Thursday, September 4, 2008

Memorable Moment #5/ Functions of Behavior Revisted

Have you ever had one of those moments in the classroom that could be recorded and published in text book as a classic example?

We had one today. In Memorable Moment #4, we looked at functions of behavior. To re-cap, every behavior that any person exhibits has a function. That means it gets the person something he/she wants or needs. There are four functions of behavior:

Attention: to get someone's attention (positive or negative attention)
Escape: (to get out of something)
Tangible: (to get something tangible)
Sensory: (to get some kind of sensory stimulation)

Trenton is a four year old boy with a developmental delay in the social emotional domain. On Tuesdays and Thursdays we set up a center rotation that includes 5 centers with a staff person at each station. Today's centers were: 1) playing store with my assistant in the dramatic play area, 2) playing in toys and being pulled one-on-one with me for baseline assessment data, 3) playing hopscotch with the assistant next door, 4) speech/language therapy group, 5) playing in blocks and being pulled one-on-one with the teacher next door for baseline assessment data.

Trenton was assigned to start in the dramatic play area. He wanted to start in my center. I reminded him that everyone would get a chance to go to every center, but he had to do "store first and then toys." He told me again that he wanted to come to my center. I reminded him that his job was at the "Store center."

The students all transitioned to their appropriate centers and we began our lessons.

Trenton sat on the floor and howled. Picture a low toned and constantly repeated "no, no, no." He also threw in a few "uhhn, uhhn, uhhn" moans for us.

He was sitting on the floor and wasn't hurting himself or anyone else. All of the other students were engaged and playing in the the appropriate places. I was at my center working, my assistant was at her center playing with children, and the teacher next door was at her center working with students. All of the children were playing except Trenton. He continued with his moaning and howling.

Within 5 minutes, Trenton had stopped moaning and howling and moved to his assigned center. He approached my assistant and said "Please, I can play?" Of course she replied yes and asked him to find some items that he would like to "buy." He entered the center and began playing with the other students and my assistant.

So what do you think? What would you hypothesize was the function of Trenton's behavior?

We hypothesized it was attention seeking. He wanted to start in my center and thought that if he couldn't get there with a request, then maybe I would pay attention to him if he acted out. The aspect that struck the staff as being classic was that he was truly denied ANY attention. All of the children were engaged, all of the staff in the room were busy with other children, and Trenton was just left space to cry on the floor. He eventually figured out that his behavior was not getting what he wanted and he stopped.


Patrick Black said...

This is a great example. Thanks for posting!

Mrs. V said...

I would have to agree that it was attention seeking behavior, and I think it was handled well! Great post.

Cathy said...

Definitely attention seeking. I have one in my class that does this very thing - as a general rule he does not do the same behavior, but he does try to control his environment to do what he would like to do. He takes longer to recoup and gather himself together. He's a puzzlement and a joy and a hoot combined into one!

Michelle_special_ed_teacher said...

Behavior always fascinates me!

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