Resources for Parents
Much of this website is dedicated to providing schools with resources to implement Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports. In addition to school efforts, active parent involvement within the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports process is highly desirable. The purpose of this section of the website is to provide parents and guardians with some suggestions and ideas for becoming actively involved with Positive Behavior Support at your child's school. The information is divided into two sections: Parent Involvement in Universal Intervention Planning and Parent Involvement in the Development of Individualized Behavior Intervention Plans.
Parent Involvement in Universal Intervention Planning
If you are not familiar with the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports model or the Universal Intervention tier of that model, it may be helpful for you read the section of the website on Universal Interventions. Universal Interventions are designed for all students, all settings, and all staff in the building. Universal Interventions are considered a proactive and instructive approach to behavior and discipline. By defining and teaching behavioral expectations, students actively learn how to make appropriate behavioral choices in social settings, a lifelong skill set. The role of adults within the Universal Intervention is to (a) clearly define and communicate what is expected of students, (b) explicitly teach behavioral expectations to students and utilize precorrection strategies to prompt appropriate behaviors, (c) provide students with positive feedback for following the expectations, and (d) use instructional corrective responses when undesired behavior occurs. Parent involvement on the Universal planning team encourages several positive outcomes including: (a) incorporating a home and community perspective into the development of interventions, (b) encouraging the development of better home-school communication strategies, and (c) encouraging carry over of Universal Interventions (e.g., providing praise for following school rules) into the home setting. To get involved in Universal Interventions at your child's school, consider the following strategies:
Find out what programs are occurring at your child's school . Ask the principal/case manager if your school is using the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports model.
Volunteer to be a parent representative on the Universal Intervention planning team or volunteer to assist with Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports related activities as needed.
Share information about Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports with school personnel . If your child's school is not currently using the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports model, share information (e.g., fact sheets or a print out from this website) with the principal, your child's teachers, and child study team personnel . Share information about Positive Behavior Support with your child's case manager or principal and discuss how implementing Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports can help improve the school's climate.
Recruit other parents to join with you . When sharing information about a new practice, it can be hard to be the "lone voice." Consider attending parent meetings or support groups to share information about Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports to get a broader base of parent support at your district.
Get Connected to Local and National Organizations. Local and national organizations offer parents an important source of information, networking, and resource about advocacy and PBSupport. Many organizations sponsor annual conferences, listservs, and newsletters that can offer parents helpful hints, resources, and education on PBSupport. Two key New Jersey organizations:
State-wide Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN):
Phone: 973 642-8100 ext. 123
Parent Involvement in the Development of Individualized Behavior Intervention Plans. Often, children and youth who engage in behaviors considered challenging by adults are perceived as needing services that are beyond the local school's expertise. However, with careful planning and attention to the Positive Behavior Support (PBSupport) process, local schools can successfully implement strategies that result in students with disabilities receiving services in general education settings. If you are not familiar with the PBSupport process to develop individualized behavior intervention strategies, you may find it helpful to review the section of the website titled: Mapping-out Behaviors. To get involved in developing an individualized behavior intervention plan using PBSupport for your child, consider the following strategies:
- Find out what is currently being done to support your child. First, begin by reviewing your child's evaluation reports and Individualized Education Plan (IEP) . You can use a checklist, such as the Positive Behavior Support Parent Checklist, (taken from Working Together: A Guide to Positive Behavior Support for Parents and Families) to determine the extent to which the PBS process is being used to develop and implement behavior support strategies for your child. You may want to request a meeting with your child's IEP team and ask what PBSupport strategies they are currently using to support your child. Use the checklist to plan for and reflect on the meeting.
- Attend planning meetings in person or by telephone. Sometimes it can be very difficult for parents to attend meetings at the school (e.g. work or child care commitments, transportation issues, etc.). Ideally, you should be present during the meeting as you may find it easier to not only ask questions, but to also get your questions immediately addressed. In addition, our body language is an important part of how we communicate with one another. Face-to-face interactions generally enhance a shared understanding about the current issue among individuals. However, if you can not be there in person, ask the school to call you and use a speakerphone so that you can still participate in the meeting.
- Speak up during meetings. You are an essential member of the IEP team and can provide valuable information about your child's strengths and needs to school staff. Make sure to share your expertise about your child at the meetings. For some parents though, attending meetings at their child's school can be an intimidating experience. It may be helpful to plan out what you want to say ahead of time. Some parents find it helpful to write out important points they want to make and practice those talking points. Consider bringing a family member or friend who can provide you with moral support.
- Educate yourself about individualized PBSupport. It is important that when you go into a meeting you know what to expect and what should be happening. There are many books, websites and conferences/workshops that provide parents with opportunities to learn about PBSupport. Being informed about current best practices empowers you to be a strong advocate on your child's behalf.
- Ask your child's case manager and teachers what you can do at home to support your child. Many PBSupport strategies and plans include skills that you can support at home (e.g., communication and social skills). Your child's case manager and teachers can provide you with detailed instructions about how to use the PBSupport strategies at home. Reinforcing the use of these strategies at school and home will help your child master these skills and be more successful in all settings. Your child's case manager and teachers can also help you develop a PBSupport plan that targets specific skills relevant to the home setting.