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Understanding Behavior from the Outside In Children with Challenging Behavior: Strategies for Reflective Thinking


Understanding Behavior from the Outside In Children with Challenging Behavior: Strategies for Reflective Thinking Linda Brault Early Childhood Consultant – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Understanding Behavior from the Outside In Children with Challenging Behavior: Strategies for Reflective Thinking

Understanding Behavior from the Outside
InChildren with Challenging Behavior
Strategies for Reflective Thinking
  • Linda BraultEarly Childhood Consultant
  • challengingbehavior_at_hotmail.com

Who Am I To Talk?
  • Early Intervention/Early Childhood Background
  • Director of state-wide training and technical
    assistance programs
  • Parent of two children
  • Passionate about ways to help ALL children

Outcomes for Today
  • Explore how external and internal factors impact
    behavior and interactions of children and adults
  • Examine adult emotional reactions to challenging
    behavior and
  • Hear about strategies and tools that promote and
    utilize reflective thinking.

Sharing from Opening Activity
  • Research shows that the main predictor of
    achievement is a childs perception of
  • Does the teacher like me?

What Do Most People Want?
  • One MAGIC workshop, tool, technique or strategy
    to make all the challenging behaviors disappear!
  • Me too!
  • But I havent found it

Reflective Thinking
  • Using reflective thinking can have magical
  • When you stop, think, and then act, you can
    consciously and carefully apply the knowledge and
    experience you have gained through your training,
    education, and work with children

Why Do They Challenge Us?
  • Behavior is Communication What is the
    challenging child trying to tell us?
  • Children challenge us in order to communicate
    their needs
  • Primary need of all humans is to belong (fit into
    the whole) and to feel significant (be unique)
  • We want to belong by being valued for who we are

Based on the work of Jane Nelsen, Positive
Discipline Page 94
Hierarchy of Brain Development
Abstract thought Logic Reasoning Attachment Cont
extual Memory Sexual Behavior Emotional
Reactivity Appetite/Satiety Blood Pressure Body
Temperature Motor Regulation Balance Heart
Rate Breathing
FOREBRAIN Cortex Executive Center
MIDBRAIN Limbic Emotional Center
HINDBRAIN Cerebellum Brainstem Alarm Center
Page 49
Buttons in Our Brain
Analytical Response
Emotional Response
Reactive Response
Reflexive Response
Buttons in Our Brain
Analytical Response
Emotional Response
Reactive Response
Reflexive Response
Buttons in Our Brain
Analytical Response
Emotional Response
Reactive Response
Reflexive Response
Buttons in Our Brain
Analytical Response
Emotional Response
Reactive Response
Reflexive Response
What Challenges You?
  • Some behaviors Push our buttons
  • Behavior is in the eye of the beholder
  • Not everyone has the same buttons
  • Learn to use others forreflection and

What Do We Know About Challenging Behavior?
  • Children with challenging behavior are often our
    canaries in the coal mines
  • Systematically examining external and internal
    factors can help us understand how to address the
    needs being communicated through the behavior
  • When a child has a disability or special need,
    this may also impact behavior and/or perceptions
    of behavior

Warning Label
  • There is no direct relationship between a
    childs intense temperament, neuro-developmental
    immaturity, and/or family problems and a childs
    later behavior, but we know the more stresses
    children experience, the more help they will need
    to cope with the everyday challenges of growing
  • Poulsen, M. K. in Project EXCEPTIONAL

Any of These Sound Familiar?
  • Examining routines/ schedules
  • Smoothing transitions
  • Behavior management
  • Natural/logical consequences
  • Positive discipline techniques
  • Providing choices
  • Teaching of social skills
  • Consistency
  • Using art or music
  • Anticipating difficulties
  • Choosing battles
  • and more...

Been There, Done That
  • Jot down a few words about how you feel when all
    of these good ideas dont work
  • Is it any wonder we often give up at this point?
  • Adults often REACT out of these feelings causing
    them to miss opportunities to ACT out of a deeper
  • Reflection can help you access your wisdom

  • Are you looking for
  • Blame
  • or are you looking for
  • Solutions?

BRAULT Behavior Checklist
  • Behavior
  • Reflect (Step back from emotions)
  • Analyze (Look at external and internal factors)
  • Understand (What is the behavior communicating?)
  • Learn (Gather more information)
  • Try something new!

Page 6 in the book
What Can Adults Control?
  • We may want to control the child, but really we
  • What we CAN control may well influence the child
  • Program Elements Environments and Curriculum
  • General Relationships and Interactions
  • Strategies with a Child in Mind
  • Child Characteristics (what we know about the
    child through observation and gathering

Looking from the Outside In
Program Element Environments
  • Physical Environment
  • Sensory Environment
  • Stability of the Environment

Page 11-20
Physical Sensory Environment
  • Group Size
  • Room Organization and Arrangement
  • Variety and Number of Toys Materials
  • Auditory
  • Visual
  • Tactile
  • Emotional

Stability in the Environment
  • Staff turnover or number of staff that change
    each day
  • Changes in curriculum, room arrangement, etc.
  • Children leaving the group or joining the group

Stability at Home
  • Children who are experiencing a lack of stability
    in their (home) environment are at increased risk
    for developmental and emotional difficulties
  • These childrens families need help to address
    these problems
  • And these children need positive experiences to
    help them cope with the negative stresses they
    cannot avoid

Poulsen, M. K. in Project EXCEPTIONAL
Program Element Curriculum
  • Developmentally appropriate, interesting and
  • Balances quiet/active
  • Balances indoor/outdoor
  • Appropriate expectations for self-help skills
  • Schedules and Transitions

Page 22-34
Developmentally Appropriate Practice
National Association for the Education of Young
Children (NAEYC)www.naeyc.org
General Relationships
  • Personal Enjoyment
  • Positive Respectful Relationships with Adults and
  • Temperament and Learning Styles
  • Values and Beliefs
  • Culture and Language

Page 35-60
Neurons to Neighborhoods Sound Bites
  • A childs earliest human relationships affect
    later childhood relationships and provide the
    building blocks to future development

Positive Characteristics
  • A consistent, nurturing, emotionally responsive
    primary caregiver
  • An understanding of child development and how
    children learn
  • A view of a childs behavior as an expression of
    how the child copes with the world
  • The acceptance of the urgency of a young
    childs needs
  • An emotionally balanced caregiver which allows a
    child to predict adult behavior

Poulsen, M. K. in Project EXCEPTIONAL
Strategies with a Child in Mind
  • Group Management and Guidance
  • Prevention of Problems
  • Problem-Solving
  • Communication with Family Members
  • Support from Colleagues

Page 61-91
Relationship Strategies
  • Communication with Family
  • Home/Family Connection
  • Sharing Concerns
  • Support from Colleagues
  • Taking Time to Reflect
  • Learning from Others

Page 83-87
Neurons to Neighborhoods Sound Bites
  • Culture influences every aspect of human
    development and it is reflected in child-rearing
    beliefs and practices

Page 52-55
Child Characteristics
  • Typical Developmental Stages
  • Communication through Behavior
  • Temperament and Learning Styles
  • Specific Behavior
  • Culture and Language
  • Individual Differences

Page 93-114
What Behavior Do We Want?
Social Emotional Skills
  • Confidence
  • Capacity to develop good relationships with peers
  • Concentration and persistence on challenging tasks
  • Ability to effectively communicate feelings such
    as frustrations, angers, joys
  • Ability to listen to instructions and be attentive

Ron Lally
Social Emotional Competence
  • Social and emotional competence is essential for
    school readiness and success
  • Social and emotional competence is developed
    through relationships, initially with their
    primary caregivers, then through day to day

Ron Lally
Being Intentional
  • Focus on what you want a child to do
  • Acknowledge and encourage that behavior
  • Praise is alright occasionally, however, it tends
    to increase external motivation
  • Acknowledgement and encouragement build internal

Identity Formation
  • Each young child has a question to ask Who am
    I to you?
  • The way the child gets responded to is how the
    child gets the answer
  • If the child is seen as delightful, then the
    child will see themselves as delightful...

How It Feels To Be Me
  • A perspective by Robyn Brault

Forming Identity
  • What messages did Robyn receive from the teachers
    around her?
  • What can we learn from Robyns experiences?

  • How a caregiver views the child influences how
    the caregiver interacts with the child which
    influences who the child becomes.

Support as a Strategy
  • Support from Colleagues It takes TIME and it is
    worth the time
  • Reflection and Sharing
  • Owning mistakes
  • Miss-takes are wonderful opportunities to learn

Page 115
Behavior is Communication
  • It is important that caregivers interpret
    challenging behaviors as signs of stress and an
    inability to cope rather than indicators of
    willfulness or defiance... Children would
    prefer to deal with their world in effective
    ways. But children who are living with extreme
    stress may not have learned easily from prior
    experiences. They may need to be taught and
    re-taught simple social expectations other
    children learn naturally.
  • Poulsen, M. K. in Project EXCEPTIONAL

Behavior is Communication
  • So what is the childs challenging behavior
    trying to tell us?

Sorting Out Behavior
  • Challenging Behavior Sorting it Out, Developing
    a Plan
  • BRAULT Behavior Checklist
  • Review for a child
  • Share with partneror team
  • Work with the family

Take Action!
  • What will you do with your new ideas? Use the
    Action Plan!
  • Research shows that using an idea within a week
    helps the information to stick
  • Sharing your plan helps you take action

You must be the change you wish to see in the
world. Mahatma Gandhi
Resources and Ideas From
  • Children with Challenging Behavior Strategies
    for Reflective Thinking Brault Brault, CPG
  • Californias Map to Inclusive Child Care (web
    links for behavior) www.sonoma.edu/cihs/CAmap
  • Positive Discipline Jane Nelsen
  • J. Ronald Lally Co-Director, WestEd Center for
    Child Family Studies
  • From Neurons to Neighborhoods Shonkoff and
  • Marie K. Poulson, University of Southern
    California (USC)
  • Project EXCEPTIONAL Kuschner, Cranor and Brekken
  • Resilience Net http//resilnet.uiuc.edu
  • Division for Early Childhood (DEC)
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