Many children exhibit behavior issues at school. Normally, these issues have an explanation. Although some behavior issues are caused by personality conflicts with peers or teachers, inadequate supports for a student with special needs is often the root cause for the behavior issue. Some common conditions that may result in behavior problems include social issues, developmental delays, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD / ADD), autism, sensory processing disorders, and mental health problems like anxiety or depression. Fortunately, behavior issues at school can be addressed and improved with the rights supports, modifications, and / or accommodations.
If your special needs child has a 504 Plan, his or her school can provide modifications for the behavior problems. Special needs students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) may qualify for a Behavior Intervention Plan, or BIP, and the IEP can include goals specifically related to behavior. Parents can also request a Functional Behavior Assessment, or FBA. During the FBA, a behavior specialist analyzes the function of a child’s behavior to determine why a child engages in the undesirable behavior. Understanding “why” gives the special education team more tools to help a child modify the behavior.
If your child has behavior problems in the classroom, the school can help. Communicate with teachers and administration to better understand the bad behaviors. More information about the behavior, including when it occurs, where it occurs, and how frequently it occurs helps parents and teachers address the behavior so the child can have a positive learning experience. Most children aren’t bad kids – they just need help to function in a classroom during the school day.