Starting with data about problems
Virtually everyone begins with a major focus on tracking problematic
behaviour. In the early stages staff, newly informed about behaviour, tend to
implement better counter measures rather than actual support. Later on they
begin to have informed conversations more like those around traditional special
when staff have got the tracking of problematic behaviour 'under control' do they open up to the wider
possibilities and begin to see things such as
- problem behaviour is just a form of behaviour
- problem behaviour is purposeful - an attempt to meet needs
- problem behaviour is problematic in several ways
- it creates problems for others
- it creates problems for the actors
- it rarely achieves its purposes
- the inability to meet one's needs is can be a form of disability
- problem behaviour is just another indicator of a need for
support just like any other disability.
And our society doesn't help. As a society we provide extra support for people with
physical disabilities and withdraw support from people who 'do the wrong thing': we put some of them in gaol!!
Because behaviour problems are associated with negative experiences for staff
and others we tend to put 'offenders' in a different category from students with
other kinds of need. It takes time, experience, reflection on experience to get
past a problem orientation - there don't seem to be any short cuts I am afraid.
Planning, managing and monitoring support are the key and unique strengths of
the Planner. These are often under appreciated possibly because responding to
problematic behaviour often
seems more urgent than support and schools are used to making responses anyway.
Knowing more about problematic behaviour is helpful but comprehensive on-going support is
what makes the difference.
Solutions rather than problems
Strong emphasis on incidents indicates a problem orientation
rather than a solution (support) orientation - subtle but important
difference. Solutions relate to helping the student meet his/her needs and not
directly to the behaviours that are simply indicators of the students needs.
Understanding cause and effect
engineering situations problems and solutions are usually closely and tightly
connected. The same is rarely true in social situations. Of course serious
incidents do need to be resolved as well but that is as much about others as it
about the perpetrator'.