Teachers generally try to motivate children to perform well and cooperate with classroom rules with the use of praise, encouragement, and privileges. For many children with Asperger’s Disorder, these behavioral techniques are insufficient and the child is often found to disrupt the teacher and classmates. For such children, either the parent or teacher may request the assistance of a behaviorist to perform a behavioral functional assessment.
In this special type of assessment, a behaviorist will observe your child in the classroom, looking for when the problem behavior arises, what triggers it, what consequences are used, and how effective the consequences are. The behaviorist is looking for underlying causes of the problem behavior to determine if it can be prevented.
If the behaviorist determines that a behavior-modification program is likely to be successful in decreasing or eliminating the behavior, she will design a plan. The goal is to modify the behavior so that the child will be able to remain in the general education classroom. The behaviorist will train the teacher how to implement the plan. The plan will generally involve one or more specific behaviors with methods to prevent them, rewards to give, and methods to keep track of success.