Develop a matrix for comparing and contrasting the various theoretical viewpoints described in chapter 1 in the book Behavior Management: Principles and Practices of Positive Behavior Supports Custom Essay

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Identify and list major components of each theory and their applicability to understanding the behavior of children and youth.

Summarize findings in 1,000–1,250 words.

Prepare this assignment according to the APA guidelines found in the GCU APA Style Guide. Utilize the sample APA Template to set up the paper. An abstract is not required. Three references are required.

Chapter one is attach right here

Behavior in Children
and Youth
ISBN 0-558-42054-0
Behavior Management: Principles and Practices of Positive Behavior Supports, Second Edition, by John J. Wheeler and David Dean Richey. Published by Merrill.
Copyright © 2010 by Pearson Education, Inc.
After reading this chapter, you should be able to:
? Describe varied perspectives on understanding behavior in children and
youth, including the biological, developmental, psychodynamic, ecological,
behavioral, and social learning models
? Describe and discuss the foundations and applications of applied behavior
? Describe the defining characteristics of positive behavior supports (PBS) and
the application of PBS across learners and learning environments
Applied behavior analysis
Behavioral model
Biological model
Developmental model
Ecological model
Positive behavior supports
Psychodynamic model
Social learning
ISBN 0-558-42054-0
Behavior Management: Principles and Practices of Positive Behavior Supports, Second Edition, by John J. Wheeler and David Dean Richey. Published by Merrill.
Copyright © 2010 by Pearson Education, Inc.
4 Chapter 1
As a professional educator, your ability to understand teaching and learning is important
in facilitating meaningful instructional outcomes for students. One critical
prerequisite skill that teachers need is a fluent understanding of human behavior and
its relationship to learning. This is most important when one considers the potential
impact of teachers and related educational professionals as agents of behavior change
among students in various learning environments. This chapter will provide you
with a comparative overview of the common conceptual models used in understanding
human behavior. Information will also be provided on the historical development
of positive behavior supports (PBS) as an outgrowth of applied behavior
analysis (ABA) and the utility of ABA and PBS across educational environments.
The focus of this text will be on the use of PBS to practically and positively address
the behavior needs of students across educational environments. However,
numerous theories are used to explain human behavior, each of which offers its
own unique perspective and methodology employed toward understanding
human behavior and learning.
The purpose behind understanding such contrasting viewpoints is to provide
a contextual overview on the topic as you formulate your own philosophy of
practice and to better equip you in terms of understanding the efficacy and limitations
of each model. Table 1–1 provides a comparison of these varied viewpoints
for reference as you read the chapter.
Biological Model
The biological model examines the presence of atypical development and subsequent
behavioral differences from an organic standpoint. This is most evident in
the medical profession, which addresses changes in physiological functioning
(optimal health) within the context of presenting symptoms. These physical
symptoms are often present as the result of pathogens in the body or other organic
causes. Pathogens alter the body’s equilibrium and are defined as any causative
agent of disease. Within the field of special education, we frequently witness the
biological model when explaining the presence of specific disabilities that affect
cognitive and behavioral functioning in children and youth. Many of these conditions
stem from organic causes that alter typical development in children, thus
producing disabilities. Early studies, for example, identified brain dysfunction in
children with autism and subsequently moved theorists from viewing autism as a
psychogenic disorder (a disorder with no known organic basis and likely caused
by emotional stress) to viewing it as a condition stemming from organic causes
(Golden, 1987). For instance, advances in medical science have contributed to
our understanding of the causal factors associated with autism, including the
neurological and neurochemical aspects of this disorder. Examples include the
difficulty of children with autism to modulate sensory input, an atypical neurological
response in children (Ornitz, 1983), and neurochemical differences such
as deficits in serotinin levels (i.e., the neurotransmitter found in the brain that
ISBN 0-558-42054-0
Behavior Management: Principles and Practices of Positive Behavior Supports, Second Edition, by John J. Wheeler and David Dean Richey. Published by Merrill.
Copyright © 2010 by Pearson Education, Inc.
Understanding Behavior in Children and Youth 5
Theoretical Models for Understanding Human Behavior
Theoretical Model Key Concepts Relating to Behavior
Biological Model • Looks at behavior from an organic standpoint
• Emphasis on pathogens as explanation for disease
• Important for medical/health implications
Developmental Model • Pioneered by Piaget
• Stresses a child’s adaptation to environment is
largely innate
• Application of model seen through widespread use
of developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) by
Psychodynamic Model • Pioneered by Freud, Erikson
• Emphasis on unconscious processes, underlying
motives of behavior
• Development of personality is key to understanding
Ecological Model • Pioneered by Bronfenbrenner
• Focus on relationships between and within levels
of ecosystems
• Known for application of Hobbs’s Re-ED program
Behavioral Model • Pioneered by Pavlov, Skinner, Watson
• Behavior viewed from functional perspective—
measured and observed
• Early foundation for applied behavior analysis (ABA)
Social Learning • Emphasis on modeling—imitation of models as an
important element in learning
• Merges cognitive and behavior models
Applied Behavior
• Emphasis on the applied study of socially relevant
• Focus on measurable and observable behaviors
with precise measurement
Positive Behavior
• Reliance on person-centered planning and supports
• Stresses positive approaches to behavior change
and seeks to enhance quality of life for the learner
• A refinement and extension of ABA
controls important system functions such as sleep, appetite, mood, body temperature,
and hormone release) levels in the brain (Iverson & Iverson, 1981). These
findings are important because they assist us in accurately diagnosing these conditions
and hopefully lead to designing appropriate treatment programs, including
positive behavior supports as a means of maximizing the learning potential of
children and youth affected by conditions such as autism.
There are many other examples of how the biological model has contributed to
the knowledge base in the diagnosis and treatment of other forms of cognitive,
ISBN 0-558-42054-0
Behavior Management: Principles and Practices of Positive Behavior Supports, Second Edition, by John J. Wheeler and David Dean Richey. Published by Merrill.
Copyright © 2010 by Pearson Education, Inc.
6 Chapter 1
behavioral, and learning disabilities. These include the organic factors associated
with mental retardation that encompass chromosomal abnormalities in such conditions
as Down syndrome, multiple congenital abnormalities, prenatal difficulties,
gene defects, and postnatal brain damage. As special educators, we now have
a fuller understanding of the etiology of these disorders and their impact on fetal
development. The earlier a genetic problem arises in the developmental sequence,
generally the more severe the consequence in terms of level of developmental delay
(Batshaw, 1997). This is especially true in the case of children born with severe
developmental disabilities, such as chromosomal abnormalities and hereditary
multiple anomaly syndromes that affect early embryogenesis, resulting in severe
mental retardation (Batshaw, 1997).
The biological model has also assisted in the identification of the neurobiological
origins of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a prevalent condition
found among many school-age children today. Through the use of magnetic
resonance imaging (MRI), medical researchers have identified structural differences
between the brains of persons affected with ADHD and persons not diagnosed
with the condition, and they have observed diminished neuronal activity
among persons found to have ADHD (Guyer, 2000; Naugle, Cullum, & Bigler,
1997). Again, earlier research had pointed to psychopathological origins rather
than organic causal factors.
As we have also learned, many children diagnosed with ADHD have co-occurring
learning disabilities (Dykman & Ackerman, 1991). These conditions have been classified
as related neurological disorders that interact with one another and result in
learning and behavior challenges for the children affected by them. Subsequent
pharmacological research and medical treatment have demonstrated that stimulant
medications used in the treatment of children diagnosed with ADHD is effective
in improving attention and cognitive functioning (Goldman, Genel, Bezman, &
Slanetz, 1998). As a result of these findings, the use of medications to treat children
suspected of having ADHD has been reported to be as high as 3% of the school-age
population (Frankenberger, Lozar, & Dallas, 1990; Safer & Krager, 1994).
The prevalent use of pharmacological treatment as the treatment of choice for
children with ADHD has raised questions about the widespread use of these medications
without giving consideration to compiling functional behavior assessment
data as a means of differential diagnosis. The limitations of medication as the primary
form of treatment for children diagnosed with ADHD have also been questioned in
the literature. These limitations include side effects, the lack of maintenance and
generalization of behavior change when the medication was withdrawn, issues of
medication compliance, and, finally, the fact that approximately 25% to 30% of
children diagnosed with ADHD do not respond successfully to medication (Horn,
Ialongo, Greenberg, Packard, & Smith-Winberry, 1990).
Last, another major concern offered within the literature has been that medication
has appeared to be the standard response for many when treating ADHD
without first systematically examining the presenting behaviors and contextual
variables that contribute to their occurrence (Kirk, 1999). It is clearly evident that
a functional assessment would be most conducive to ascertaining the relationship
between the presence of these behaviors and the contextual variables that may be
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Behavior Management: Principles and Practices of Positive Behavior Supports, Second Edition, by John J. Wheeler and David Dean Richey. Published by Merrill.
Copyright © 2010 by Pearson Education, Inc.
Understanding Behavior in Children and Youth 7
influencing them before a child is given the diagnosis of ADHD and medical treatment.
It has also been advocated in the literature that the use of multimodal interventions
that combine medication and positive behavior supports are most
effective for the treatment of children with ADHD (Kirk, 1999). This trend continues
to gain support among professionals and families. Despite the progress medical
science has made in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions such as ADHD, we
see that the outcomes from the merger of medical and behavior forms of intervention
are more effective than medication alone in successfully treating the condition
on a long-term basis. This is merely one example of how the biological model has
contributed to our understanding of the organic origins of disability.
Consider This
? What are your thoughts on the treatment of ADHD?
? What are your concerns about the use of medications in treatment of
It is apparent that the biological model has been very helpful in furthering our
understanding of the origins of developmental disorders in children and in the diagnosis
and medical treatment of these conditions. Current research in the etiology
of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is another major initiative using the
biological model as the basis for expanding our knowledge base concerning the
effects of this disability on the development of children. The dramatic increase in
the prevalence rate of autism has indicated that 1 in 150 children are affected by
this condition (Centers for Disease Control, 2007). The dramatic rise of ASD has
fostered the need for research initiatives in the diagnosis and treatment of children
diagnosed with ASD. Medical researchers are aggressively exploring both the
genetic and environmental determinants of autism. This includes research on
genes, brain development, and environmental toxins as causal agents.
Although the biological model and medical science provides us with a basis
for the understanding of disabilities and their neurobiological origins, it does
not provide us with the complete picture. As an example, the functional utility
of this model in the design and delivery of educational and behavioral supports
within educational environments is lacking. Too often, medical diagnoses
and labels impose greater limitations and barriers to effective educational and
behavior interventions in that many view these labels as indicative of a limited
potential on the part of the children and individuals that experience these conditions.
The biological model alone cannot provide all the information needed
by educational personnel in the delivery of educational and behavioral supports.
Yet, the biological model does contribute to our understanding of these
conditions relative to their physiological origins and medical/health implications,
thus providing a more complete picture when used in conjunction with multiple
theoretical perspectives.
ISBN 0-558-42054-0
Behavior Management: Principles and Practices of Positive Behavior Supports, Second Edition, by John J. Wheeler and David Dean Richey. Published by Merrill.
Copyright © 2010 by Pearson Education, Inc.
8 Chapter 1
Developmental Model
The developmental perspective has traditionally been associated with Swiss-born
biologist Jean Piaget (1896–1980). Piaget’s contributions are noteworthy in the
field of human development and have served as a cornerstone among developmental
theorists. His theory was built on the premise that children’s adaptation to
their environment was contingent on two processes, namely assimilation and
accommodation. Assimilation is the process by which children fit new stimuli
into their “comfort zone,” or current ability to understand this new information.
Accommodation, on the other hand, refers to how children modify their cognitive
processing to fit these new or novel stimuli.
The developmental model has evolved over time but has essentially maintained
that children develop in a predictable and predetermined manner that is
internally organized (Cobb, 2001). Developmental theorists also contend that as
children age, they proceed through several stages of development, each with its
own unique set of characteristics.
The developmental model has been most prominent in the education of young
children. Contemporary early childhood educators and early childhood special
educators rely on the principle of developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) as
the philosophical foundation for the provision of education and related services
to young children.
The book Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs
(Bredekamp & Copple, 1997) outlines a synthesized list of research-based principles
that undergird DAP. These principles include the following: (a) recognizing
that physical, cognitive, social, and emotional domains associated with child development
are related, and that development in each of these areas is interdependent
among them; (b) development is an orderly sequence whereby skills are
developed in a stepwise fashion with new knowledge and skills building on existing
strengths and previous learning; (c) development among individual children
Jean Piaget
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Behavior Management: Principles and Practices of Positive Behavior Supports, Second Edition, by John J. Wheeler and David Dean Richey. Published by Merrill.
Copyright © 2010 by Pearson Education, Inc.
Understanding Behavior in Children and Youth 9
is unique, and variation for every child is important (i.e., no two children are
alike); (d) learning experiences for children have a cumulative effect and longterm
implications in terms of the child’s growth and development in later years;
(e) cognitive development advances from concrete to abstract in terms of the
child’s ability to acquire and transfer knowledge and skills; (f) child development
is influenced by environmental factors; (g) children learn through their active engagement
in environments and the events that surround them; (h) development
and learning result from a combination of physical maturation and the environments
that encompass the child; (i) play is an essential avenue for promoting development
and learning in every child; and (j) optimal development is promoted
when children are presented with new and enriching experiences that take into
account present skill levels and also those skills deemed to be emerging.
Bredekamp and Copple (1997) have provided a comprehensive perspective on
theory to practice concerning DAP and its delivery to young children in educational
environments. One limitation of the developmental model in understanding
children with disabilities is that this model when used exclusively fails to
inform us completely in how to adapt the developmental model to children with
atypical development, as in the case of children with disabilities. However, when
paired with early intervention, the developmental model is enhanced to provide
meaningful educational experiences for young children with disabilities through a
range of individualized activity-based interventions designed to support the optimal
development of the child (Frontczak & Bricker, 2004).
Psychodynamic Model
The psychodynamic model is an example of a stage theory used to explain human
development and behavior. The stage theory viewpoint is best characterized
by way of a series of progressive developmental life stages that we experience as
we move from childhood into adolescence and later. The psychodynamic model
emphasizes the critical importance of unconscious processes (i.e., psychodynamic)
as the determinants for abnormal behavior. Although the psychodynamic
model represents a cognitive perspective, it does acknowledge how environment
contributes to development through internal processes and the battle between internal
processes and these external events (Cobb, 2001). One viewpoint for understanding
cognitive theories such as the psychodynamic model was offered by
Pear (2001), who likened cognitive processing approaches in human beings to
that of computers. In short, the view held by psychodynamic theorists is that all
people have internal states or thought processes operating as they attempt to
process the environmental events that influence the development of these thought
processes and, subsequently, their personalities.
The most noted psychodynamic theorist, of course, was Sigmund Freud
(1859–1939), the well-known Austrian-born psychoanalyst. He is best known for
his theory of personality development and the terms id, ego, and superego, which are
associated with the formation of personality. Each of these components of Freud’s
structural model serves a unique function, yet they must ultimately balance one
another to accommodate the development of the personality. The id is described as
the area of the personality that demands immediate gratification of biological
ISBN 0-558-42054-0
Behavior Management: Principles and Practices of Positive Behavior Supports, Second Edition, by John J. Wheeler and David Dean Richey. Published by Merrill.
Copyright © 2010 by Pearson Education, Inc.
10 Chapter 1
impulses, thus operating on the “pleasure principle” (Freud, 1961). The ego, on the
other hand, attempts to satisfy these impulses in a more socially acceptable manner.
Lastly, the superego is the area of the personality that serves as the moral conscience
as the child attempts to internalize moral standards. Freud acknowledged the interaction
between biological and environmental forces in the development of the id and
superego in the development of personality (Cobb, 2001). In Freud’s view, development
occurs as a result of the conflicts between the child’s internal drives and his
social environment. As a result, a psychological balance must be obtained that
channels, represses, and/or redirects these drives and thus lays the foundation for
the development of the child’s personality (Tharinger & Lambert, 1990).
Erik Erikson (1902–1994) expanded Freud’s theory on personality through his
own theory of psychosocial development. Erikson’s theory maintained the importance
of ego identity and the healthy personality. This perspective asserts the importance
of the ego and emphasizes the process of adaptation and the resolution of
opposing forces. Erikson is best known for his eight stages of moral development,
each of which is critical for subsequent development and involves a conflict involving
maturational and social expectations on which the child progresses before
moving to the next stage of development (Erikson, 1950). His stages extend from
birth through the senior years, and each of these life stages brings with it a psychosocial
crisis, referred to by Erikson (1950) as the epigenetic principle that
serves as a developmental milestone. These stages include (a) Basic Trust vs. Basic
Mistrust (birth to 18 months)—during this phase, a child learns to develop trust;
(b) Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt (18 months to 3 years)—at this, the second of
Erikson’s stages, a child learns to become independent by achieving some mastery
of basic self-help skills; (c) Initiative vs. Guilt (ages 3 to 5 years)—this stage is
characterized by a child role-playing and modeling adult life roles through creative
play, (d) Industry vs. Inferiority (ages 6 to 12 years)—this stage is where children
Sigmund Freud
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Behavior Management: Principles and Practices of Positive Behavior Supports, Second Edition, by John J. Wheeler and David Dean Richey. Published by Merrill.
Copyright © 2010 by Pearson Education, Inc.
Understanding Behavior in Children and Youth 11
learn and develop a sense of purpose or industry and where feelings of self-doubt
or inferiority can also ensue, which may affect a child’s self-esteem; (e) Identity vs.
Role Confusion (ages 12 to 18 years)—at this point of development, the child begins
to emerge in a more self-determined manner; (f) Intimacy vs. Isolation (ages
18 to 35 years)—this stage of development is marked by the forming of significant
relationships (if we are not successful in forming these then social isolation
ensues); (g) Generativity vs. Stagnation (ages 35 to 65 years)—during this phase
of development, the individual remains focused on making a contribution through
work and family involvement (conversely, as children age and we grow older, we
are faced with becoming more self-absorbed or stagnant). In Erikson’s final stage,
(h) Ego Integrity vs. Despair (ages 65 years to death), adults will pause for reflection
on their lives and hopefully draw on their contributions and be accepting of
the full circle of life, whereas some may experience regrets and despair concerning
the paths not taken. Erikson contended that each of these stages of development is
consistent for all people and that at critical periods within each stage the developing
personality is most sensitive to outside influences.
One prominent characteristic of the psychodynamic model is its focus on the underlying
motives that govern behavior. The psychodynamic model assumes that the
developmental stages previously described are consistent across individuals and that
they rely on internal processes to explain subsequent development and learning.
This characteristic has become one of the major areas of criticism concerning the
application of this model. Given the focus of the psychodynamic theory on the
development of personality with regard to the internal processing of environmental
influences, it is difficult to empirically validate the role these forces play in individual
human development. In short, it is impossible to observe and measure the internal
thoughts and feelings of individuals. Thus the application of this model in educational
environments serving children has been limited in terms of its applied efficacy.
Erik Erikson
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Copyright © 2010 by Pearson Education, Inc.
12 Chapter 1
Ecological Model
The ecological model’s perspective on behavior and learning is a very important
viewpoint, especially given the focus of this text—that is, positive behavior
supports—and the importance of understanding behavior within the relevant
environments (home, school, community) in which the learner lives and functions.
Environments and the individuals found within them comprise one form of
an ecological system. What occurs within this system affects not only one individual
but also all who function within it. Thus the ecological model is focused
on the interactions that occur within these environments and how they influence
behavior and learning in each of us.
One of the early theorists who has received much notoriety in recent times
from his work in the area of young children and learning is the Russian psychologist
Lev Vygotsky (1896–1934). His theory ascertained put forth that children
learn by engaging and participating in activities that they enjoy and that learning
is enhanced when children are in social contexts, working with other children
who have the same aims (Vygotsky, 1978). Thus environment and social context
are important aspects in Vygotsky’s theory. Vygotsky emphasized the development
of cognitive processes and behaviors in the child through interactions
within the social context. His theory pointed out how children who approximate
a certain skill level can learn from other children who are more skilled at a particular
task. He termed these phenomena the zone of proximal development, or the
distance separating a person’s current performance level from that of optimal performance
levels. Although not exclusively an ecological theorist, Vygotsky reminds
us of the importance of social interaction in meaningful environmental
contexts and how such interactions foster cognitive development in children.
Uri Bronfenbrenner (1917–present) is widely known for his application of the
ecological model in reference to families. Bronfenbrenner (1994) asserted that a
Lev Vygotsky
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Behavior Management: Principles and Practices of Positive Behavior Supports, Second Edition, by John J. Wheeler and David Dean Richey. Published by Merrill.
Copyright © 2010 by Pearson Education, Inc.
Understanding Behavior in Children and Youth 13
child’s development is inseparable from the environments in which they function,
thus comprising his ecology. Bronfenbrenner’s theory is composed of a concentric
circle, which has the child at its center and the five systems emerging from the
core of the circle. These five systems are the microsystem, the mesosystem, the
exosystem, the macrosystem, and the chromosystem. The microsystem is basically
the child’s immediate environment, such as a home and family or peer group association
for an adolescent child. The mesosystem is composed of the interactions
among contexts in the microsystem, such as school, home, and community. The
exosystem refers to settings that influence the child with which she does not have
a direct interface, such as school administrators or the employer of her parents.
The macrosystem is illustrative of a set of philosophical or ideological patterns of
a culture or subculture, such as what the effect is on a child’s development within
a school culture that practices corporal punishment. Finally, the chromosystem
refers to those changes that occur over time to a child within her environment.
Examples of this could include the birth of a sibling, divorce, or effects of relocating
to a new home and school system (Richey & Wheeler, 2000). Certainly it is
easy to ascertain from Bronfenbrenner’s theory how interactions across these systems
can ripple and affect the child (our point of concern is at the center of this
model). It supports what we have learned thus far—that is, the importance of the
interactions between environment and individual and the cumulative effect that
alterations within these ecologies can have on the optimal learning and development
of children and youth. Vignette 1.1 provides more insight into the ecological
model applied to children and families affected by poverty.
Vignette 1.1
The Ecological Model Applied to Children and Families in Poverty
An elementary teacher working in an Appalachian community beset by poverty,
high unemployment, and reliance on subsidized programs commented to a state
politician that people do not really understand the complexities of poverty and its
effect on children and families as far as development and learning are concerned.
In this example, the community once was a thriving coal-mining community in
which people were gainfully employed; however, when the demand for coal diminished,
the mines closed, and subsequently the community’s economy was destroyed.
As a result, stores closed, people were left jobless, and some families left the region
in search of new opportunities, whereas those families who remained behind
worked at less-fruitful jobs paying minimum wage with no insurance or benefits for
themselves or their families. The impact began to be felt within all facets of the
community, including the local schools. Evidence of this was seen as greater numbers
of children began to receive free breakfasts and lunches through subsidy programs.
Increasing numbers of children began coming to school without their basic
needs met. Local teachers began to feel the impact on their classrooms with individual
children.This was evident as, over time, increased numbers of children were
ISBN 0-558-42054-0
Behavior Management: Principles and Practices of Positive Behavior Supports, Second Edition, by John J. Wheeler and David Dean Richey. Published by Merrill.
Copyright © 2010 by Pearson Education, Inc.
14 Chapter 1
identified with developmental delays and as at risk. Other changes were noted
within the community, such as increased alcohol and drug abuse, family problems,
and criminal activity.
Reflective Moment
Respond to the problems posed in the vignette by examining the following questions.
? How can the ecological model help us better understand this scenario?
? What strengths does the ecological model provide as we attempt to identify
the contributing factors and ripple effects of these causal factors?
? What are the limitations of this model in assisting us as classroom teachers in
facilitating optimal learning outcomes for children affected by such conditions?
One of the most prominent leaders to provide educational and behavior support
to children with emotional and behavior disabilities through the ecological
model was Nicholas Hobbs. Best known for his theory on the reeducation of troubled
children and youth, Hobbs had many formative experiences that led to the design
of the Re-ED (Re-Education of Emotionally Disturbed Children) program.
These included studying how Western European countries provided educational
supports to children with disabilities. He became most impressed with the model
that he had witnessed in France and the role of child-care workers known as psychoeducateurs,
a title for which there was no equivalent in the United States
(Hobbs, 1974). The psychoeducateur was essentially a child-care specialist who
had been cross-trained in the disciplines of child development, psychology, education,
and child care and was responsible for working with children both during
school hours and after school hours ( Juul, 1977). Hobbs borrowed from this idea
and framed the role of teacher–counselor, emphasizing teacher disposition as being
the most important attribute for professionals who worked with troubled children.
The defining role of the teacher–counselor emerged, and these professionals were
taught to develop trusting relationships with the children and youth in their care and
to teach and model positive affirming behaviors that were offered within a context of
support and inclusiveness, rather than one of failure and exclusion. Hobbs believed
strongly in the development of interpersonal skills in the teacher–counselor and the
importance of understanding feelings and expressions of anger and hurt in children
and adolescents. He believed in promoting the idea that each child had a bright
future and abilities from which to draw and to build from (Hobbs, 1974).
The Re-ED model came about largely from Hobbs’s mounting frustration that
psychotherapy, as a form of treatment, was ineffective in dealing with the life
problems of troubled children and youth. Hobbs believed that Re-ED offered a
positive and more holistic alternative to treatment models at that time and recognized
the importance of working not only with the child but also with the child’s
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Behavior Management: Principles and Practices of Positive Behavior Supports, Second Edition, by John J. Wheeler and David Dean Richey. Published by Merrill.
Copyright © 2010 by Pearson Education, Inc.
Understanding Behavior in Children and Youth 15
significant others in natural settings such as the home, community, school, and
other relevant settings. An example of the Ecological Model used in the Re-ED
program is illustrated in Figure 1–1 .
The supporting theory behind Re-ED was that the child is inseparable from
his social system or ecological unit. The child and the child’s family, school,
and neighborhood or community compose this ecological unit. The ultimate
goal of treatment was to be able to move each component of the child’s life, including
those significant others, above threshold (Hobbs, 1974). In the Re-ED
model, the parents and family, teachers, and significant others in the life of the
child are collaborators in promoting the desired outcomes. The Re-ED model
attempted to maintain the child in her home and supported residential placement
options for those children and youth who demonstrated a need for intensive
reeducation or whose family was incapable of proving in-home supports
(Hobbs, 1974).
Re-ED was responsible for demonstrating model practices in the education of
children and youth who were challenged by emotional and behavior disorders.
Many replication programs were developed from the original schools developed
by Hobbs. In reflection, Re-ED represented a new and innovative philosophy and
practice in educating children with some significant emotional and behavior challenges.
It was a model of practice built on the delivery of child-centered and
holistic educational services and supports and was inclusive of natural environments
and significant others in the delivery of these behavior supports.
In contemporary practice we see much of the early Re-ED work modeled in the
delivery of wraparound services within special education and mental health settings
serving children with emotional and behavior disorders (Duckworth et al., 2001).
These wraparound services mirror the ecological model in that they involve child,
family, school, community, mental health professionals, and others in the design
and delivery of supports to children and their families. The ecological model is important
in promoting the implementation of educational and behavior supports
across multiple environments with persons who are significant in the life of the
learner. This approach views the persons within these settings as agents for change
and, indeed, targets for change.
Ecological Model
Home School
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Behavior Management: Principles and Practices of Positive Behavior Supports, Second Edition, by John J. Wheeler and David Dean Richey. Published by Merrill.
Copyright © 2010 by Pearson Education, Inc.
16 Chapter 1
Consider This
? How can you as teacher have a meaningful influence in the life of a child?
? Does your influence as a teacher play a part in the child’s ability to deal
with stressors beyond his or her educational environment?
Behavioral Model
One defining characteristic of the behavioral model is that it views behavior
from a functional perspective in terms that are both measurable and observable.
The behavioral model recognizes that all behavior serves a function and has
evolved as a direct result of the individual’s learning history coupled with interactions
within their environment (Sulzer-Azaroff & Mayer, 1991). The historical
development of the behavioral model provides the foundation for the development
of applied behavior analysis and the later evolution toward PBS (positive behavior
supports). Given the importance to the current text of understanding this model,
we want to examine it in a way that illuminates the critical points in the evolution
of this very important perspective.
The origins of the behavioral model were steeped in the research of many prominent
theorists, who empirically derived the scientific principles that served as the
cornerstone of behavior modification. These include Ivan Pavlov (1849–1936), a
Russian psychologist who we credit with discovering the principles of respondent
conditioning. In Pavlov’s famous experiment, he demonstrated that a dog would
salivate when presented with meat (a reflex response). He then paired the presentation
of the meat to the dog with the ringing of a bell (a neutral stimulus), and later,
after repeated trials, Pavlov would ring the bell alone, and the dog would salivate
(Pavlov, 1927). This illustrates what is referred to as respondent conditioning.
Miltenberger (2001) defined respondent conditioning as
a process in which a neutral stimulus is paired with an unconditioned stimulus (US).
The US elicits an unconditioned response (UR). As a result of pairing the neutral stimulus
with the US, the neutral stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus (CS) that will
elicit a response similar to the UR, called a conditioned response (CR). (p. 497)
Later research began to explore the effects of consequences on behavior
through the research of Edward Thorndike (1874–1949), who is credited with the
discovery of the Law of Effect. The Law of Effect (Thorndike, 1911) basically states
that if a behavior produces a favorable outcome on the environment, it is more
likely to be repeated in the future. Thorndike established this principle through his
research with animals, primarily cats. He trained cats to open their cage doors by
pressing a lever to access their food, and, on learning of the positive outcome
(obtaining their food), the cats not only repeated the process but also did it faster.
As the field of behavior research continued to evolve, John Watson (1878–1958)
coined the term behaviorism, which served to emphasize the relationship between
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Understanding Behavior in Children and Youth 17
environmental events and the responses they produced (Watson, 1924). The
most prominent force in the development of behavior modification and the application
of these principles to human conditions was, of course, B. F. Skinner
(1904–1991), known for his work in the area of operant conditioning. Skinner
furthered the earlier theories of Watson and Pavlov to more complex behaviors in
humans, which he termed operants (Skinner, 1953). Operants are behaviors that
are to a considerable degree controlled by their consequences (Sulzer-Azaroff &
Mayer, 1991). Operant conditioning occurs when a behavior is followed by a reinforcing
consequence that results in the behavior being more likely to occur in a
similar context in the future.
Skinner’s work on operant conditioning began to be applied in nonlaboratory
settings by other researchers and was most evident in the field of developmental
disabilities, thus earning the clinical label of behavior modification (Scheerenberger,
1987). Researchers such as Sidney Bijou explored the application of Skinner’s theories
in working with children and adults with mental retardation. Bijou (1963)
advocated the use of applied behavior analysis procedures such as functional
analysis in understanding the variables that influence learning and performance
in persons with mental retardation and the involvement of systematic instruction
and support for parents. Until this time, many persons with developmental disabilities
had been warehoused in state institutions with little or no active treatment
aimed at learning new skills. Most professionals thought the conditions of
these individuals were beyond hope and that people with mental retardation
lacked any potential for learning; consequently, many persons were reduced to
custodial care in these facilities. Behavior modification represented an avenue for
hope in the design and delivery of interventions aimed at maximizing the human
potential of these previously discarded persons.
Numerous skill-acquisition studies using behavioral approaches began to
emerge in the literature. Much of the early literature was directed toward understanding
the value of reinforcement in teaching functional skills to persons with
developmental disabilities (Reid, Phillips, & Green, 1991). As the research began
to provide more evidence in support of behavior modification to enhance the
learning potential of persons with developmental disabilities, active programming
became more prevalent within state institutions (Anderson & Freeman, 2000).
The application of behavioral research to the field of education was strongly
encouraged by Skinner (1968) in his book entitled The Technology of Teaching.
Bijou (1970) advocated that the principles of applied behavior analysis be used
within the field of education. These include (a) the importance of understanding
the interaction between behavior and environmental events from a scientific
perspective that placed emphasis on studying these relationships in terms that
were observable, measurable, and reproducible; (b) the interactions between the
behavior of an individual and environmental events as lawful and as a function of
an individual’s instructional history and the context in which the behavior occurs;
(c) the importance of understanding the variables that influence complex behavior,
such as setting conditions, stimulus control, and reinforcement schedules;
and (d) that emerging theories should adhere to stringent criteria such as being
tied to observable events, having functional utility, and not overlapping existing
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18 Chapter 1
principles previously identified from research. Bijou (1970) supported the perspective
held by Skinner that the teacher was a facilitator of learning by arranging
the contingencies within the environment to promote the desired outcome in the
child and the use of systematic instruction procedures to promote acquisition of
desired skills.
In summary, the behavioral model has evolved from basic scientific research
aimed at understanding reflexive behaviors in animals to examining complex human
behavior, learning, and human development. The behavioral model attempts to understand
human behavior from a scientific perspective in terms that are observable
Ivan Pavlov B. F. Skinner
Albert Bandura
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Understanding Behavior in Children and Youth 19
and measurable. It places emphasis on the relationship between environmental
events and behavior, it deemphasizes past events as being directly related to the
occurrence of problematic behavior, and it attempts to identify cause-and-effect relationships,
or what is termed a functional relationship, to explain behavior. The
behavioral model has undergone significant advancements over the years in the
application of these procedures in educational environments and other applied settings.
If there has been any limitation of this model toward the development of
research-based practices for the treatment of challenging behavior and the application
of behavior principles to learning, it has been in its lack of widespread
acceptance among teachers and educational administrators. There continues to be
resistance to the behavioral model by many who believe it to be nonhumanistic or
nonfunctional within school settings. This resistance in part is attributable more to a
lack of uniform understanding within the field of education, as traditionally the field
of applied behavior analysis developed from the field of psychology; however, with
recent advancements in the use of applied behavior analysis in the treatment of
autism, many now know of the potential benefits of this model in addressing the
needs of children with autism. In reality, the progress of applied behavior analysis
and the emergence of PBS dispel those who may perhaps remain skeptical as to the
efficacy of the behavioral model through its application of positive, person-centered
interventions across multiple environments.
Social Learning Model
The social learning model (Bandura, 1977) advanced the understanding of learning
and behavior to become more inclusive of multiple influences on human development
(Kazdin, 1989). Albert Bandura advocated that people learn within a social
context and that the environment and models within the environment influence
learning in children. One of Bandura’s major contributions was studying the relationship
of social learning to aggression in children (Bandura, 1973). His famous
“Bobo Doll” experiment demonstrated the influence of modeled aggression on the
behavior of young children (Bandura, Ross, & Ross, 1961). In this study, 36 boys
and 36 girls between the ages of 37 and 69 months and enrolled in Stanford University’s
nursery school participated in the famous experiment, which illustrated that
children exposed to aggressive and violent modeling were more apt to imitate it,
whereas those children not exposed to such behavior were less inclined to demonstrate
such responses. Modeling is central to the social learning theory, which believes
that the imitation of models is the most important element in learning for
children in the areas of language, social behavior, and gender-appropriate behaviors
(Papalia, Olds, & Feldman, 1999). The selection of models that children choose to
identify is influenced by the characteristics and accessibility of the model, the child’s
preferences, and the environment to which the child is exposed. The social learning
model’s perspective on understanding behavior acknowledges the cognitive influences
on behavior and the role of models within the child’s environment as being
very important to subsequent learning in the child (Papalia et al., 1999). The social
learning model attempts to merge the cognitive and behavior models and expands
the view of each toward a more comprehensive understanding of behavior.
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Applied Behavior Analysis
Applied behavior analysis (ABA) represents the study of socially relevant human
behavior in applied settings. As Sulzer-Azaroff and Mayer (1991) stated, “ABA is designed
to permit people to understand, prevent, and remedy behavioral problems
and to promote learning . . . it is performance-based, analytical, technological, socially
important, contextual, and accountable” (p. 4). ABA emphasizes the applied
study of socially relevant behaviors within naturally occurring contexts. The focus is
on overt behaviors that are measurable and observable, the influence of environmental
variables on the occurrence/nonoccurrence of the behaviors in question,
and precise measurement of these responses. ABA studies behavior over time in relevant
environments and employs research-validated teaching procedures that are
replicable and specific to the individual needs of the learner. These procedures are
socially acceptable, implemented by people in everyday life, such as teachers and
caregivers, and are designed to promote increased lifestyle outcomes for the learner.
Anderson and Freeman (2000) stated that no other subdiscipline within the field of
psychology has had such a profound impact on the quality of services provided to
persons with developmental disabilities than the field of applied behavior analysis.
Persons with developmental disabilities were most often perceived as having a lack
of potential for learning, yet with the advent of applied behavior analysis people began
to see otherwise through the use of behavioral learning principles as research to
the contrary began to rapidly emerge (Anderson & Freeman, 2000).
Applications of ABA
Applications of ABA are evident across many areas, such as special education, in
which applied behavior analysis research has resulted in the development of instructional
inroads for children and youth with disabilities. These interventions have been
refined over time from the early research conducted in the 1960s and 1970s within
residential facilities serving individuals with severe disabilities. The research and applications
of ABA have been evident in areas such as systematic instruction (Snell &
Gast, 1981; Wolery, Ault, & Doyle, 1992)—that is, the use of behavior teaching approaches
designed to facilitate the acquisition of new skills in learners.
An early leader in the use of systematic instruction to teach meaningful vocational
skills to young adults with mental retardation was Marc Gold (1939–1982),
an applied researcher from the University of Illinois. Gold tirelessly advocated that
persons with developmental disabilities should be provided with meaningful
opportunities for learning and gainful skills that would promote employability.
Gold (1980) was a proponent of the effectiveness of behavioral teaching principles
and ascribed to the philosophy that “A lack of learning in any particular situation
should first be interpreted as a result of the inappropriate or insufficient use of
teaching strategy rather than an inability on the part of the learner” (p. 15). Gold’s
research demonstrated that persons with severe developmental disabilities could
be taught complex vocational skills. To illustrate this, Gold taught individuals with
varying degrees of mental retardation how to perform complex assembly skills
(e.g., bicycle brake assembly) by using task analyses and instructional prompts.
The use of behavioral teaching principles has been most recently acclaimed
in the area of autism, largely through the research of Ivar Lovaas. Lovaas (1993;
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Understanding Behavior in Children and Youth 21
McEachin, Smith, & Lovaas, 1993) demonstrated through his research that the
use of discrete trial teaching with children younger than 21?2 years of age resulted
in dramatic performance increases in these children, which were maintained over
time. No other form of treatment has resulted in such significant treatment outcomes
in the education of young children with autism (Martin & Pear, 1999).
Discrete trial training has become a staple within treatment programs for young
children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), as it has been widely recognized
as a best and effective practice in the education and treatment of autism.
ABA has also been evident in developing educational programs for children with
a range of challenging behavior and learning needs, including the areas of attention
deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD; Ervin et
al., 2000), anger management in adolescents with behavior disorders (Presley &
Hughes, 2000), and self-management skills in adolescents and young adults with
behavior disorders and mental retardation (Miller, Miller, Wheeler, & Selinger,
1989; Wheeler, Bates, Marshall, & Miller, 1988). These are a few of the numerous
research studies supporting the use of ABA procedures in educational environments
serving children and adolescents with learning and behavior challenges.
As we have read, ABA has offered an advancement in the delivery of instructional
programming within educational environments, but it has also been applied
in a variety of other human service and medical settings. As one example, the use of
behavior approaches within medical settings has resulted in the formation of the
field of behavioral medicine, which is interdisciplinary in nature and is aimed at understanding
the connections among illness, wellness, and behavior (Martin & Pear,
1999; Poppen, 1988). As Martin and Pear (1999) indicated, the application of behavior
medicine, particularly in health psychology, has resulted in enhancements
across areas such as treatment of health conditions, treatment compliance, wellness,
management of caregivers, and stress reduction. ABA has also been active in working
with geriatric populations for conditions such as chronic pain (Wisocki &
Powers, 1997) and dementia (Engleman, Altus, & Mathews, 1999; Heard &
Watson, 1999) associated with Alzheimer’s disease (Dwyer-Moore & Dixon, 2007).
ABA is also becoming more evident within business and industry in the areas
of performance management, worker safety, efficiency, and management–employee
relations (Martin & Pear, 1999). Sports psychology has been another area of
widespread application of ABA. ABA procedures have been applied to coaching
sport-specific skills such as those used in football, gymnastics, and tennis (Allison
& Ayllon, 1980; Komaki & Barnett, 1977); swimming (Koop & Martin, 1983);
and soccer (Ziegler, 1994) and in the evaluation of basketball shooting behaviors
(Vollmer & Bourret, 2000).
Consider This
? What do you feel are the strengths and limitations of each of the
theories described?
? Which theory do you prefer, and why?
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22 Chapter 1
The evolution of ABA as a method of promoting behavior change has resulted in
the widespread application of behavior procedures as evidenced. This trend has
continued with the refinement and application of these procedures within new
and challenging circumstances. Most noteworthy in this development was the
emergence of positive behavior supports (PBS). Some experts have viewed PBS
as an outgrowth of applied behavior analysis relying on the use of person-centered
interventions that depend on the use of positive approaches to engineer environments,
teach alternative behaviors, and employ meaningful consequences to enhance
the quality of life for the individual.
Horner et al. (1990) first advocated for the use of nonaversive behavior supports
for persons with severe disabilities. The movement was an outgrowth of the
community integration of persons with severe disabilities in community-based
residential and employment settings. Changes in the philosophy of service delivery
resulted from the increased community-integration initiatives as behavioral
interventions became more functional and nonaversive (Anderson & Freeman,
2000). This movement served as fertile ground for the emergence of PBS for individuals
with challenging behavior.
Many within the field of ABA have argued that PBS is no different from ABA,
yet others view it as an enhancement of ABA (Koegel, Koegel, & Dunlap, 1996).
PBS has primarily been directed toward the development of positive behavior
interventions for persons with severe and challenging behavior, yet the application
of PBS continues to grow and expand and in our view offers an advance in
the design and delivery of behavior and instructional supports to learners of all
ages and across educational environments. One of the key distinctions is that PBS
has been embraced as part of the IDEA Reauthorization and has become more
widely practiced within school and learning environments.
PBS operates from a values base that highly regards the quality of life of the
individual. PBS is composed of intervention methods that are behaviorally based,
empirically validated, and congruent with the value of nonaversive intervention
embedded within this values-based philosophy. PBS is characterized by three
prominent characteristics recognized by Anderson and Freeman (2000): (a) PBS
operates from a person-centered values base and is designed and delivered specific
to the needs and preferences of the individual, thus representing socially valid
goals; (b) PBS recognizes the individuality of each person in the delivery of services
and supports and therefore takes into consideration the need for flexibility to
accommodate the individual’s needs as necessary, given life demands in the delivery
of behavior supports; and (c) PBS works toward meaningful outcomes that
enhance the overall quality of life for the individual, including participation in inclusive
educational and community environments (Anderson & Freeman, 2000).
Components of PBS
The delivery of PBS depends on the use of assessment and intervention practices
designed to identify and understand the variables that correspond with the occurrence
of challenging behavior and the delivery of interventions designed to teach
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Understanding Behavior in Children and Youth 23
positive replacement behaviors. The use of functional behavior assessment is an
essential component of PBS and is intended to assist in the identification of variables
that precipitate and/or maintain challenging behavior, including the setting
events/antecedent variables that trigger these behaviors in an individual and the
consequences that maintain these responses. It is important that the data gathered
from the functional assessment process lead to the development of meaningful instructional
interventions (Reichle & Wacker, 1993).
Specific methods associated with functional behavior assessment include the
structured interview with key stakeholders such as teachers, family members, and
often the learner as a means of identifying the target behavior and those variables of
concern that influence this behavior. Other components include the collection of
observational data on the learner within relevant environments and, on occasion,
actual manipulations of instructional and/or environmental variables. Hypothesis
statements are generated concerning the behavior, such as: “What setting events or
antecedents appear to trigger the problem behavior?” and “What function(s) does
the problem behavior serve for the individual?”
Sugai, Horner, and Sprague (1999) identified five outcomes associated with
functional assessment process: (a) operational definitions of target behaviors,
(b) identification of conditions that predict when challenging behavior will and
will not occur, (c) identification of consequences that maintain challenging behavior,
(d) hypothesis statements that state when and where the target behavior
will occur and the associated antecedents and consequences, and (e) direct observational
data that confirm the accuracy of the hypothesis statements.
Functional analysis (a term you will learn more about later in the text) differs
from functional assessment but represents one form of functional assessment.
Functional analysis involves the experimental manipulation of antecedents and
consequences to demonstrate a cause-and-effect relationship between specific antecedent
and/or consequence variables and the occurrence or nonoccurrence of
the behavior in question. Functional analyses are conducted under controlled conditions
rather than in applied settings such as educational environments (Sugai,
Horner, & Sprague, 1999). Functional assessment is more widely used within
learning environments such as classroom settings, given its practicality, whereas
functional analysis has been confined more to experimental research settings.
Functional assessment offers the classroom teacher a more user-friendly method
for understanding challenging behavior. An applied illustration of how functional
assessment can be utilized in the classroom is contained in Vignette 1.2.
Vignette 1.2
Functional Behavior Assessment Within a Classroom Setting
The behavior specialist, Ms.Thomas, a young and energetic teacher with a master’s
degree in special education and applied experience in the delivery of positive behavior
supports, was recently asked to lend her assistance within her school district. She
received a request to serve as a consultant in reference to a 12-year-old boy named
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24 Chapter 1
Stefan, who was receiving services in a self-contained classroom for children with moderate
and severe disabilities. He was displaying some chronic episodes of challenging
behavior, and his team needed assistance in the application of functional assessment
procedures as a means of understanding his behavior and providing intervention.
Given Ms. Thomas’s expertise and strengths in the areas of positive behavior
supports and consultation, she was deemed an appropriate liaison for the team to
consult. She began the process by meeting with the child’s team and discussing the
details prior to initiating the formal assessment process.
During this phase, Ms.Thomas assembled relevant information that included the
child’s age, information on the child’s family and his disability, current Individualized
Education Plan (IEP), learning strengths, and greatest areas of challenge. She then
proceeded to ask each member of the child’s immediate team, including Stefan’s
mother, to complete a functional assessment interview (i.e., structured interview
questionnaire) related to the behaviors of concern.The functional assessment interview
consisted of a series of questions that probed the specifics of the behavior in
question, setting events and antecedents that consistently coincided with high occurrences
of the behavior, consequences that were likely to be maintaining the behavior,
and conversely the environmental events that were present during periods when the
behavior did not occur at all. Other relevant questions pertaining to changes in medical
and physical health, family and living circumstances, changes in the routine at school and
home, and other information deemed important by the team were then posed.
Upon obtaining the completed interviews, Ms. Thomas compiled the information.
She began to sort and collate the information contained in each of the completed
interviews. In all, four total questionnaires were completed. These included
one from Stefan’s teacher, one from the classroom assistant, one from the speech
and language therapist, and one from Stefan’s mother. After reviewing the results,
Ms. Thomas ascertained that the target behavior of concern was task avoidance.
Stefan was identified with severe mental retardation and had limited communication
abilities. It appeared from reading the interview responses that the behavior
would frequently escalate if Stefan were not redirected early in the cycle.
Ms.Thomas collaborated with Stefan’s team in sharing these immediate hypotheses
and then began the next phase of the functional assessment. With the team’s assistance,
she operationally defined each of the target behaviors in question. The
definitions were in terms that were observable and measurable. Once the behaviors
were defined, she asked Stefan’s teacher and mother to record occurrences of these
behaviors across 15-minute time blocks using a scatter-plot data sheet. After 5 days
of collecting the scatter-plot information, she could see patterns of behavior emerging.
Stefan had virtually no occurrences of the target behaviors at home, high frequencies
of the behaviors during specific points of the day while at school, and
periods of time while in school when the behaviors were minimal, if present at all.
In conducting subsequent observations during both the peak times and times
when the behaviors were not present, the hypotheses became clearer. Stefan was
not given opportunities for choice, and when in need of help in performing a task,
he would seek to escape rather than seek assistance. A functional communication
method was developed for Stefan that included a laminated index card. One side of
the card displayed a red circle with the word help written beneath it. Stefan was
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Understanding Behavior in Children and Youth 25
instructed to turn his card over to seek help when he needed the teacher’s assistance.
This small intervention was responsive to his needs and the need of his
teacher in preventing problematic behavior from occurring.
Reflective Moment
1. After reading the vignette, do you feel that you have a better understanding
of the importance of systematic data collection as part of the functional assessment
2. What skills would be important to facilitate the completion of such a process
while serving as a consulting teacher?
3. What strategies would you use to initiate collaboration among your fellow
team members in such a role?
The use of functional behavior assessment in schools has dramatically risen, given the
1997 Reauthorization of IDEA (Individuals With Disabilities Education Act). This
legislation mandated the use of functional behavior assessment and the design of
behavior intervention plans (BIP) to address the needs of learners with problem
behaviors. The BIP component of IDEA states that the BIP must be developed based
on a functional assessment and developed with the intent of ameliorating the problem
behavior (Public Law 105-17, IDEA Amendments of 1997). The Reauthorization of
IDEA fails to precisely define the components of a functional behavior assessment
and behavior support plan, thus uniformity and compliance with the legislation
across state and local educational agencies is sketchy at best.
The mandate served as a catalyst for examining these issues, yet the implications
from research with respect to the use of these methods in educational environments
continues to emerge without widespread support in terms of uniform policies and
implementation on the part of educational systems. Other concerns include the
professional preparation of educators in the use of these practices and also the integrity
with which functional behavior assessment is implemented. Some have argued
in the literature that public policy has exceeded the ability of educators to
implement such policies based on these concerns (Howell & Nelson, 1999).
The most recent Reauthorization of the Individuals With Disabilities Education
Improvement Act occurred in 2004. Some changes in the Reauthorization related to
PBS worth noting include the increased emphasis on the use of PBS in addressing
challenging behavior. Whereas the 1997 Reauthorization says one should “consider”
using positive behavioral interventions and strategies to address a behavior
that is impeding the student or other student’s learning, the 2004 Reauthorization
says one “must consider” the use of positive behavioral interventions and strategies
to address a behavior that is impeding the student’s or another student’s learning.
Other changes stress that the IEP must give priority to PBS strategies for addressing
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26 Chapter 1
challenging behavior (20 U.S.C. § 1414(d)(3)(B)(i), 34 C.F.R. § 300.324(a)(2)(i)).
In short, the 2004 Reauthorization of the IDEA served to strengthen the role of PBS
in addressing challenging behaviors.
The past decade has witnessed an increase in the number of applied research
studies using PBS; however, the value of this methodology has yet to reach full acceptance
within school settings. The use of PBS has been demonstrated to be
effective for persons with developmental disabilities (Horner & Carr, 1997) as
well as for children and youth with emotional and behavior disorders and learning
disabilities (Dunlap, Kern, et al., 1993; Dunlap, Kern-Dunlap, et al., 1991;
Dunlap, White, Vera, Wilson, & Panacek, 1996; Kern, Childs, Dunlap, Clarke, &
Falk, 1994; Umbreit, 1995). Given that PBS has demonstrated efficacy in the research
literature across multiple environments and learners, some authors proposed
that Congress identify PBS as the intervention of choice in the 1997
Reauthorization of IDEA (Turnbull, Wilcox, Stowe, Raper, & Hodges, 2000).
The application of PBS across learning environments illustrates a behaviorally
based systems approach to enhance the capacity of schools, families, and communities
in designing effective environments. Focusing attention on creating and
sustaining school environments that improve lifestyle results for all children and
youth by making problem behavior less effective, efficient, and relevant and
desired behavior more functional, PBS is the integration of (a) behavior science,
(b) practical interventions, (c) social values, and (d) a systems perspective (Sugai,
Horner, Dunlap, et al., 1999).
The application of PBS to systemswide problems has slowly drawn increasing interest
as experts have recognized the utility of these principles of instruction and
support as a prevention tool for promoting safe learning environments for children.
Horner and Sugai (2000) pointed out that the consistent features of schools
that are actively using school-wide behavior supports include the following:
? The use of school-based support teams in the design and delivery of PBS
? Administrative buy-in and support for school-wide behavior supports
? School culture defined by a limited number of behavior expectations
? Behavior expectations taught to all students
? Students given recognition through an ongoing system designed to acknowledge
student performance
? Students who engaged in disruptive and dangerous behavior corrected and not
ignored nor rewarded
? Evaluation of student performance collected in an ongoing manner by schoolbased
teams and used for decision making
School-wide use of PBS has been successful in minimizing problem behavior and
school violence and reducing discipline referrals through prevention (Sadler, 2000;
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Understanding Behavior in Children and Youth 27
Taylor-Greene & Kartub, 2000). Historically, many school systems have relied on
rapid-suppression procedures for managing problematic behavior. Students who
engaged in problematic behavior were usually administered punitive consequences
such as expulsion, in-school suspension, and even corporal punishment.
These procedures were after-the-fact interventions that were directed at suppressing
or controlling the problem behavior. The merits and disadvantages of such
approaches have been the source of constant debate over time among professionals,
parents, and child advocates. In short, the use of rapid-suppression approaches
does nothing to promote positive behavior, nor does it promote
prevention through the active teaching and reinforcement of prosocial behaviors.
These approaches do not enrich the culture or climate within the learning environment,
and, finally, they are not sensitive to the environmental factors that influence
challenging behavior. The data from applied research in the field of PBS
point to the merits of such intervention practices at the level of the individual
learner and classroom environment and also at the school-wide level.
One of the most important elements promoting the use of PBS for learners and
learning environments is training educational professionals at the in-service and
preservice levels. Such training includes preservice teachers who are in the initial
stages of professional preparation and professionals who are on the job working
as teachers. At present, most teacher training programs allot one course within
the curriculum devoted to behavior management or classroom management issues.
For preservice teacher training in the field of special education, students typically
receive training in one or more courses devoted to ABA or behavior management.
Given the outgrowth of PBS, partially as a result of the 1997 Reauthorization of
IDEA, teacher training programs must begin to expand to become more inclusive
of competencies in PBS. The need for increased training is apparent, as the demand
for professionals with skills, such as functional assessment and behavior support
plan development, is critical in the implementation of the mandate. Effective
training practices of preservice and in-service educational professionals will hopefully
lead to improved practices in the provision of behavior supports within
learning environments and result in greater quality assurance.
Another issue that is important to the success of PBS with children and youth
is the partnership between professionals and families. Families are key players in
the process of functional assessment and in the development and success of behavior
intervention plans. Parents and families contribute a perspective on the
child that is unique and exclusive to them and their role as the child’s parents.
They provide meaningful information about their children and serve as active
team members in the promotion of meaningful behavior and lifestyle outcomes
(Stichter & Caldicott, 1999). The importance of a shared vision by the team, including
a collaborative partnership between professionals and families, is very
important to the success of the team. The use of PBS within the context of a
school-based team is important for achieving durable and lasting systemwide impact,
and the partnership with families is a major factor that influences such success.
More on the importance of professional and family partnerships will be
ISBN 0-558-42054-0
Behavior Management: Principles and Practices of Positive Behavior Supports, Second Edition, by John J. Wheeler and David Dean Richey. Published by Merrill.
Copyright © 2010 by Pearson Education, Inc.
28 Chapter 1
discussed in Chapter 2. Vignette 1.3 provides an illustration of the use of schoolbased
teams in the provision of behavior supports.
Vignette 1.3
School-Based Behavior Support Teams
and the Provision of PBS
Adams Elementary School and the regional state university have entered into a
unique partnership involving the development of school-based teams in the delivery
of behavior supports within their school.The partnership is part of a pilot grant
project that facilitates the development of systemwide behavior support teams
within schools. Adams Elementary School was selected to participate in the project
based on several factors. The student body at Adams Elementary is composed of
children primarily from lower socioeconomic conditions, and the patterns of problematic
behavior that have emerged within the district as the children transition to
middle school and junior high school have pointed to the need for early intervention
and prevention at the preschool and elementary levels. Thus school officials
and university project personnel have developed an innovative project aimed at the
development of school-based teams in the area of behavior supports.
To initiate the newly formed partnership, the university project personnel and
school-based team from Adams Elementary formulated an agreement to establish
goals and objectives for the program and benchmarks for team progress.This agreement
also detailed roles and responsibilities of each team member and the appointed
role of the university technical assistance team. A special education teacher trained in
behavior supports, a school psychologist, a school counselor, an assistant principal, and
a general education teacher participated as team members. The university-based
technical assistance project consisted of one doctoral-level behavior analyst and two
graduate students who worked as partners with the local school-based team.
The next phase of the project implementation was to provide extensive in-service
training in the use of PBS for members from the school-based team.The purpose of
the in-service preparation phase was to ensure that all members of the team from
Adams Elementary and team members from the university-based behavior support
project were well versed in a common knowledge base. This knowledge base included
the principles of PBS, functional behavior assessment, behavior support plan
development, collaboration and consultation, and working in unison with families.The
purpose was to build a sense of community within Adams Elementary among all relevant
parties, including administrators, teachers, teaching assistants, cafeteria workers,
bus drivers, and administrative personnel.
Once the team at Adams Elementary and other school personnel received training
and were aware of the purpose of the project, the university-based technical assistance
team served as on-site consultants at the school.They began working with the local
school-based team in the delivery of PBS practices with children referred to the project.
They worked in tandem with classroom teachers and related education personnel
with identified children who were experiencing problematic behavior. Applications of
ISBN 0-558-42054-0
Behavior Management: Principles and Practices of Positive Behavior Supports, Second Edition, by John J. Wheeler and David Dean Richey. Published by Merrill.
Copyright © 2010 by Pearson Education, Inc.
Understanding Behavior in Children and Youth 29
PBS practices such as functional behavior assessment and development of behavior
support plans were implemented for children identified with such conditions as autism,
developmental disabilities, emotional/behavior disorders, attention deficit disorder, and
learning disabilities. The purpose of this phase was to model the implementation of
these practices for the school-based team and assist in problem solving as they began
to implement best and most effective behavior support practices for children within
classroom settings.As the team began to sharpen their skills and positive outcomes began
to be realized, teachers and administrators became more enthusiastic and supportive.
As the first year of the program concluded, school officials were pleasantly
surprised with the evaluation outcomes from the project, which included a reduction
in office referrals and incident reports and measures of teacher and family satisfaction.
During the second year of the program, the team began to generalize these practices
throughout the general school population and began involving students in the process
by establishing school policies that promoted a sense of community for the students
with the intent of improving school climate, such as school-wide incentives for appropriate
conduct and behavior.
The project has resulted in improvements at all levels (individual student, classroom,
and school-wide) and continues with intermittent involvement of the universitybased
technical assistance team. Adams Elementary has become a model school in
the district with its innovative approach to promoting positive student behavior
through the use behavior supports. This has resulted in the district using the team
from Adams Elementary as districtwide consultants to establish school-based teams
at other schools throughout the district.
Reflective Moment
1. How can such programs be developed within schools without the aid of
technical assistance teams?
2. What are some indicators of positive school climate based on your observations
within schools?
3. Identify some methods you could use to develop effective behavior support
teams within a school.
Vignette 1.3 illustrates the principles of PBS applied within a school-based
team context. It is based on an actual project that resulted in the systemic change
described within the vignette. The project continues to progress and refine its development
based on the projected trends and needs of children and youth within
the district. There will undoubtedly be more and more projects such as the one
described unfolding as state and local education agencies realize the efficacy of
PBS. It is anticipated that widespread implementation of these policies and practices
will occur as research findings relative to the efficacy of PBS for learners and
learning environments continue to be disseminated.
ISBN 0-558-42054-0
Behavior Management: Principles and Practices of Positive Behavior Supports, Second Edition, by John J. Wheeler and David Dean Richey. Published by Merrill.
Copyright © 2010 by Pearson Education, Inc.
30 Chapter 1
Consider This
? How does PBS fit or not fit with your theoretical orientation?
? What, in your view, are the strengths and limitations of PBS?
In this chapter the common theories used to understand behavior and development
in children and youth were described and include the biological, psychodynamic,
developmental, ecological, behavior, and social learning theories. The origins and
distinguishing features for each of the theories were described, and examples of
each theory applied to practice were presented. The major theorists were introduced,
as were their contributions to their respective fields, and the strengths and
limitations of each of the theoretical frameworks were also discussed.
Given the focus of this text, much attention was given to the development of the
behavioral viewpoint and the evolution and development of the field as it is today.
Related to the behavior model were the ecological and social learning perspectives,
given their close association with the behavior theory. The work of theorists such as
Uri Bronfenbrenner and Nicholas Hobbs (ecological theory) and Albert Bandura
(social learning theory) were highlighted. The application of their perspectives to
the understanding of human development and learning are most relevant toward
understanding how to apply behavior supports to children and youth.
The early history of the behavioral model applied to animal learning and the later
applications to complex human behaviors, pioneered by the work of Skinner and advanced
by such leaders as Bijou and others, were elaborated on. This included the development
of applied behavior analysis, the outgrowth of positive behavior supports,
and the application of these methodologies to learners and learning environments.
Applied vignettes provided throughout the chapter described how to generalize
the various theoretical frameworks discussed toward solving applied problems
involving children, families, and educational systems relative to the delivery of PBS.
Finally, the chapter closed with a section devoted to understanding the application of
PBS across learners and learning environments. A rationale for the use of PBS with
various types of learners and multiple learning environments was provided based on
the literature. The utility of these procedures was discussed relative to individual and
systemwide applications with children and within learning environments such as
classrooms and schools. The barriers to full-scale acceptance and implementation of
PBS, such as enhanced preservice and in-service training of teachers and related professionals,
systemwide implementation at the local and statewide educational agency
levels, and future trends in the development of the field, were examined.

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