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Managing avoidance behavior–bathroom passes

Date: December 10th, 2015
By: Polly Bath

Polly Bath: We all have had that student that is a bathroom abuser. I call them “the escape artist.” When you ask the student to do something that’s difficult for them, the function of their behavior is avoidance.

These kids know two things. One: we can’t not let them use the bathroom. Two: we can’t deny them a trip to the nurse.

If we have a behavior plan in place that involves the nurse, we can have the kid use the nurse’s bathroom only. Then, we can say to the nurse, “When you see this kid and they have to use the restroom, if they’re not using it, then we know they are avoiding class.” We just need to make sure the person on the other end, like the nurse, is part of the plan.

Or, I issue the student one or two bathroom passes. I say to them, “Here are your bathroom passes for the day, use them wisely. Whatever you do, don’t exhaust them all the first hour because you will run out by the end of the day.”

Now, I can’t deny them to go to the restroom if they really need to. BUT, when the student has so many passes for the class or the day, then he/she is able to self-regulate. They know ahead of time, “I’ve used one. I don’t want to use them all up, so I better save this one.”

By doing this, it puts the consequence or ownership, if you will, on the student.