Behavioural Exceptionalities

Amber, Kasia, and Megan
Behaviour Exceptionality
Ontario Ministry of Education Definition
A learning disorder characterized by specific behaviour problems
over such a period of time, and to such a marked degree, and of
such a nature, as to adversely affect educational performance, and
that may be accompanied by one or more of the following:
a) An inability to build or to maintain interpersonal relationships;
b) Excessive fears or anxieties;
c) A tendency to compulsive reaction; or
d) An inability to learn that cannot be traced to intellectual, sensory, or
other health factors or any combination thereof.
A formal exceptionality, identified by an Identification Placement
and Review Committee (IPRC), in the category of Behaviour.
Research Tells Us:
Beyond difficult-to-manage behaviour, ADHD also includes
impairment in regions of the brain related to processes that are key for
Executive function allows us to develop and carry out plans, organize
ourselves and activities, inhibit actions, regulate emotions, and selfmonitor. It also directs academic performance and behaviour.
A diagnosis is based on developmentally inappropriate behavioural
symptoms that begin in pre-school years and tend to persist through
childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.3 These symptoms include
inattention, hyperactivity, and/or impulsivity.
Medical terminology often used:
• Mood disorders such as depression or bipolar disorders;
• Personality disorders;
• Conduct disorders including Oppositional Defiant Disorder or
Disruptive Disorder;
• Anxiety Disorders;
• Impulse Control disorders such as ADHD.
 -Create a known cueing system with student (a secret ‘code’) to indicate
lesson interaction
 -Provide written instructions with a checklist or other visual
 -highlight important text to draw attention to the main points of text
 -Alternate between active/inactive engaging classroom tasks
 -Give student extra responsibility (i.e. leadership role in classroom, hall
monitor, etc.)
 -Have student repeat instruction to class/table group
 -Keep a consistent schedule with clear, and often reminded, deadlines
 -Give student extra time to complete assignments
 -Allow student to audio record lessons for later review
 -Break large assignments into several smaller assignments to ensure
student is on-task
 -Maintain eye contact with student; vary tone of voice/volume/pace of
speaking to promote fluidity and engagement
 -Keep clear and scheduled contact with parent/guardian. Positive
communication will help student transition from school to home life
everyday day.
 Create seating for student where distractions are minimal
 Provide multiple work spaces for student to choose from daily
 Allow student to take breaks during class (head on desk, walk
down hallway, etc.)
 Allow student to use musical device for concentration purposes
 Allow concentration objects to be used (stress ball, chewing
 Provide quiet work periods for student
 Have a study buddy/group to keep student focused – more
 Create an extremely organized classroom space where all
materials/resources are always in its allotted place
Oral responses in lieu of written tasks
Break down larger assignments/ Give one task at a time
Differentiate lessons with more/less physical activity to suit
students’ needs
Reduce the number of ‘practice’ assignments – allow student to
stop once they have shown solid understanding of concept(s)
Following instruction on the student’s personal IEP
Assessment Strategies
Strategies and Suggestions Related to Assessment
 Provide clear, explicit expectations
 Create time lines
 Break down large tasks into smaller parts. Use positive reinforcement to make sure
student completes each part of the assignment.
 Simplify instructions, choices, and schedules
 Provide samples and frequent modeling of expectations so that students can visualize the
 Provide verbal and visual instructions
 Pair students to check each other’s work
 Provide checklists, graphic organizers, or outlines to help students organize their
 Permit and encourage student to explore different presentation methods (i.e.
demonstrations or dramatizations)
 Provide students to use computer software such as word-processors to write assignments
 Expect quality work over quantity of work
 Reduce work load if necessary
 Monitor student progress and provide feedback to keep student on track and build self
 Seek out and praise the student’s successes as much as possible
Assessment strategies
Allow alternative methods of assessment (e.g. oral or creative
 Allow student to make notes and elaborate verbally
 Divide the test into parts and give to the student one section at
a time
 Give student the option to be in a quite environment
 Allow student additional time to complete evaluation, if
 Read through instructions with student, clarify if necessary,
and ask student to rephrase in his/her own words
 Highlight key words or phrases
 Allow flexibility when answering questions
 Assign grades based on performance on certain aspects of the
evaluation (e.g. oral communication, organization, etc.)
 Provide prompts to keep the student on task
 Provide supervised breaks, if necessary
Adaptive Technology
Assistive technology for students with behavioral disorders
may be designed to help ease the stress associated with
classroom transitions.
It may also be designed to remind students on a regular
basis about expected classroom behaviors.
Examples of Adaptive Technology
Electronic Devices
Other Helpful Tools
Assistive technology does not necessarily need to be electronic in nature. Any helpful
device qualifies as assistive technology. Other helpful assistive technology tools that
may deter unacceptable behaviors include self-graphing behavior charts and social
story cards that help students know how to behave in certain situations.
Types of devices that may be beneficial for students with behavioral concerns include
specialized computer software that reminds students about tasks that need to be
accomplished and beeper or pagers that send out frequent reminders about tasks and
behavior expectations. Also, electronic organizers may be helpful for students with
behavioral issues because behavioral problems often occur when students do not
know what they should be doing. Simple timers or stop watches also may be used to
promote on-task behaviour.
Using assistive technology in the classroom not only benefits the students with
disabilities and behaviors problems but it also benefits the entire class because less
misbehavior results in more quality instruction time.
Before using assistive technology, teachers, teacher aids and the students who will use
the devices need to be thoroughly trained on how to use the devices properly. Training
ensures that the devices will be used correctly and will have the greatest possible
positive effect on the learning environment.
Equity Issues
Agency/Community Liaisons &
The Hincks-Dellcrest Centre
New Path Youth and Family Services of Simcoe County
Kinark Child and Family Services
Kids Help Phone
In School Support
Superintendents and Directors of Education
School Principals
Resource Teachers
Child and Youth Workers (CYW)
Education Assistant (EA)
Resource Materials, Web Sites, etc.
ADDitude – online magazine for persons successfully living
with ADD
Journal of Special Education Technology
The Ontario Curriculum Unit Planner: Special Education
Sources Consulted
The Ontario Curriculum Unit Planner: Special Education Companion
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
The Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat
The Ontario Curriculum Unit Planner: Special Education Companion

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