Tips When Behavioral Disruptions Occur

  • Keep calm, including the tone of voice used. Exhibiting a calm demeanor may also help diffuse an escalating situation or help to engage the student in a more meaningful way.
  • Calling for assistance (UMW Police) is appropriate if you feel safety is a concern.
  • Offer the opportunity for the student to take a break.
  • Continue to show your class that differences are respected and appreciated so that others can understand that people act in different ways.
  • Arrange a time to speak to the student privately.
  • Avoid making assumptions about the student having a disability. There are many reasons behavioral differences may arise, and not all are related to having a disability.

Strategies for Interaction During Follow-up Meetings

  • Use direct, concise, concrete language.
  • Be patient and wait for a response; often there may be a delay in the students responding.
  • Follow up and check for understanding.
  • Use different inflections for a question vs. a statement.
  • Break down lengthy instructions into steps.
  • Assist students with joining/forming groups, as needed.
  • Increase their understanding of expectations, while working to understand how they think.

Strategies for Consideration When Behavioral Concerns have been Identified

  • Understand that behaviors may be the result of neurological differences and trying to change certain behaviors may not be effective.
  • Be patient and consider adjusting the rate in which you expect students to accomplish tasks. Allow for extra time, which can result in helping the student remain calm and focused.
  • Should you notice an aspect of your class triggering a type of behavior in a student, whether it be writing assignments, speaking, or comments about quizzes, allow for breaks or incorporating other ways to release anxiety.
  • Stay positive and speak calmly.
  • Give feedback often and reinforce attempts to complete any assignments/class activity that may be triggering certain behaviors.
  • Consider alternate assignments that meet the same expectations as all other students.
  • Should you be aware that the student is registered with ODR, reach out for additional assistance as needed.


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