Johnny is a 17 year old male student that attends a private day placement. Johnny started at this school on October 1 , 2017. Johnnys is eligible for special education services under the category of Multiple Disabilities (intellectual
disability, emotional/behavioral disability). Although Johnny has displayed a variety of adaptive skills he still currently displays the interferring behavior of failure to cooperate which often requires intervention from staff. Johnnys operational definition of failure to cooperate is defined as any social behavior deemed innapropiate in a professional setting including but not limited to: pushing through, scratching, pulling hair, pulling clothing of others, grabbing, and spitting. Normally this includes yelling, crying, innapropiate verbalizations, putting head down attempting to sleep, and ignoring direction from staff. Staff have noted that this behavior occurs for extended periods of time, also that each episode of the interferring behavior last at least 15 minutes. Classroom observations also make note that Johnny's episodes of FTC happen 7-10 times per 8 hour school day. Johnnys IEP team and more specifically his school behavior specialist have communicated the need for decreasing the intensity, frequency and duration of this target behavior. Johnnys IEP team will provide alternate behaviors to replace those that interfere with his daily academic programming.Replacement behaviors are those that are considered appropriate and provides the client/student with the same reinforcement as the target behavior. Johnnys IEP team has agreed upon working on increasing his appropiate requesting defined as any time Johnny properly requests (raise hand and ask with inside voice) a want or need, in the absence of targeted interferring behaviors. This will serve as a replacement for the targeted interferring behavior. SPED 411/511
Behavior Change Project
Each student will submit a behavior change project as part of the requirement for SPED
411/511. This project is to be written in a report format, as if it were being presented at a
meeting. You can use a student that you have worked with in the past as a model, or you may
use the case provided. In either scenario you must complete each of the following:
1. Operationally define two (2) behaviors, one (1) that you would like to decrease and one (1) that you
would like to put in its place.
2. Based on the two behaviors you selected, identify a data collection tool that would be appropriate
for each behavior and explain why you choose that tool.
3. Identify/describe antecedent(s) that occasion the problem behavior.
4. Identify/describe consequence(s) that maintain the problem behavior.
5. Identify hypothesis regarding the function of the behavior.
6. Is the target behavior a skill deficit or a performance deficit?
7. Identify and describe at least two (2) evidence-based interventions (these REQUIRE supporting
evidence) that you would use to decrease the target behavior and to put the replacement behavior in
its place. Be sure the interventions include changes to antecedent and/or consequent events to
decrease probability of problem behavior and/or increase probability of appropriate behavior. Also be
sure the interventions align with the determination of skill or performance deficit.
General Curriculum – Behavior Change Project
Giselle is nine years old and in 4th grade. Her problem behaviors in school include aggressing toward her peers,
taunting her teacher and peers, not working on task, leaving her seat without permission, and destroying
property. Her English class has sixteen other students in it with one teacher and one teacher’s aide. During
class, Giselle is required to complete an assignment on punctuation, abbreviations, and capital letters followed
by a coloring assignment.
The team looked at Giselle’s history of academic achievement, mental health, and family. They also
interviewed Giselle’s teacher, her parents and Giselle herself. The interviews attempted to identify those
activities Giselle enjoys as well as what might trigger her problem behaviors. The team also observed Giselle in
When asked to do a lesson from her textbook, Giselle often sees how long the lesson is and refuses to do it. In
her interview, Giselle reported that she found the lessons too difficult. Giselle has test scores showing she is
four years below her grade level in reading and it was decided that she needed easier reading tasks. The team
also concluded that Giselle would talk back to the teacher less if she had more choices.
She was expected to read at a fourth grade level while her tests showed that she was at a first grade reading
level. The team reported that the data supports that Giselle’s appropriate behavior would increase if the
assignment were modified to meet her needs. Specific behaviors were measured for 3-4 sessions while Giselle
completed the original assignment, 3-4 sessions with the modified assignment, then 3-4 sessions with a return to
the original assignment, and finally 3-4 sessions with the modified assignment again. Observers looked at
Giselle’s task engagement and problem behaviors during the sessions. Observers also measured how much
attention the teacher gave.
Dunlap, G., White, R., Vera, A., Wilson, D., & Panacek, L. (1996). The effects of multicomponent,
assessment-based curricular modifications on the classroom behavior of children with emotional and
behavioral disorders. Journal of Behavioral Education, 6, 481-500.
Adapted Curriculum – Behavior Change Project
Darin is a 9 year old boy with autism and is in the 3rd grade. He has severe intellectual disabilities and
communicates in very short phrases. Darin’s problem behaviors at school include self-injurious behavior such
as slapping himself, as well as hitting, kicking, and screaming.
The team interviewed Darin’s teachers. They also observed him throughout the school day. When Darin
displayed problem behaviors, a teacher or assistant recorded when it occurred, what it was, what happened
before the event, what the teacher thought the function of the behavior was, and what consequences came as a
result of the behavior. The data supported Darin tends to act out when he isn’t clear about what he is supposed
to do, when he has to speak in front of other students, and when asked to write something. The team worked
diligently to identify the function of his problem behaviors.
The team reported if he engaged in problem behaviors his teachers would no longer remove him from the
situation, but instruct him to ask for a break. The goal of this change was to make problem behaviors less
relevant - by modifying the environment to decrease activities he found aversive while still meeting education
goals. The team also wanted to make changes to make problem behaviors less effective and less efficient by
teaching him a more appropriate way to take a break. Darin continues to struggle academically and socially. His
parents also reported ongoing problems at home.
Horner, R.H., Albin, R.W., Sprague, J.R., & Todd, A.W. Positive behavior support. In M. E. Snell & F. Brown
(Eds.), Instruction of students with severe disabilities (5th ed) (pp. 207-243). Upper Saddle River: NJ:
Early Childhood Special Education - Behavior Change Project
Walden preschool has both typically developing children and children identified on the autism spectrum,
ranging from three years to six years old. In this program, seven of the children are identified on the autism
spectrum and eight are typically developing. The children generally get along, however, recently Timmy has
demonstrated frequent incidents of problem behavior during free play. During free play, Timmy could choose
from a variety of toys including books, blocks, art materials, and costumes.
The teacher observed the children for the 50 minutes of free play and recorded both negative and positive social
interactions. Negative social interactions included arguing over toys, tattling, physical aggression, and namecalling. Positive social interactions included sharing, helping another child, chatting, hugging, and playing
together. Timmy’s preferred activities were discovered by asking the teachers what Timmy liked to do best and
also observing the Timmy’s reaction when presented with different toys. A variety of types of toys were found
to be useful in keeping Timmy engaged. It is also important that the teachers provide attention when a Timmy is
behaving well and engaged. Teachers at Walden walk around the free play area and pay attention to all of the
children. Children with a consistent lack of engagement receive attention on every round, while some children
receive attention only every second round, and some every third round. Attention may be something as simple
as a smile or brief touch.
The team struggled to improve the social skills of the children and to see what free play arrangement maximized
engagement and social interaction in the children. Currently, free play consists of 10 toys on shelves that are
rotated with a different set of ten each week. Also, each child had a box out of reach that contained their
favorite toys and activities. In the conventional set up condition, the toys available were picked by local
preschool teachers and all the toys from the individual boxes were set up to be available to everyone.
In the current set up, Timmy experienced the highest rates of negative social interactions with an average of 24
a day. Timmy also had the same average rate of positive social interaction. The team wanted to identify a
possible classroom set up that would decrease the negative social interactions and increase positive social
McGee, G. & Daly, T. (1999). Prevention of problem behavior in preschool children. In A.C. Repp and
R.H. Horner (Eds.), Functional analysis of problem behavior: From effective assessment to effective
support (pp.171-195). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
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