Behavior Management Through Adventure
at the start of the school year, I had mentioned four new therapy approaches I
was trying this year. About a month ago
I talked about one of them -- my use of adapted
story books to build early literacy skills in students with moderate to
severe disabilities. In today's blog, I
will talk about a second one.
spend most of my blogging discussing my work at the elementary level, as that
is where I spend the majority of my time; however, I also work at a middle
school, exclusively with students in the autism support classes.
students are all verbal and have varying social language skills, abilities and
needs. I provide both direct and consultative social language intervention for
these students. Many of these students demonstrate targeted skills in isolated,
contrived contexts (i.e., the speech office) but continue to have difficulty
with carryover and generalization to settings outside of my office.
autism support teachers, many of the paraprofessionals assigned to students in
this placement, the occupational therapist and the autism consultant at my
middle school have attended multiple trainings using the "Behavior Management
Through Adventure" program, which I will refer to as BMTA throughout the rest
of this blog (the students also know the program by its acronym).
here for more
information (apparently since my district's staff was trained, the program
title was changed to "Building Respectful Learning Communities," however the
principles remain the same).
I found out the ideals of the program taught through the "Full Value Contract,"
I realized that so much of what this program teaches correlates well with many
of the social language concepts I had been working on in my pull-out groups (I
use a lot of the work of Michelle Garcia Winner).
parts of the "Full Value Contract" are:
Be Here. Be safe. Set goals. Care
for self and others. Let go and move on. The contract is posted both in the
autism support classroom and my speech office.
year, the autism support team decided to combine social language skills within
a BMTA group for our 8th graders. Students in the program attend
BMTA group twice per six-day cycle during their flex period. I am a member of
the group once per cycle along with the regular participants -- the students,
the autism support consultant, the autism support teacher, the occupational
therapist and any paraprofessionals in the program who are with the students
cycle, the autism support consultant chooses an activity based on one part of
the "Full Value Contract." Although I'm not familiar with the activities (since
I was not a part of the BMTA trainings), prior to our group day, the consultant
lets me know the name and purpose of the activity and offers suggestions of
targeted social language skills based on her knowledge of the activity.
the start of our "group-taught" BMTA group, I preview with the students the
targeted social language skills for the session so they know what I expect them
to do during the activity. I also incorporate social language concepts and
terminology during my interactions with the students throughout the
the group is working on "care for self and others," I might review the steps of
perspective -- taking and talk about how they need to use these skills in the
we're working on "let go and move on," we might talk about the size of a
problem and the expected reactions to it.
of the BMTA activities involve working together and discussing feelings in a
"game" like format that is fun for both the student and adult participants. This
year we've done activities with unique titles such as "Moon Ball," "Mass Pass,"
and "Chicken Baseball." I've learned not
to wear a skirt or heels on BMTA days as all members of the group are expected
to be active participants -- including the SLP!
biggest challenge with this new intervention technique has been addressing
students' social language goals within the group and data collection (hard to
do when you're throwing and running after rubber chickens!) though it has
become easier in the last three months. I think it is a great way to promote
carryover and for the students to understand that the terminology and concepts
being taught in the "speech office" apply and can be used elsewhere.
I realize that many of you have never heard of this program, nor will you ever
use this program; however, the ideals of the program and the way in which we're
providing intervention for the students can be applied in any setting. I know
more and more SLPs are getting out of the speech office and into the classroom,
and I encourage that. It's a change of mindset for many of us, but is very
valuable for our students.
love to hear from readers who are doing any sort of co-taught or push-in
services to address social language skills for adolescents and teens. What
approaches/techniques are you using to promote carryover with your students?
What works? What hasn't worked? What challenges have you faced? Let us know here or through the ADVANCE Facebook page!