|Problem: The student appears to perseverate or get stuck doing the same activity over and over or saying the same thing or feeling the same emotion; may have difficulty transitioning from place to place or activity to activity; requests to change topics or activities may be greeted with negative behavior; changes in routine cause problems; the student appears to be inflexible. (See Tutorial on Flexibility.)
|Behavioral Possibility: Oppositionality
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.
Oppositionality: Some students may appear to be inflexible and engage in ritualistic behavior as a result of oppositional behavior (See Tutorials on Behavior and Behavior Problems after TBI; Behavior Management: Prevention Strategies).
Relevant observations: The student does not comply with requests; appears to always do the opposite of what may be required or asked of him.
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 exploratory teaching strategies or supports for oppositionality (See Tutorial on Behavior and Behavior Problems after TBI): With the student, identify an activity that he enjoys and chooses to participate in. Create a setting that he believes is fun and engaging. Allow for the student to make choices throughout the activity. Make it appear as though he is not complying with an adult’s instructions.
- If the frequency and/or intensity of the targeted behavior decreases during intervention, it may be that the student’s problem behavior is in part a result of oppositional behavior. (See Tutorials on Behavior and Behavior Problems after TBI; Behavior Management: Prevention Strategies.)
Possible referrals: School psychologist, behavior specialist, or counselor for behavioral assessment and behavior management strategies