After years of practice with Matthew, (I have the wrinkles and scars to prove it,) I consider myself THE expert aggression and meltdown neutralizer. (Learn one of my techniques HERE.)

But for many families living with a child with autism, managing aggression and frustration is a lot more complicated than talking in soothing tones. Imagine how difficult it must be to manage disruptive behaviors in a busy and overstimulating school setting.

“Students with disabilities who display serious problem behaviors are frequently educated in alternative school settings,” says Lisa Britton,Vice President of Clinical Services at Spectrum Center, headquartered in San Pablo, Ca.

Public school districts throughout California turn to Spectrum schools and programs for students with behavior challenges associated with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other special needs. Spectrum provides personalized, evidence-based educational services for non-traditional learners in collaboration with families and school districts.

One of the most successful approaches that Spectrum uses is School-Wide Positive Behavior Support (SWPBS), an evidence-based and systematic approach to managing and rewarding positive behaviors. It’s based on principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).

A recent three-year case study at Spectrum by Lisa Britton, Dale Young (also of Spectrum) and Brandi Simonsen of University of Connecticut showed an overall decrease in serious incidents with SWPBS. There was also an increase in the number of students who refrained from physical displays of aggression.

The idea behind SWPBS is to establish school-wide rules such as “Be safe, be respectful and be responsible.” With School-Wide Positive Behavior Support:

  1. Universal interventions support all students and include establishing, teaching and posting a small number of positively stated expectations or rules; developing and implementing a school-wide reinforcement system, and increasing the consistency with which consequences (both rewards and corrective actions) are applied.
  2. Targeted-group interventions support small groups of students with higher intensity needs and may include a behavior education program, intensive social skills training and other similar evidence- based interventions.
  3. Individualized interventions support students who display high frequency or high intensity problem behavior. They include individualized, function-based and positive behavior intervention plans, and even more intensive and coordinated supports that are provided consistently in all environments and among all people in a student’s life.

Spectrum believes that all students can succeed academically, behaviorally and socially. The ultimate goal is to facilitate students’ successful transition back into public schools or into adult life after high school completion whenever possible.

An Individual Transition Plans is written for students who are 16 years of age or older. Supports are provided for students transitioning back to a school district placement or students transitioning to adult placements.

Spectrum engages students in functional age-appropriate activities, uses positive reinforcement and interventions for social skills development, and develops an individual transition plan for all students.

To learn more about Spectrum Schools and Programs, GO HERE.

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