When I hear from a teacher or assistant at Collin's school that Collin is having some “behavior” I have learned to find out exactly what that means. Collin is a well behaved child and we get a lot of cooperation from his school. He is in First Grade and spends half of the day in a resource room with about 8 other children … none of them autistic. Collin's school has a self contained autism class which is not part of. I am grateful for the Resource class and the extra support and therapy he receives as I know many parents do not get this. BUT, when there is ever mention of “behavior” from one of Collin's teachers, I have immediately learned to find out what exactly the behavior is. When a child starts to exhibit “behavior”, many times teachers and staff start to think, “well maybe he should not go to PE with typical class” or “well, maybe can not handle going to computer lab every Tuesday.”
SO, I find out what the behavior is, how many times it occurs, what preceded the incident, what followed, and to what degree of intensity it took place. I use a behavior checklist that I copy and send in his backpack. The teachers and staff are to fill it out and then we have real data to look at and help make a decision about what to do. Like I mentioned, Collin is well behaved so when “behavior” occurs it may seem more severe to teachers and staff than if it happened all the time. This behavior check list helps the teachers to see too, that it may not be as bad as they thought. This happened last year after Christmas Break. Collin had a rough start back into school after being at home for the two week break. I was getting notes that “Collin was having a rough day” or that “Collin was having behaviors and outbursts”. Everyone was getting into a little bit of an uproar. I provided his teachers with a behavior checklist and had them log the number of occurrences, intensity, antecedent, and the teacher response. On paper, it really did not look that bad and the teachers recognized this.
I had them log this information for two weeks and then we were going to come up with a behavior plan. There was not much behavior to correct after all and the sheet started to come home empty as the behavior went away. In general behavior does not change or go away without you change something but I think Collin just needed time to get back into the swing of things. By not changing anything he soon realized, “OK, I am back in school and there is nothing I can do about it”. He was fine by February and he really enjoyed his school year. Having a data collection sheet and a solid behavior plan will greatly increase the likelihood that your child and your teachers will have a successful school year.