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At CA Human Services, all ABA therapists, instructional leaders, and other therapists that work at this site should be safety care trained. The reason that the therapists and other leaders should be safety care trained is because there are developmentally delayed students whom also have challenging behaviors and there are certain procedures on how to respond to these challenging behaviors. These challenging behaviors include a student harming him or herself by hitting, biting, or pinching their own bodies. This behavior is also known as self-injurious behaviors or SIB if abbreviated.
“Self-injurious behavior (SIB) is a relatively common behavior in individuals with intellectual disabilities. More challenging behaviors include aggression, property damage, loud vocals and elopement.
Aggression has a different definition depending on the individual but aggression is usually when a student is harming another person by hitting, grabbing, pulling hair, biting, pinching, punching, kicking, and in some cases, spitting. Property damage is destruction of personal property at the school and this can also be simply throwing objects (such as, a chair or board game) at school.
Loud vocals are when a student is either escalated or either scripting (which is when a student is just yelling about something that happened at home or from a television show). Finally, elopement is when a student runs out of a room or out of the building to escape and activity or just because they are angry about something. Overall, all of these challenging behaviors have a behavior plan for each behavior depending on the student.
Liam is a student at CA Human Services and he has all of the challenging behaviors listed; self-injurious behavior (SIB), aggression, property damage, loud vocals, and elopement.
Liam’s main challenging behavior would have to be the self-injurious behavior. His self-injurious behavior includes: pinching, hitting himself, or hitting his head on walls, electronics, and furniture with extreme force. When Liam is engaging in SIB, it depends on the intensity whether the therapist intervene or not. If he is engaging in low to mild SIB, the therapists tend to ignore the behavior but still record it to be graphed later after school. If the behavior is moderate to almost severe, the therapists grab a blocking pad and ask Liam, “what do you need?” He will either respond, the SIB will increase, property damage will occur, or aggression may occur. If Liam is in a work session, he must complete his work before receiving a break. If he is transitioning from a break to a work session, he is still to work first before a break.
If he just started a break, he is asked “what do you need?”, if he is further escalated and starts property damage and attempt aggression, additional support from other therapists is needed at this time. Liam should be redirected back to his room. However, if it does not work, the therapists should make sure they have an exit so they stay safe but make sure they are still keeping an eye on Liam at the same time. If the behavior gets this far escalated, there is simply a waiting process at this point. However, if Liam is not at this point and he is just having SIB, then his behavior plan or protocol is in process. The number of questions he is asked is reduced to earn a break quicker but he has a shorter break time. Then he works his way back up to his normal responses.
For example, Liam normally has to answer 10 responses or complete 10 tasks to earn a break for 5 to 7 minutes. If there is any sign of mild to moderate SIB, then he is automatically down to 1 task for 3 to 4 minute breaks. This sequence is continuing until he is up to 5 tasks and then he resumes his 5 to 7-minute breaks. However, during this time, there are no other students in the room for safety purposes. Once Liam is back to his regular 10 responses then students may return to the main classroom. Liam does sometimes elope and have loud vocals occasionally, but not as frequently as SIB, aggression, and property destruction. When he elopement, he is escaping situations he doesn’t want to be in like places with other students or work sessions.
Liam is non-verbal, so when he is having loud vocals, he is making high pitches similar to like a roller coaster going up and down. Since this behavior plan has been put into place, his challenging behavior have decreased. However, when Liam does have challenging behavior, it is usually due to other students or it could be something else. It is really hard to tell what’s wrong with Liam since he is one of CA’s non-verbal students. At the end of the day, the behavior of his SIB, aggression and property damage gets graphed. Furthermore, since this behavior plan has been put into place, there has been a significant decrease but there are still days of high numbers of SIB, aggression and property damage.
Student behavior plans are characteristically used for students with developmental disabilities whom also have challenging behaviors, such as; self-injurious behaviors (SIB), aggression, property damage, loud vocals, and elopement. The most common challenging behavior among the students at CA human services is self-injurious behaviors, but some students do participate in aggression and property damage. Also, very students few elope or have loud vocals. Each student has their own student behavior plan and so does Liam. Liam is one of CA’s students who has all of these challenging behaviors. However, even though he doesn’t express loud vocals or elopement very often, he does have all of the challenging behaviors. Overall, it is important for all therapists and all staff working with the students to be safety care trained and to know each students’ behavior plan or protocol before even working with the student.
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