New Beginnings’ mission is to provide learning opportunities that enable each child to develop to the fullest extent of his or her ability. We believe that we can accomplish this goal in a structured, positive and caring atmosphere, characterized by warmth and happiness. Each child, therefore, is offered the special care, attention, and support that he or she individually requires during the school day.
New Beginnings stresses that the faculty and staff employ behavior management techniques to systematically improve socially significant behavior in order to improve each child’s quality of life to a meaningful degree. Through individualized teaching strategies inappropriate behaviors are specifically replaced with socially acceptable behaviors that serve the same function. Students are, therefore, not punished for emitting inappropriate behaviors, but are taught replacement behaviors instead.
Behavior modification principles are consistently implemented throughout the day, emphasizing positive behavioral supports to reinforce desirable behavior whenever possible. Listed below is an overview of the techniques that New Beginnings utilizes with our students.
Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA)
Behavior Analysis offers empirically proven strategies for evaluating the functional and communicative meaning of behavior. The data collected in regard to student performance or behavior reduction provides continuous, useful, objective assessments of progress. With this data, team members are able to determine effectiveness of current teaching techniques as well as determine future goals related to individual students.
Reinforcement of Appropriate Behavior
During the school day, appropriate behavior is rewarded through the use of verbal praise and social attention such as smiles and high fives. For many students, the use of tangibles and/or edible rewards, have been deemed necessary in order to increase the frequency of appropriate behavior within a child’s repertoire. Reinforcement inventories are filled out by parents at the beginning of each school year and updated at least one other time during a school year. This information helps staff to determine and keep updated on what motivates each child. Reinforcement schedules related to degree and rate of delivery are also individualized to meet each child’s specific needs.
Special Applications of Behavior Change
In any given classroom, one may observe the use of special applications such as token economy systems, contingency contracts and even self-management procedures. Each of these behavior management tools are implemented on an individual basis and are based on specifically defined behaviors targeted for reduction. Through the use of special applications students learn to gain access to rewards by emitting the incompatible behavior or an alternative behavior from the one targeted for reduction. We, at New Beginnings, believe that through the use of special applications students learn to replace inappropriate behaviors with socially acceptable behaviors.
Individualized Behavior Plans
Behavior management plans are utilized with students on an individual basis. If a plan is deemed necessary, components within a plan are driven by the finding, within a formal functional assessment, via data collection and analysis. All plans include a definition of the behavior targeted for reduction, data analysis including baseline and treatment data analysis, a functional assessment of the behavior based on the data collected within baseline and treatment phases of a plan. Plans also include a teaching component designed to help the students make contact with reinforcement for emitting alternative behaviors that serve the same function as the one targeted for reduction. Also included in each plan is a proposed treatment that describes the most effective way to react to a student following an occurrence of inappropriate behavior, as well as, how to best de-escalate the student to prevent additional occurrences. Along with teaching strategies and treatments, behavior management plans also include the necessary data collection procedures, rationale for treatment and any potential risk that may occur as the result of treatment. Behavior management plans are shared with the sending district’s child study team members and are considered a component of the student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP).
Crisis Prevention Intervention and Handle With Care
The staff at New Beginnings is also trained in Crisis Prevention Intervention and Handle with Care techniques. At times, staff may need to employ therapeutic holds and assisted transport for students in crisis. It is our policy to notify all parents if their child requires any of these therapeutic holds. Parents are also made aware of the potential need for such techniques as they may be a part of a student’s individual behavior management plan.