Parent Support Services: Behavior Management Strategies


Behavior Management Strategies:

Behavior management strategies are important for all parents, regardless of child age or ability. Behavior management strategies involve creating changes in the environment that increase the child’s likelihood of success in that environment. In order to determine what environmental changes need to be made, the parents need to first determine the function of the behavior.

All behavior serves as a way to communicate. All behaviors happen for a reason. Keeping this in mind, it’s possible to determine the function of behavior, and therefore change the behavior. When determining the function of the behavior, parents first need to consider what happened right before the behavior (the antecedent). Then, parents need to look at what occurred right after the behavior (the consequence). This chain of events is often referred to as ABC (antecedent-behavior-consequence). Manipulating the antecedent and the consequence can bring about changes in behavior. See the video below for more examples of ABC.

In order to determine what changes to make to the environment to manipulate the antecedent and the consequence, first you need to figure out the function of the behavior. An acronym that is often used to remember the four main functions of behavior is “take a SEAT”.

      S = Sensory (feels good, looks good, smells good)
      E = Escape (from people, from places, from demands)
      A = Attention (positive or negative, from peers or adults)
      T = Tangible (access to item, edible, or activity)

Paying attention to what happened right before (antecedent) the behavior and right after (consequence) the behavior will allow parents to determine patterns of the behavior. Once these patterns are determined, parents can create a game plan of how to manipulate the environment to change the behavior.

How does behavior management services help the person with a disability or family support system?

Behavior management services are not a long-term solution – they are an opportunity to train the family to arrange the environment in a way that is more likely to create positive interactions and success for your child.

How can a parent/caregiver gain access to behavior management services?

If you feel you need support for behavior management, first talk with your child’s school counselor. They will be able to guide you to local services as well as how services can be accessed at school. Additionally talk with your child’s pediatrician to identify private resources which your insurance can cover.

Recommended websites, YouTube videos, books on Behavior Management:

Behavior Babe Caregiver’s Corner  has a lot of information for parents regarding behavior management strategies and applied behavior analysis (ABA). Click Here for their website.

Questions or observations parents should consider before selecting a provider for behavior management services?

If you feel like you need professional help, you are not alone! There are numerous behavior management companies operating in south Florida. Before contacting companies, consider where you would like services to take place (in the home, community, school, or a clinic setting) and how willing you are to be involved in the process.

Written by: Kelly B. Kearney, EdD, BCBA-D, is a board certified behavior analyst – doctoral level. She has worked with students with autism, intellectual disability, and emotional/behavior disorder as both a teacher and as a BCBA, in schools, homes, and the community. She is currently a Visiting Instructor in the Department of Exceptional Student Education at Florida Atlantic University.