Does Your Child Have A Positive Behavior Plan?

Does your child struggle with behaviors that others may not understand? Is your child constantly being punished?

All IEPs allocate a portion to discuss behavior plans that may be needed for a student. More often than not, many of the strategies are progressively punitive. This means that the first step is moving from green to red, the the next consequence will result in removing a portion of the day that the student finds enjoyable, and so on. While a small group of students may find this effective, there is very little research that punitive actions will replace bad behavior.

Here are tips to consider if your child’s behavior is impacting their education.

  • What is the function of the behavior? Many behavioralist would argue that all behaviors have an antecedent. This means that behaviors (good or bad) are done for a reason. In and ideal situation, if the antecedents are addressed, the behaviors should no longer be present. Consider having an Functional Behavior Analysis done to help identify the function of the behavior. These assessments can be done by a behavioralist and can be paid for by the school district. The observation component will be done in various settings.
  • Is the behavior a result of the child’s disability? Many factors should be considered when making this determination. Do not wait until the behavior has become an issue and the student is now being considered for school-wide consequences. This can be considered during an FBA and sharing information about the disability that impacts your child’s behavior can be helpful. This is when a good relationship with the CST helps. Don’t be afraid to provide additional research to parents, teachers, and case managers. No one can possibly read every piece of research that is available. Having discussions prior to a manifestation determination meetings can be very impactful.
  • Is your child ever rewarded for doing what is right? More and more schools are moving towards Multi-teired Systems of Supports (MTSS). One of the models is Positive Behavior Supports in Schools (PBSIS). This program should be done on a school-wide level and then additional supports should be provided to students, classified or not, to help them find strategies for replacing negative behavior with positive. Many schools use a token reward system where students are provided with a ticket when they are “caught” following the school rules. This reinforces positive choices.
  • Be consistent! One of the major struggles with parents and teachers is to find balance between everyday unavoidable occurrences and structure. If the behavior was wrong yesterday, it is wrong today, and it will be wrong tomorrow. Work with a behavioralist to determine the best method of building continuity between home and school.
  • Teach your expectations. Teaching expected behavior is often over looked, especially as children become older. It is assumed that they should know appropriate behavior. Teachers, school staff, and family members should teach and model appropriate behaviors in a variety of environments.

To help your child, communication is invaluable. Sharing inform about your child and how their disability impacts their behavior will help to avoid unnecessary punitive consequences. Focus on your child’s strengths and reinforce when they exhibit appropriate behavior.

Remember that a child’s worth is not determined through their behavior. Identify the behavior as good or bad, if necessary, but never the child.

What is ESY and is it Right for My Child?

ESY or Extended School Year is an option for many children with specialized education plans.  Many people think of ESY as a form of summer school or tutoring to better prepare their child for September and maybe even make gains! This is not always accurate.

What is ESY?

While ESY is designed to prepare your child for September, it is not an expectation that students will make significant gains. In fact, ESY is designed to help students maintain skills that were taught throughout the year. This decision to attend ESY is made by the IEP team on an individual basis. The ESY services should be at no cost to the parents. Preschoolers that are classified as Preschool Disabled are also eligible to attend. According to NJ State Code,


“An extended school year program is provided in accordance with the student’s IEP when an interruption in educational programming causes the student’s performance to revert to a lower level of functioning and recoupment cannot be expected in a reasonable length of time.” 
Is your child eligible for ESY?
If you feel that your child would benefit from ESY, the IEP team will consider all relevant factors. One of the larger considerations will be the amount of time your child needs to recoup information after an extended break. How many hours does it take your child to relearn December’s lessons after winter break? Is your child struggling with June’s mastered goals September through November?
Please note, districts cannot limit ESY services to particular categories of disability or limit the type, amount, or duration of those services. Your child does not have to receive services in a specific placement to be eligible for ESY. Related services and transportation should be considered as an additional supports throughout the ESY session.


From the point of view of the district, if you agree to attend ESY it is in the best interest of your child and the program to attend as much as possible. Children often benefit from routine. ESY programs tend to run on shortened days and with different students. Attendance every day will ensure a comfortable learning environment. Classes without 1-2 students that are scheduled to have 10 waste school funds by having extra teachers on staff and ordering excessive materials.
For more information one ESY for this summer, contact your district, case manager, or teacher.