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Behavior management: hardwired behaviors

Date: June 25th, 2015
By: Polly Bath

Polly Bath: When a child has behavior problems, their behavior is the symptom of something else. There are certain causal factors for these behaviors.

Cognitive/communicative is a causal factor.

Physical is a causal factor.

Self-help is a causal factor.

Social is a causal factor.

Emotional is a causal factor.

Behavior comes from one or more of these areas.

For some of our kids, they can actually learn the skills needed in these areas.

But for others, they are hardwired that way! So, they are not going to be able to change the way they think.

One of our biggest downfalls is when we try to make them like everyone else. I’ve got a news flash, we will never be able to do that!

If a student has a learning disability, an emotional disability, or autism, then that is the way he is wired.

Our job is to help that student to be successful the way he is wired. We can’t give him goals that are going to have expectations on him, like we would other kids, because it wouldn’t be good for him.

Instead, we need to give that student goals that will help him to be successful the way he is.

Let’s take a child with an Asperger’s diagnosis. Socially they have some interesting characteristics. But we have to teach that child how to make friends, how to be social, how to address somebody at the courtesy desk at the store he is shopping at.

This doesn’t mean that he will now go out every night with friends. It doesn’t mean he is going to have big birthday parties like other children.

It may mean that this child’s best friend is his computer game when he gets home.

Is that not ok?

We, the adults, are the ones fighting that. We have to realize that it is not a crime for these kids not to be social like everybody else. We’re the ones who feel bad and think they should be that way.

But they are totally comfortable the way they are!

We just need to teach these students the skill, then they can do it. At the same time, we can’t expect that they will change their life and somehow be un-disabled. It doesn’t happen that way!