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Strategies for Returning to School after a Break
The transition from a break back to school can be difficult for children.  Professionals and parents can make the return easier with a few simple strategies:  1. Review Classroom Rules and School Policies - One of the first things to do when children...
Pitfalls in School-Based Behavior Modification Plans
The author, who trained as a behaviorist, has used behavioral techniques for the past 30+ years across a variety of applications and settings. Over the years, I have noticed some common errors individuals make if they were not rigorously trained in behavioral psychology. In this section, I...
Reflections of a Former "Rat Runner"
Did My Professors Lie, or Did They Just Not Anticipate My Kids?As a psychologist who trained in the 1960's and early 1970's, I grew up in a generation and program that was heavily behaviorally oriented. B. F. Skinner was my "god," and while my presumably misguided clinical...
Limits Of Behavior Modification
One of the things I learned in my training as a behavioral psychologist is to know the limits of your technology, and to see if there is any basis for applying behavioral technology to a particular behavior. When it comes to children's behavior, however, a lot of people claim to know what to...
Hone Your Skills When Using Reinforcers and Reprimands
Some parents and teachers are extraordinarily adept at the effective use of praise, reprimands, and behavioral interventions, but most parents and teachers of “high maintenance” children can benefit from some pointers or tips, so here are a few tips. To increase the effectiveness of...
Functional Behavioral Assessment
PREFACEWhen the U.S. federal law regulating special education was reauthorized in 1997, it revised the way schools were supposed to address disability-related problem behaviors. One of the new requirements was that school districts conduct a "Functional Behavioral Assessment" (FBA) to...
Does it Pass “The Acid Test?”
Leslie E. Packer, PhDMany problematic “behaviors” may actually be symptoms of a student’s neurological condition. This does not mean that you shouldn’t or can’t address them, but it does add another layer of complexity because symptoms may not be modifiable via...
"A Rose By Any Other Name...."
One of the most frequent questions I get from parents and school personnel is "How do I know if this is a symptom or a behavior?" My usual reply is "Why do you want to know? Is it because if you think it's a behavior, you might use negative consequences, whereas if it's a...
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