Saturday, January 23, 2010

Part 4: Book Study: No More Meltdowns: Positive Strategies for managing and preventing out-of-control behavior

Section 2 Cont...

Now that the author has explained how to use distractions to deal with an unexpected meltdown, it is time to look at why repeat problems occur. I was a little uneasy beginning this chapter hoping it would not be full of technical terms and fancy observation techniques that you need at least 8 years of college to understand. How in the world could I be a parent and a scientist at the same time??

Lucky for me, this explained how to go about doing this in an easy way that almost made me say duh, it's that simple??

Here's the basics:
1. Problem behaviors have a purpose (avoid a tough situation, get attention, vent frustration...)
2. Preventing the problem behavior involves teaching the child a "better" way to accomplish that same purpose.

The details:
1. In order to understand the problem behavior you need to observe what happens before and after the problem behavior occurs.

A). What triggered the behavior (what happened before the behavior)

sensory stimulation (noise, light, taste, textures that are upsetting)

Lack of structure (confusion on the part of the child as to what the are to do

Internal triggers (hunger, illness or tiredness)

Demands (to do work, interact socially, converse)

Threats to self image (situations causing the child to feel embarrassed or ashamed)

Unmet wishes for attention (jealousy, when others refuse to play, feelings of being alone)

B). Describe the problem behavior (use concrete words not an explanation of why)

C). What happened after the behavior occurred?

Was the child able to avoid something

Was the child able to gain attention

Was the child able to get a desired object

Was the child able to use the behavior for self-pleasure or soothing

Was the child able to vent frustration

These observations need to be written down over time and then looked at later to see if there is a pattern. Are there situations that lead to constant triggers? What were the consequences of the behaviors? What was the purpose?

I have to admit it, here is my downfall. At times, I find it much easier to use distractions to get through a meltdown rather than taking the time to analyze the behavior and then doing something about it. It seems like the difference in trying to "survive" and actually fighting the battle." Although it may be easier in the short term to distract, the "battle" will continue forever. I live this every day. I know in my head what will trigger a behavior, what the behavior will be, and the consequence that will result. By writing it down I can formalize my "battle plan" and begin to put things into action.

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