Scenario – Identifying behaviour and triggers

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Before the behaviour

Educator tells children, “Time to pack away, put the trains away.” There was no warning provided. The other children follow instructions and begin to pack away the train set. Ben was playing with this and instantly reacts to the request.

The behaviour

Ben begins throwing the materials, runs around the room and returns hitting another child in the face with a train. The child who was hit was packing away the train set.

Step 1 Manage the behaviour

The following doesn’t help child or educators.

The educator tells Ben that it wasn’t the right thing to do and to say sorry. Educator encourages Ben to ‘use his words’. The educator who initially started the packing away transition comforts the child who has a red mark on his face. The other educator is unsure of how to respond so continues to transition the other children to the group time mat.

A better approach – What could have happened?

Educators could have:

  • introduced warning bells, visual cards or clear instructions the child responds to support the transition of packing away
  • allowed children to pack away in stages and let Ben leave his track out for later
  • used a visual board with two steps – ‘first’ and ‘then’ showing images of what will be happening.
  • added a picture of a train to Ben’s visual routine
  • supported Ben with routine of packing away and involved him in preparing group time to eliminate meltdown occurring.

Step 2 Identify the purpose of the behaviour

Now that everyone is busy and out of Ben’s way he can continue to play trains.

Step 3 Plan of intervention

Critically reflect on the situation to see that no warning was given to Ben and that he was only aggressive to the other child because the educator didn’t carefully plan the transition and implement the types of steps discussed above.

Step 4 Replace behaviour

When a child has a meltdown provide an area for the child to self regulate. Rather than stopping the behaviour replace it eg let a child throw beanbags at the brick wall or into a bucket.

Step 6 Reward for replacement behaviour or following tasks using supports.

When a child packs away they get to choose a sensory item from their reinforcement kit.


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