered by Camelot Media Group.