How to Deal with Any Kind of Behavior Problem
Isn’t that a catchy title? Now I just have to back it up with something worthy to say. Why don’t I start off with telling you a little bit about my background so that you know where I am coming from when I write about behavior management I have a Master’s degree in Special Education. I have volunteered on psychiatric hospital wards for children and adolescents with a wide range of challenges ranging from autism to Bipolar Disorder. My schooling required two years of internships where I worked with multiply disabled children at a school for the blind, I acted as an aide in what was considered a cross categorical classroom, and I also student taught in a classroom for children with psychological and/or behavioral problems.
It was a bit of sink or swim situation as there are no textbooks to fully prepare you for teaching children with such a huge range of challenges and disabilities. I learned to teach children with ADHD, autism, visual impairments, hearing loss or deafness, children with cerebral palsy, burn victims, children with psychiatric problems, conduct disorders, children who had been abused, children with mental retardation and children who had multiple diagnoses.
One thing I can tell you is that learning how to teach was the easy part of my training. But if you ask any special education teacher they are going to tell you that the hardest part of the job is dealing with so many difficult and challenging behaviors at once. You are lucky if you get to actually teach a child because so much of your time may be spent with behavior management. Many budding teachers leave the field because of this and because they are not given adequate training to deal with the behavioral problems one can encounter in the classroom.
After all this experience I had with children and teens I ended up getting a job working with adults having multiple disabilities. My official title (which they kept changing) was Developmental Specialist. I was assigned a group of clients to work with to teach them everything from work skills to how to use the bathroom. Many of the goals I developed were also behavior management goals. So by this time I had experience working with an age range including babies to senior citizens. Those years were very intense and I learned a lot through trial by fire.
When I use the generic term of “behaviors” let me be more precise. I was helping clients who were sometimes violent. I have been hit, kicked, punched, and spit on. I have had to dodge flying fists, tables and chairs. I have seen tics, obsessions, compulsions, and what we would call stims or self stimulating behaviors. On any given day I could be dealing with a client who could not stop laughing to one man who liked to run up to the bell tower (I was working in a church basement) strip off his clothes, and urinate. When this act was completed he would squeal like a banshee, delighted with his efforts. It was never dull work I can tell you that.
Life has a funny way of preparing you for future experiences. When I quit my job to stay home with my two baby boys I had no clue that my youngest son would be diagnosed with autism. All this training in dealing with such a wide range of behaviors came in handy when my son began to exhibit symptoms of both autism and ADHD. Again, I learned how to help my son through trial and error.
If anyone tells you there is some easy way to deal with behavioral issues they are downright lying or they have had no experience. With all my education, training, and on the job experience I am still winging it on some days with my son. Children have a way of coming up with things you never dreamed of like painting a palm tree on your wall or attempting to make a campfire in your bathroom with Lincoln logs. Surprise!
Which brings me back to the title of this article.
In all these years I think I can honestly say that I have dealt with most types of behaviors. I have used many different approaches and methods in an effort to decrease negative behaviors and increase behaviors you do want to see. Have I always been successful? Not by a long shot. But I have always been able to devise a plan and at least make that attempt to make someone’s life a little better. When behaviors are interfering with your child’s quality of life or the quality of your family life then it is time to do something.
We are here to help.
The great thing about ADHD Central is that you have three writers here including me, Eileen Bailey, and Deborah Gray who share something vital in common. We are all parents of children who have challenges. We have all been there and done that. Whatever you are going through there is a good chance that we can relate.
Now we need your help to help you.
I would like to generate a list of behavioral issues which you would like us to write about. I am going to give you some links to articles we already have on the site and with your assistance we can add to this list.
Please do let us know more about the types of information you would like most to see on this site. We need your input. You are the most important part of this community and we would like this to be more of a conversation instead of a one sided deal where we writers just spew out posts. So if you have something to say we want to hear it.
Here are some behavior management articles from our site to get you started: