Positive Behavior Interventions
Volume 5, Number 4, Fall 2003
TABLE OF CONTENTS AND ABSTRACTS
Robert L. Koegel and Glen Dunlap
Special Section on Urban Issues - Part 1
A Brief Report on the Prevalence of Sleep Problems in individuals with Mental Retardation Living in the Community
Mark Harvey, Daniel J. Baker, Robert H. Horner, & Blackford
This study examined the sleep patterns and prevalence of sleep problems in adults with mental retardation living in community settings. Information was gathered from 67 staff members regarding 237 individuals with mental retardation (focus persons). Staff members provided information about each focus person's (a) demographics, (b) sleep patterns, and (c) sleep problems encountered in the last month. Persons with severe or profound mental retardation and persons taking medications were more likely to experience sleep problems. These findings clearly identify sleep as a critical area of health support for persons with mental retardation, and suggest areas for future analysis.
Characteristics of Behavior Rating Scales: Implications for Practicein Assessment and Behavioral Support
John L. Hosp, Kenneth W. Howell, and Michelle K. Hosp
The purpose of this study was to examine the structure of items on commonly used behavior rating scales in order to determine their usefulness in planning and monitoring positive interventions. Fourteen forms from nine published behavior rating scales commonly used in research and practice were selected. The items on each scale were categorized as addressing a positive action, a negative action, a lack of positive action, or a lack of negative action. Ten of the fourteen forms were composed of a majority of negative action questions—which are not useful for assessing positive behaviors. Thirteen forms included lack-of-action questions, which indicates they do not address observable, measurable behaviors. Implications for the selection and use of behavior rating scales within the context of a proactive model of social intervention are discussed, as well as directions for future research.
Self-Determination During Mealtimes through Microswitch Choice-Making by an Individual with Complex Multiple Disabilities and Profound Mental Retardation
Nirbhay N. Singh, Giulio E. Lancioni, Mark F. O’Reilly, Enrique J. Molina, Angela D. Adkins, Doretta Oliva
The parents of a child with multiple medical and physical disabilities and profound mental retardation wanted her to be able to self-determine when, what, and how much she wanted to eat or drink from the selection presented. Formal assessments showed that the nonverbal child was unable to communicate her needs or choices in any meaningful manner. Using a microswitch technology, we taught her to make an observing response to a single response key. An observing response was programmed to activate two choice response keys. Response on one of the keys signaled that the child wanted to stop the training session and response on the other signaled that she chose to continue the session. Responding to the response key for continuing the session produced two further response keys that signaled food or drink. Subsequently, responding on the response key that originally signaled food resulted in a choice of two types of food, while responding on the response key that originally signaled drink resulted in a choice of two types of drinks. Throughout the training sessions, the child could stop a training session by responding on the response key that terminated a session. Results showed that although the child was very slow to learn the initial observing response, once this response was established, she rapidly learned the choice responses until she was able to determine the type of nourishment she wanted from the choices presented. Further, her parents reported that the child continued to make food choices following termination of formal training.
Functional Behavior Assessment Training in Public Schools: Facilitating Systemic Change
Terrance M. Scott, C. Michael Nelson, and Joy Zabala
The disciplinary regulations of IDEA ’97 imposed new demands on educators. These include the requirement to conduct functional behavioral assessments for students with disabilities in public school settings prior to certain disciplinary practices, and to conduct these assessments as a basis for developing behavior intervention plans. In this article, we examine the logistics of instilling this new routine in schools from a systems change perspective. It is argued that effecting such change requires that planners carefully assess the attitudes and beliefs of school staff, and use the knowledge gained from such assessments to construct policies and training agendas that pre-correct for these barriers to change. Suggested strategies for accomplishing this are illustrated.
Validation and Congruent Validity of a Direct Observation Tool to Assess Student Social Climate
Lisa S. Cushing, Robert H. Horner, and Hillery Barrier
Violent and destructive behavior in school is a major concern for our society. Dangerous behavior occurs, partly, as a result of the social support that students with deviant behavior experience from their peers. As students age, peer social support becomes more problematic. Assessing student-student interactions in unstructured settings provides valuable information regarding a school’s social climate. This article describes 2 studies aimed at identifying variables that maintain inappropriate behaviors by assessing peer-delivered consequences. The Student Interaction in Specific Settings tool (SISS), a direct observation tool, was designed to assess the social climate of students in elementary and middle schools (grades K-8). Study 1 examines the technical adequacy of the SISS on 23 elementary and middle schools. The second study compares the SISS to other validated survey measures and archival data. Results indicate the SISS to be a reliable, efficient, sensitive and valid measure of the student social climate of elementary and middles schools. Rates and conditional probabilities from the SISS are associated with components from the validated measures of school climate and student safety.
A Practical Application of Self-Management for Students Diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Leasha M. Barry and Jennifer J. Messer
Five 6th-grade students diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), taking psycho stimulants for treatment of ADHD symptoms, and enrolled in a general education classroom participated in the study. Participants were taught self-management techniques to monitor academic performance, on-task behaviors, and disruptive behaviors. A multiple baseline design across students with intervention withdrawal embedded within each baseline was used to empirically assess the effectiveness of self-management. Self-management associated with increases of on-task behaviors and academic performance, and associated with a decrease of disruptive behaviors when compared to other phases. Implications for practical application of the strategy in general education classrooms are discussed.
Facilitating social interactions in a community summer camp setting for children with autism
Lauren Brookman, Mendy Boettcher, Eileen Klein, Daniel Openden, Robert L. Koegel and Lynn Kern Koegel
This article describes a program developed to support the participation of children with autism in a full inclusion summer day camp program with their typically developing peers. The camp program was established at the request of families in the community due to the lack of systematic inclusion programming during the summer for children with special needs. The goal of the program was to support the children in inclusive summer recreational settings, and specifically target their social development with typically developing peers. The program included the following elements: 1) recruiting appropriate aides, 2) providing the aides with ongoing training and support, 3) creating individualized social and behavioral goals for the campers, 4) developing interventions that were contextually appropriate to the camp settings, and 5) ongoing communication with for the families during their participation in the program. In this program, children with autism attended an inclusive summer camp, while aides facilitated appropriate participation in all general camp activities, and appropriate social interactions with typically developing peers. This article discusses the relevant individual child, family, agency and community issues relevant to the implementation of this program.