Why is it important to consider the interaction between behavior and academics when providing intensive interventions?

Question: Why is it important to consider the interaction between behavior and academics when providing intensive interventions?

Answer: Generally there are some good ideas of why you should look at the interaction between behavior and academic supports. First of all, there has been some research to say that schools that offer school-wide programs for an integrated model for behavior and reading have found better outcomes than the behavior only models. Secondly, related to that, is that if you are implementing positive behavior supports you are recovering time that would have been lost dealing with…addressing problem behavior, and that time could be better used for improving academic instruction. 

For example, schools that implement a good reading instruction will reduce problem behaviors and good instruction, good academic instruction, if it’s geared towards a student’s success level, if it includes things like frequently…frequent opportunities to respond…good instruction can reduce problem behaviors. So that is one important reason.

When you are looking at intensive supports, there may be a cycle that begins to occur, where a student is presented with academic content that he or she is unable to perform successfully and then that student may engage in problem behavior that results in escaping from that task. So when that occurs it’s interesting the cycle that goes on. The student escapes from the task, there is less instruction time, and then they are more likely to engage in problem behavior to escape in the future. So what we have been noticing is that at times when a student is referred for a problem behavior, referred to a team-approach for a problem behavior, what may happen is that the student may come out with a behavior intervention plan and the risk is there may be some issues where the academic problems contribute to the problem behavior. So when a student is referred for a problem behavior, we are suggesting that, if it looks like, through a functional behavior assessment, if it looks like that the student is engaged in the behavior to escape or avoid an academic task, we are suggesting that not only is a behavior plan appropriate, but that plan should also have an academic component to address the deficit area, the deficit academic area. On the other hand, if a student is referred for an academic problem, we are suggesting that there should be some consideration to see if the student has behavior that interferes with learning opportunities, and if that is the case, not only would they need an academic intervention plan, but they would also need a behavior plan to address the recovering of academic time.

Developed By: 
National Center on Intensive Intervention