Many students diagnosed with a disability struggle with neurotypical communication skills and socially appropriate actions. Challenging behaviors often result.
Implementing positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) at school can increase educational success by minimizing disruptions. However, in contrast to the confines and routine of working with licensed teachers in a classroom, how can parents maintain consistency while schools are closed?
Maintain focus on what’s important to your child
Positive behavioral supports are often necessary for students whose behavior hinders learning. Rather than responding to time-consuming behavior challenges caused by misunderstandings or unmet needs, educators can use established person-centered plans to encourage students’ positive choices throughout the school day.
This approach to special education provides constructive reinforcement for students who have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). However, although you understand what matters most to your child, you may not know how to implement the tools with which your child is familiar.
Positive reinforcement strategies for distance learning
Balancing working from home with educational expectations may challenge any parent’s ability to maintain consistency. Yet, children thrive on structure.
A visible daily calendar may help children regulate their emotions by easing anxiety. Providing adequate brain breaks is another way to minimize frustration.
Through it all, draw regular attention to what your child is doing well.
Depending on your child’s cognitive and social abilities, learning may take many different forms. For example, if your child has a goal to respect personal space, you might:
- Remind them to ask for permission before touching someone.
- Provide specific feedback such as: “Thank you for keeping your hands to yourself” or “I like how respectful you were when you asked if you could sit on my lap.”
- Explain the desired outcome in detail. “You’re too close. We ask people if it’s okay to touch them.”
- Provide an alternative. If your child has a tactile need, providing a sensory fidget to hold may ease impulse behavior and allow them to focus on their work.
Your student’s teacher should be available to provide resources to support your efforts. Meanwhile, remember that you and your child are both doing your best to navigate uncertain circumstances.
Learning is a process. If today doesn’t go as anticipated, try again tomorrow.