Behavior Issues

Children with multiple disabilities may exhibit difficult behavior. When family and teachers see the undesirable behavior as a communication cue and learn how to understand and respond to the child's needs, many times the behavior can be modifying or eliminated. Other mannerisms arise from a need for cognitive stimulation. This section offers information about understanding children who exhibit challenging behaviors.


Behaviors in Persons With CRS - A Response
Helen Keller National Center (HKNC)
Three behavioral characteristics are found among individuals with congenital rubella syndrome. Author John Walters stresses the necessity of understanding the whole person and the function of behaviors before considering intervention.

Behavior: Why Do They Do That?
Deafblind Intervention Strategies for the Home (DISH)
This article looks at functional behavior analysis as a means to help to identify the cause of a behavior.

Charting Behaviors and Desensitizing Strategies
Cindys Corner, Perkins School for the Blind
Cindy O'Connell describes a methodology for documenting student behavior for identifying, understanding, and responding to triggers for individual behavior.
also available as PDF

Comparison of Characteristics of Learners with Blindness/Vision Impairments, with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder
This 6-page document by Marilyn and Jay Gense can be used "to inform and direct the family and the rest of the team for an in-depth look at the possible identification of ASD in children who have a vision impairment." It provides four charts that compare typical development, blindness and visual impairment, and Autism Spectrum Disorders in the areas of communication, social interactions, patterns of behavior, and responses to sensory information.

Examples of Symptom Presentation in Blind/Autistic Children in Contrast to Blind/Non-Autistic Children a la DSM-IV Criteria
Texas State School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
This article by Terese Pawletko and Lorraine Rocissano compares the presentation of similar behaviors in children with blindness and autism. "Historically, many of the behaviors exhibited by blind children were labeled as "autistic-like" but were attributed to their blindness. We seek to clarify some of these misconceptions."

Functional Assessment: Understanding and Identifying the Causes of Challenging Behaviors in Students Who Are Deaf-Blind (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)
Deaf-Blind Perspectives
In this newsletter article (p.14), James Luiselli advocates using functional assessment to identify the causes and reinforcements of challenging behaviors. Included are a functional assessment screening form and a data collection sheet.

Functional Behavioral Assessment and Positive Interventions: What Parents Need to Know
U.S. Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) – Ideas that Work -- Parent Kit
Dixie Jordan's overview helps parents "understand problem behaviors …. If we learn about the behaviors and know when and where they are likely to happen, we can plan positive strategies to teach new behaviors."

How to Conduct Functional Behavior Assessment
Beach Center on Disability
"This is a brief introduction to conducting a functional assessment of behavior. A functional assessment helps determine probable causes of a behavior and sets the stage for developing a Positive Behavior Support Plan."

Positive Behavioral Supports and Social Relationships
Central Michigan University
Tim Hartshorne uses Positive Behavioral Supports for examining the behavior, social skills and environment of children who are deafblind, then employs Person-Centered Planning and Circle of Friends models to develop behavior intervention plans.

Repetitive Behaviours in Children With Sensory Impairments and Multiple Disabilities
Deafblind International
Heather Murdoch looks "at the roles which repetitive behaviors may play in children's development and the ways in which educators interpret and respond to them."

Research-to-Practice: Reducing Behavior Problems in Students Who Are Deaf-Blind
Deaf-Blind Perspectives (pp. 4-6)
V. Mark Durand and Christie Tanner use functional behavior assessment to determine why behavior occurs and to design an intervention plan. They offers some specific tips for assessment and for reducing behavior problems.

Social Skills for Children and Youth with Visual Impairments
Perkins School for the Blind
This webcast demonstrates strategies for teaching social skills to students who are visually impaired or deafblind on a level equivalent with their peers.

Visual Impairment and Autism Spectrum Disorders
The National Autistic Society
This article examines the relationship between autism spectrum disorders and visual impairments, and includes a resource pack prepared by RNIB.


Web-based Organizations and Internet Resources

National Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)
PBIS was established "to address the behavioral and discipline systems needed for successful learning and social development of students." The Center provides information and technical support "to assist states and districts in the design of effective schools."