DisCrit: A Lens for Classroom Ecology and Challenging Behavior




Thompson, Courtney Taylor

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Challenging behaviors are seen as one of the greatest obstructions to students learning (Emerson et al., 2001). As indicated by the Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS), educators are responsible for classroom management, but subject to limited resources. Therefore, special education departments have seen the value in hiring Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) to implement applied behavior analysis (ABA) for students whose behavior impedes both their learning and others (Bondy et al., 2010). School districts, like most federally funded entities, require data to indicate the effectiveness of the resources spent on student and teacher performance (Van Geel et al., 2016). However, there have been many barriers identified for treatment fidelity of behavior intervention plans (BIPs) (Oram et al., 2016). Disability Critical Theory (DisCrit), as defined by Annamma et al. (2013), can be used to analyze barriers associated with teacher approach to implementation. By using DisCrit as a lens, researchers can assess how best to transform mindsets from a deficit one to an asset/growth one. Consequently, helping teachers focuses on student strengths instead of weaknesses, allows for higher fidelity of BIPs. Once fidelity can be improved, the data is more accurate, and BCBAs can adjust their teacher training and address student's behavior needs with more efficacy. Phase 1 and 3: Focused on using DisCrit as a lens for teacher mindset about student and self-success for classroom ecology and behavior management. The researcher interviewed educators in an early childhood inclusion classroom both pre and post intervention. Using horizontalization and transcendental phenomenology codes were created to provide evidence of how race, culture, language, and dis/Ability impact public education special education teachers and staff. Phase 2: Utilized pyramidal training to prepare four educators to implement functional communication training without extinction to decrease student challenging behavior. Post-intervention, all educators were able to implement the intervention with the trainer at or above 80% fidelity, and skills improved to 100% fidelity during in-situ training with the student. Student challenging behavior decreased to 0% and communication responses increased to 100% of intervals. Implications for research and practices will be discussed in the following paper.


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Applied Behavior Analysis, Behavior Skills Training, Disability Critical Theory, Early Childhood Education, Functional Communication Training, Pyramidal Training



Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching