Behavior & Discipline

The ABC's of Challenging Behavior

Behavior problems involve any challenging behavior that lasts over time and is working for the child, meaning bringing the results he or she wants. This takes the form of a child not doing what is wanted, or doing something that isn't wanted by adults. Before we can address a challenging behavior, we need to be able to identify and define the problem clearly.

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Eight Practical Tips for Parents of Young Children with Challenging Behavior

Many, if not most, parents find themselves struggling with the challenging behavior of their young child at some point in time. The good news is that there are evidence-based, effective strategies that you can use to create positive solutions for your family.

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Behavior Intervention Plan: Guide for Parents

Your role in the BIP process is critical! It is important for you to share information about your child and what you know about their likes and dislikes as well as what works at home. This will allow the IEP team, of which you are a member, to identify reinforcements to increase positive behavior that can be used at home and at school. It is also important for you to understand the intervention strategies designed for your child. By working together, you and the school will be able to make plans to help your child improve behavior which will allow more time to learn. You are an important partner in your child's success!

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Challenging Behavior in School

Having a consistent response is so important for kids, especially when it comes to behavior. A behavior plan is the best way for all of the school staff, parents and the student to be one the same page about how behaviors will be handled at school so that no matter who is involved the response to a problem behavior is the same, and the strategies used will be most effective in deescalating the situation.

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Challenging Behavior Toolkit

Sometimes, people with autism display behaviors that are challenging to understand and address. The Challenging Behaviors Tool Kit will provide you with strategies and resources to address these behaviors and help support you during difficult situations.

Visit the Autism Speaks Website

Behavior at School

School presents a unique challenge for children with behavior issues. Teachers need tools to use to help provide support and guidance. Administrators need methods for creating a positive learning atmosphere within the entire school. Parents need information on how to work with school staff to address their child's behavior challenges in the school setting.

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Guidance for School Behavioral Health Screening and Telehealth Services

The purpose of this guidance is to inform Iowa AEAs, public school districts, and accredited nonpublic school districts of their responsibilities and the responsibilities of behavioral health service providers as required by Iowa Code sections 280A.1 through 280A.4. This guidance summarizes what is required or permitted by the school district, accredited nonpublic school, the AEA, and mental health provider, should they choose to enter into agreements for behavioral health screenings or telehealth services.

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Functional Behavioral Assessment

When a child with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) has challenging behaviors in school that are not improving, parents may request a re-evaluation to more closely examine the behaviors of concern. As part of that re-evaluation, a district may conduct a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) to identify special education and related services and develop or modify a behavioral intervention plan.

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Functional Behavior Assessment: Guide for Parents

Your role in the FBA process is critical! It is important for you to share information about behavior you see at home. This will allow the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team, of which you are a member, to look for similarities and differences between your child's behavior at home and at school. By working together, you and the school will be able to make plans to help your child improve behavior which will allow more time to learn. You are an important partner in your child's success!

Read the Iowa IDEA Information PDF

Positive Behavior Interventions & Support

Are you looking for training materials, videos, Powerpoint slideshows, or webinars on positive behavior support for students with disabilities? You can connect with many such resources here!

Learn More at Parent Center Hub

Positive Behavior Supports | A Resource Collection

A resource collection compiled by and for Parent Centers

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"Shortened Day': Appropriate and Inappropriate uses, concepts, guidelines and examples

To eliminate the inappropriate use of "shortened days", develop IEP teams and school site teams capable of developing a full continuum of behavior supports, including behavior support plans.

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Shortened school days may not be used to manage student behavior

If a student's behavior impedes their learning or the learning of others, the IEP must address the behavior by providing the supports and services necessary for the student to successfully participate in school. The student's behavioral needs can be met through annual goals, related services, and/or supplementary aides and services. The IEP should include positive behavioral interventions, supports, and strategies that enable the student to participate in the full school day.

Visit the Michigan Family Alliance Website

Protections for Students Not Yet Identified as Eligible for Special Education Services

Is your child facing school disciplinary action? Do you think your child has a disability? If so, there are certain things you need to know to protect your child's rights.

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Placement and School Discipline for Students with Disabilities

Where will a student with a disability receive his or her special education and related services? IDEA requires placement in the least restrictive environment (LRE) for each child, a setting that is based on the child's IEP.

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Homebound Placements for Behavioral Reasons

An IEP team may make a decision to place an eligible individual on homebound instruction due to extreme behavioral issues when a temporary placement, as part of an evaluation process, is necessary. In making a temporary placement, IEP teams must be certain that the home is an appropriate educational setting and that the placement assists in the completion of the evaluation process.

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Unique Placement Options

Alternative Services and Placements as Determined by IEP Team

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Discipline in an IEP

The administration of appropriate disciplinary procedures for students with disabilities can be complex and requires consideration of multiple factors. In general, students with IEPs are subject to the same code of conduct provisions as all students. However, the discipline for students with IEPs may be different than for the other students when: An IEP or BIP has provisions for responding to a student's behavior that is different than the LEA code of conduct, or a disciplinary action (e.g., suspension, expulsion) constitutes a change in placement for the student.

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Fair and Effective Discipline for All Students: Best Practice Strategies for Educators

Disciplining students, particularly those with chronic or serious behavior problems, is a long-standing challenge for educators. They must balance the needs of the school community and those of the individual student. At the heart of this challenge is the use of punitive versus supportive disciplinary practices. Though increasingly common in recent years, reliance on punitive approaches to discipline, such as 'zero tolerance' policies, has proven largely ineffective, even counterproductive. This holds true both for general education students and those with disabilities.

Visit the NASP Center Website

Seclusion and Restraint in Schools

In 2008, the state of Iowa amended its rules on corporal punishment, physical restraint ("restraint"), and physical confinement and detention ("seclusion") in educational settings. These rules are published in Chapter 103 of the Iowa Department of Education's administrative rules.

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Senate File 2360: Guidance for Safe Classroom Learning Environments

Senate File 2360 requires a comprehensive approach to create a safe learning space for students and teachers. The requirements are organized around five topics. The first two topics require immediate action by school districts, while subsequent topics require actions of the Department and other agencies. Included is a summary of the general requirements of the legislative section(s) related to the topic. Following are further details including definitions specific to each topic and requirements in table form: legislative authority, required or voluntary actions, by whom, and deadline.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Senate File 2360: Safe Classroom Learning Environments

This resource answers common questions from educators regarding Senate File 2360 and state guidance. The Iowa Department of Education (Department) anticipates this document will expand as it works through the rules writing process, the Therapeutic Classroom Grant, and development of standards and guidelines for response to classroom behavior. This represents the most current official position of the Department related to these questions and supersedes previous Department guidance on this topic. The Department will continue to review previous and new FAQs to include here and to ensure complete alignment with these responses.

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Do I Have to Pick Up My Child with Special Needs Every Time the School Calls?

Your child has the right to attend school. Students can only be kept away from school if they have been officially suspended. Further, suspension should always be a last resort. The schools should always try different interventions to help your child before resorting to a suspension.

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Helping Traumatized Children Learn

Once schools understand the educational impacts of trauma, they can become safe, supportive environments where students make the positive connections with adults and peers they might otherwise push away, calm their emotions so they can focus and behave appropriately, and feel confident enough to advance their learning-in other words, schools can make trauma sensitivity a regular part of how the school is run.

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Iowa's Anti Bullying Law

Bullying and harassment is not only harmful to the social and emotional development of children, it gets in the way of learning. Ensuring the physical safety and emotional security of children in school is a critical concern shared by parents and educators. Recognizing that concern, in 2007 the Iowa Legislature passed a state law to help prevent and address bullying in schools.

Learn more from ASK Resource Center

Special Education Discipline Step by Step Guide to Suspension

There are many scenarios to consider when disciplining students with special education plans. This guide shows the steps educators must follow for discipline.

Read the PDF from Step by Step

The Ten Day Rule: What Parents Should Know About the 11th Day of Suspension

You may have heard about something called the "ten-day" rule and been told that it limits the number of days that a child with disabilities can be suspended from school. While there is some truth to that, the whole truth is far more complicated. Here are nine things that are important to know about the so-called "ten-day" rule and the laws governing the suspension of students who are eligible for IEP services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

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Manifestation Determination Guide

Within 10 school days of any decision to change the placement of a student with a disability because of a violation of a code of conduct, a manifestation determination must be made.

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Manifestation Determinations

Special considerations may be necessary for students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan in order for the student to have access to making academic progress when behavior has been a concern at school.

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Children may miss school for lots of reasons. Students may be sick, afraid of being bullied, or too depressed to attend. If they have not had success in school, they may start to dread going. As students get older, parents may find it harder to make children attend. One response to poor attendance is to label the student as a "truant." This article will deal with truancy laws.

Visit the Iowa Legal Aid Website

Communication With Corrections System

If your child with mental health, behavioral, cognitive or learning disabilities is referred to court, juvenile detention or adult corrections, you can play a key role in making things go as smoothly as possible.

Learn More at PACER

Communication with the Corrections System: What Should Parents Know?

A brief guideline for parents of children with mental health, behavioral, cognitive, or learning disabilities.

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Children's Mental Health Committee

A Voice For Families Of Children With Behavioral, Emotional, Developmental, Or Mental Health Needs.

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Transportation issues in Special Education: Questions and Answers

If a student has a paraprofessional during the school day for behavioral or health concerns, this provides at least some indication that additional adult supervision is required during transportation. In addition to FERPA training, transportation providers must be adequately trained to implement IEPs of the students with disabilities they transport. If the child's behavior resulting in a bus suspension is not a manifestation of the child's disability, the child may be disciplined as would a child without a disability; however the child remains entitled to a FAPE.

Read the IDOE PDF