FUNCTION: All Behavior Serves a Purpose

Students at Risk

Supports to Meet Students’ Needs: Reinforcers Based on Motivation(s)


Adult Attention

=         Have adult work with students

=         Have adult provide frequently scheduled attention with specific performance feedback

=         Provide opportunities to meet with teacher outside of class time

=         Provide opportunities to help the teacher

=         (If/When) adult is occupied, assign student more preferred activity


Peer Attention

=         Provide opportunities to help peers

=         Provide opportunities to assist in a class job

=         Pair student with peer

=         Use peer tutoring or mentoring

=         Offer earned “free time” with a friend

=         Provide opportunity to lead a group or be “teacher for the day/lesson”

=         Display work/photos of student on bulletin board

=         Offer awards (award system)



=         Teach and reinforce clear communication skills to request desired activities/items

=         Use “First/Then” strategy – First complete the task/Then get the desired activity/item

=         Use token economy with reward(s) students can choose

=         Use “Working Toward” model – Identify preferred activity/item and outline incremental steps to reach the goal of getting the activity/item



Sensory Stimulation

=         Provide “fidget” stress ball or other item(s) for student to occupy hands

=         Provide tactile/sensory pad (i.e. Velcro under the desk)

=         Provide a “foot stretcher” – Thera-band around the legs of the desk

=         Provide a weighted lap stuffed animal to increase proprioceptive (unconscious perception of movement) input and reduce popping out of chair


Adult Attention

=         Have student work with peers (buddies, partners, group, etc.)

=         Provide visual supports to get/keep student on-task – Visual schedules, First/Then Board, Contingency Map, Cue Cards

=         Provide opportunities for Think-Pair-Share

=         Teach appropriate “I need a break” signal

Avoid Escape


=         Provide structured choice of group or individual task completion

=         Provide appropriate use of “reset room” or “break room”

=         Provide extra computer time

=         Stay inside or join a preferred teacher/adult during lunch



=         Adjust demand difficulties of task – shorted activity, provide frequent breaks, use pleasant voice

=         Use activity sequencing – include easy/brief problems among longer and more difficult problems

=         Offer structured choices – work on-task at desk or at table

=         Offer equal choice(s):

=         Materials/resources – Apps, computer games, manipulatives

=         Knowledge demonstration – written report, diagrams, presentation, debates, recorded report, demonstration

=         Work place – desk, carpet, front/back table, library, quiet place, seating accommodation

=         Task to complete – sequence the order of tasks, when to complete task, with whom to complete task

=         Increase interest – solicit ideas and input for task/activity

=         Incorporate student hobbies/interest into task/activity

=         Change medium/materials

=         Replace pencil/paper with computer or vice versa

=         Assurance - clearly communicate meaningful task outcome

=         Provide multiple means of representation, action and expression, and engagement

=         Write and read social stories

=         Use Behavioral Momentum (making easy request of student before making challenging/difficult request)

=         Modify instructional delivery – direct instruction, video, choral response, peer tutoring, computer assisted instruction

=         Increase opportunities to respond – individual white boards, response cards, response clickers, signaling (thumbs up/down), moving activities, guided notes

=         Provide limited amounts of homework passes, tardy passes

=         Provide additional free time, extra time to read/preferred activity

=         Provide cues for transition – visual, non-verbal, auditory


Sensory Input

=         Provide sensory breaks

=         Teach student appropriate ways to request a break

=         Allow student to go to a “safe space,” “quiet room,” or “reset room” that is prearranged

=         Provide student with opportunity to leave the classroom – restroom pass, run errand to office

=         Provide extra time to read in quiet area

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