Member18 January 2023 at 1 h 43 min
This is a great question and of course there is no easy answer. As with any case, I always think about what resources are available through general education and have those been exhausted. With these young students that are struggling with behavior, I would typically assist the teacher in setting up a positive behavior system to address one (maybe two) behaviors at a time. I’d want to know if this child has had any prior schooling such as preschool and if/so, were these behaviors observed there. If the child was in preschool, sometimes it can be helpful to get a release of information signed so you can find out from the preschool teacher what worked and what didn’t with the child. I’d be curious if parents see the same behaviors at home. Including parents in the behavior plan/strategies can be really important so there is consistency across environments and parents are supporting/reinforcing based on how the child is doing at school. I’d also look see if the school counselor has worked with the student individually or in group (depending on the need), as well as connect parents with outside resources. If the school counselor is not available I have ran groups with general education students (with a signed permission slip from parents) to see what kind of progress there is after 6 weeks. Throughout all of this ensure data is being collected as sometimes it can be difficult for the general education teacher to recognize progress when they are overwhelmed and frustrated. If progress is being made, then it’s likely appropriate to continue with the interventions and continue to monitor (response to intervention).
If strategies have been implemented with fidelity and there is no or minimal progress then I consider the significance of the behaviors and if they are a safety concern. If the behavior includes physical aggression and/or eloping from the classroom and/or the school campus, then consider the impact of this on the learning of that child, as well as others in the classroom. When the impact is significant and available interventions have been exhausted, my next step would be to consider an assessment for special education. When I am assessing a very young child for special education due to behavioral concerns, I have typically already been very involved in the case. I am also typically doing an Functional Behavioral Assessment concurrently with an initial assessment.