The use of behavior specific praise: A study of challenging behaviors presented by students with an intellectual disability



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Challenging behaviors occur in 10-15% of the population of individuals with intellectual disabilities (Loyd & Kennedy, 2014) leading to the use of physical and pharmaceutical restraints, seclusion, institutionalization, increased physical harm to self and others, and decreases in social relationships (Poppes, Van der Putten, & Vlaskamp, 2014). Challenging behavior impedes the delivery of educational services to students with an intellectual disability (ID) and hinders the acquisition of essential academic, social, and life skills. Parents, educators, and other care providers face significant daily challenges in addressing challenging behavior presented by individuals with ID and resolving intervention and treatment dilemmas. Applied behavior analysis and integrative models of positive behavior supports are currently the most commonly used approaches to addressing challenging behaviors in individuals with ID. The purpose of this study was to determine if challenging behaviors presented by three students with ID could be reduced using a functioned-based, positive intervention approach, Behavior Specific Praise (BSP). This study provides an in-depth understanding of an effective positive-based, preventative behavior intervention strategy that addresses the occurrence of challenging behaviors exhibited by students with ID in a classroom setting. Such results are expected to have a significant contribution in the field of special education because a decrease in problem behaviors in students with ID will increase student acquisition of essential academic, social, and life skills. Thus, improving the quality of life for a subsection of individuals with disabilities and the professionals that provide services to this population.



Intellectual disability, Challenging behaviors