Functional Communication Training: Why It's More Than Just "Use Your Words"

Last time I talked about some beginning considerations in replacement skills.  Today I want to talk about one of the most common type of replacement skills: communication skills.  Functional Communication Training (FCT) is teaching specific communication skills that serve the same function as the challenging behavior.  It's probably one of the most common forms of replacement skills that we use.  We reference it all the time whenever we tell a student, "Use your words."  However, replacing challenging behavior with communication isn't as simple as that.  If it was as simple as that, we could just redirect and move on and the problem would no longer exist.  And repeating "Use your words" multiple times isn't going to do it either.  So what is FCT and how do we use it? Let's talk about that today.

Functional Elementary Classroom Elements

I am so excited about this blog post....partly because it's mostly pictures.  And let's face it, on a Thursday and Friday, who has time to read!  I was lucky enough to do some consulting this week and to visit a school where a teacher told me she had bought stuff from my TPT store.  So I went by her room to take a look and was excited to not only get to see some of my products in action, but to see this great classroom set up of functional centers she has set up in her room.  I asked her if I could take some pictures and share them with you because I really love her ideas!  So thank you Mrs. Gaines of East Ridge Elementary School for letting me share!!  So now, less words, more pictures!

What Are Replacement Behaviors and What Do We Need To Know to Be Effective?

Thanks to I Teach
What's Your Superpowers for Clipart
So, how are you surviving the beginning of the year? Class set up? Schedule set (does it ever really get finalized??).  At this point in the series, we are ready to move on to the second part of the behavior support plan--the teaching parts.  If you haven't seen the post on the format of a behavior support plan, check here.  There is a freebie, so go ahead and check it out and I'll wait.

OK, ready to continue?  This section of the support plan is divided up into 2 components: teaching replacement skills and teaching ancillary skills (or skills the student needs but that aren't necessarily related to the function of the behavior).  Before we get started on specific skills in each area, let me clear up a few frequently asked questions about them.

Workbasket Wednesday-September 2014 Edition: Quick and Easy Tasks

Welcome to Workbasket Wednesday!  This is a time for us to all indulge our love for work tasks that work in independent structured work systems and capitalize on the visual strengths of many of our students to address their need to learn to work independently, maintain learned skills and generalize their skills across different materials.  If you want to link up, see the end of the post for directions and the link up.  If you don't have a blog, you can link up as well by leaving photos in the comments or messaging them to me on Facebook and I'll share them.

Since we just started September, many of you have just started back to school while others have been back in the classroom long enough to get to know your students.  So, I thought today, I would focus on tasks that are fast and easy to set up so you can expand your work tasks quickly.

5 Ways to Prep Students to Prevent Challenging Behavior: Antecedent Strategies

To read more of the series on challenging behavior click HERE.

So, in this post I want to finish up talking about antecedent strategies by talking about ways to prepare a student prior to a situation that may be related to challenging behavior so that the student can get through the activity productively and without difficulty.  Sometimes preparing someone before they have to manage a difficult situation can help them manage their behavior.  Think of it as when you remind your significant other that we decided to try not to argue with the in-laws during the dinner tonight.  We all do it, it's just a matter of making the preparation clear and meaningful for our students--and planning the time to be able to do it.  Here are some ways that we can prepare students to help their behavior be more successful.

6 Ways to Change Task Presentation to Prevent Challenging Behavior: Antecedent Strategies

To check out the rest of this series on 5 Steps to Meaningful Behavioral Support, click HERE.

If this series proves nothing else, it is that addressing and preventing challenging behavior is a complex, complicated, long job...and it is. But there are some things you can do that will prevent challenging behaviors just in the way you present tasks to students.  These will work well if you have a student whose FBA showed that the behavior served to escape from demands from staff or parents.  Essentially these are strategies that will lessen the student's negative response to task demands by making them easier, more interesting, and/or more palatable in some way so they are more likely to comply.  And let's face it, increased compliance, and decreased challenging behavior is a win-win for you and the student.  So, let's look at some strategies.

3 Ways to Adjust the Physical Space to Prevent Challenging Behavior

If you are looking for the special education blog hop and the freebies and giveaway, click HERE.

Today I am continuing with the antecedent strategies for preventing challenging behavior in step 4 of 5 Steps to Meaningful Behavioral Support.  To see the rest of the series click HERE.

Sometimes, preventing challenging behavior can be as simple as changing around the furniture.  And sometimes it helps to have the furniture you need. Since many of us are setting up classrooms for the school year, today I want to talk about how the physical arrangement of the environment can affect challenging behaviors.

We Love Special Education Teachers!!! Blog Hop & Giveaway!!



I am super excited about this week!  So much is going on!  First we have this awesome giveaway and tomorrow is a TPT one-day boost sale!!  Whoo hoo!  I am particularly excited about this post because this is a blog hop designed and brought to you exclusively for special education.  So often we have to adapt or choose the things that will work for our classrooms, but not this time.  This time the freebies and the giveaways are JUST FOR Special Educators.  That's not to say that others can't use them-because we special educators know that everything we do can be effective for all students, not just special education.  So, let's show them how it's done!  Check out the awesome giveaways below (I have one in each age group because you know how important I think it is for all ages to have cool learning stuff!  Then check out the freebies at the end of the post and hop over to the next blog for more freebies--rinse and repeat 24 times!

5 Types and Functions of Visual Supports--Antecedent Interventions for Behavioral Support

In continuing the series 5 Steps to Meaningful Behavioral Support, we are on Step 4 of creating the behavior plan and choosing interventions.  Remembering that our interventions must match our hypotheses, one of the first sets of strategies we use are often referred to as antecedent interventions because they address the antecedents to the challenging behavior based on your FBA.  As you will remember (or click here to be reminded), one of the huge advantages of using a function-based approach to behavior support is that you can address behaviors before they happen to avoid them all together through prevention.  So, today I'm going to talk about some of the more common antecedent strategies we might use.

Addressing Setting Events in Meaningful Behavioral Support

Do you remember that I was doing a series on behavioral support?  Yea, well I feel like you must think I forgot about the most important part--INTERVENTION!  What good does it do to complete a killer FBA if we don't have rockin' interventions that actually reduce challenging behavior??  So, no, I have not forgotten...just got a bit distracted.  But now we shall continue.  If you want to catch the rest of the series, you can do that HERE.

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