For every child with an IEP or 504 plan, contained in what feels like a mammoth amount of information is a list of goals and anticipated outcomes for the services that are being provided. In fact, goal progression and anticipated outcomes at the end of the year is the benchmark for the total education team and the parents. This information is very valuable to a parent because how well their child does (or doesn’t) will tell you what conversations you should be having with the special education team in terms of what adjustments can be made to improve the anticipated outcomes. Your student’s parents are also looking for evidence of progress to be demonstrated at home. What can you do to help parents in a way that an IEP/504 can help their child’s behavior at home?
How well a child does with behavior plans has a lot to do with consistency and follow through. For children on the autistic spectrum, conditional terms are hard to understand. If they need to do something at school for a desired outcome, not needing to at home can cause frustration and hinder progress. “Why do I have to use social strategies at school but not at home?,” “How come they work at school but get ignored by my family?” These are the situations that send autistic children into spirals of anger and tantrums. Avoiding these outbursts at home could be as simple as making sure whatever behavioral/social strategies are being worked on at school are being mirrored at home as closely as possible.
An IEP/504 Plan Can Help Your Student’s Behavior At Home By Helping Parents Follow The Same Cues
For most behavioral/social goals on IEPs and 504 plans, following a set of cues to achieve a desired outcome is what is worked on throughout the school year. For instance, if you want an adult to pay attention to what you have to say, you need to make sure they are not talking to someone else and get their attention by saying, “Excuse me.” This is a simple exchange a lot of adults and children follow automatically, but it is harder for children who are working on social strategies in school and usually need prompting when the strategies are not being followed.
How do you know what the strategies are if you are not familiar with them? For the parent, understanding your child’s social/behavioral strategies in their IEP/504 plan will help them realize how an IEP/504 plan can help their child’s behavior at home, especially if you are able to communicate why this is important for making progress all around. If your student needs to follow a process for getting an adult’s attention in school, such as the one outlined above, then the key to this process being ingrained into a regularly used social strategy is requiring it be used at all times, including their home.
It is also helpful to make sure other adults who normally interact with your student, such as a grandparent, are also aware of the social strategies being worked on, why they are being worked on and getting their commitment to following them also. Everyone working together toward a desired outcome will make the child feel more confident in utilizing their social/behavioral strategies and will be more apt to apply them freely.
Utilizing Your Student’s IEP/504 Social/Behavioral Strategies at Home Can Help Parents and Specialists Better Understand What Is Working And What Isn’t
When parents are actively involved in understanding what the social and/or behavioral strategies are in an IEP/504 plan and are implementing them at home, the opportunities to flag what is not working and make adjustments to the strategies early on can have a much more positive outcome for the student. How can a parent see for themselves what doesn’t work for their child if they are not trying to model the same behavioral strategies and observe the outcome like you are?
"School communities that spend time and intentional effort putting emotional deposits in the bank accounts of students see tremendous benefits both academically and socially." - Starr Sackstein
Active involvement and early intervention as needed, will increase your student’s confidence in following through with their own behavior plans if they understand that everyone involved wants them to succeed. An IEP/504 plan can help your student’s behavior at home if they know that they can communicate when they don’t think a strategy is working for them in any given situation, or why they think things work well at school but not at home. Communication and collaboration with your student about their social/behavioral strategies makes them feel in charge of their own outcomes, thus leading to a greater success rate overall.
Collaboration With The Special Education Team Makes It All Work Together
When you want to collaborate with your student’s whole education team and “outside of school” support professionals, how do you do that? If you are like most, you are frustrated by the lack of connectivity between all of the people trying to help your student. Emails, phone calls, making copies of paperwork to hand out, isn’t there an easier way?
eCare Vault is the first solution of its kind to connect a team of education and behavioral health professionals around one child and get them collaborating in real time, all from the convenience and HIPAA and FERPA security of an app on any handheld device. What if you could just invite a new support professional to the information already being collaborated on by other professionals so they can jump in and participate immediately? What if talking about your student’s IEP/504 plan’s social/behavioral strategies and outcomes was as simple as starting the conversation from your handheld device? How about taking videos of your student’s behavior when it happens and posting for all involved in their education goals to see? The reasons to use eCare Vault to unlock your student’s full learning potential are endless. Find out more about eCare Vault and how it can help your students and their special education team(s) today!