Generalization and Maintenance

  1. Tommy is a 2nd grade student who is functioning one grade level below in math, reading, and written language. He was referred for special education evaluation but the results indicated he did not have a disability. He is in a classroom with 28 other students. The teacher indicated that he works well when he is interested in the assigned task but not when the task seems too difficult for him. No homework is completed and so he is made to complete the work during recess.

During observations he attended during instructional time, but was off task and disruptive during independent seatwork. The function of his behavior was identified as positive reinforcement – attention and negative reinforcement – activity.

Although his behaviors occurred in both reading and math, math was identified as the class in which the intervention will begin.

Target behavior: Disruptive behavior that includes loud talking, yelling across the room to other students, wandering the classroom, and refusal to work.

Replacement behavior: On-task that includes working on his assigned task and raising his hand when he needs help.

Tommy cannot complete math or reading assignments because he doesn’t have the prerequisite skills.  Although there are many good practices in the classroom, the antecedent conditions do not represent best practice. The teacher does not check to ensure the students understand the assignment before beginning independent seat work, does not provide reminders, and she tries to address Tommy’s behavior by speaking to him from across the room.

The intervention consists of

Method Elements Resulting Intervention Components
Adjust antecedent conditions to make it more likely the replacement behavior will occur
  • Remind the class at the beginning of independent work that it is necessary to raise their hand to be called on
  • Assist Tommy as he begins his independent work to ensure that he understands directions and is doing the work
  • Ensure that Tommy is provided additional assistance to practice skills that are lacking; this will be done during reteach from 2:00-2:30 daily, as well as beginning Tier 3 intervention with Tommy entering a math tutoring group four times weekly during the day.
  • If Tommy is working but indicates he is having difficulty with the activity, allow him to work in the student teacher’s small group
Provide the consequence that previously reinforced the target behavior, but only for the replacement behavior
  • Provide praise every three minutes when Tommy is working independently on his classwork. This will be gradually increased as his on task improves
  • Provide opportunity at the end of each day for Tommy to choose from the treasure box
Withhold the consequence when the target behavior occurs
  • Tommy will be briefly redirected and then the teacher will ignore Tommy when he is not working independently as assigned
  • Do not allow Tommy to be removed to receive more 1:1 attention in the student teacher’s small group when he demonstrates target behavior
  • Students will be instructed to ignore Tommy when he is demonstrating the target behavior
  • Tommy will complete assignments

The intervention was successful.  Tommy was on task an average of 78% during week 1 and 96% during week two. After two months, he was consistently on task during math 95% of the time.

  1. Identify any of the plan’s intervention strategies (i.e., strategies in the box above) that will help ensure generalized behavior change (i.e., both maintenance and generalization). Include the name of the strategy listed in the book and the intervention strategy (above) that addresses it. Explain your selection.
  2. Develop a plan to ensure maintenance using additional strategies identified in the book.
  3. Identify whether stimulus generalization is needed. If yes, develop a plan using additional strategies identified in the book.
  4. How might Tommy’s responses generalized? Be specific about the responses and any strategies in the plan or that you might implement to ensure response generalization. If appropriate, use the journal article as a reference.
  5. Briefly describe an intervention plan you’ve implemented in the past. What did you do to ensure maintenance? If nothing, what could you have added that would ensure maintenance? This can be a behavior or academic intervention. If you don’t have an example, let me know immediately.

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