Information on this page about the interventions is based on the book, Prevent-Teach-Reinforce: The School-Based Model of Individualized Positive Behavior Support, Second Edition by G. Dunlap, R. Iovannone, D. Kincaid, K. Wilson, K. Christiansen, and P. S. Strain.
What is the strategy? Why does it work?
All students encounter situations that are stressful or cause anger or anxiety. Challenging behavior can often be for the purpose of coping with a conflict or a situation that is causing worry or anger. Teaching strategies for responding to situations that provoke stress and anxiety improve general wellness and decrease the need to use reactive, unwanted behaviors to cope with unsettling events. This strategy involves teaching strategies to provide a student with skills and tools to use in stressful situations or to solve conflicts. Coping strategies can include calming strategies or problem-solving solutions, and they are most effective when the student can be taught to identify a potentially stressful situation prior to feeling stressed so that the coping strategy can be used to prevent more intense feelings. By providing students with coping strategies, they learn extremely important skills that will be useful throughout their lifespan.
Functions and antecedents the teach general coping skills intervention works for
If the challenging behavior…
- Occurs when attempting to respond to stressful interpersonal or socially challenging situations
- Results from being unable to effectively or efficiently communicate emotions in stressful situations
Steps for Implementation
- Using the PTR Assessment information, determine specific areas, events, or situations in which student is having problem behaviors due to situations in which student is having difficulty coping.
- Select the most appropriate coping strategy for the situation.
- If applicable, create materials for coping strategies
- Using visual cues/cards that remind the student of the steps to take in following the specific coping strategy may facilitate prompting the student to use a strategy as well as becoming more independent in performing the steps.
- Develop task analysis of steps for using selected coping strategy and teach it to student by using the following procedures:
- Provide instruction/explanation of skill being taught, including several real-life examples of using skill
- Demonstrate skill by modeling
- Provide student with guided practice opportunities
- Provide immediate feedback during guided practice including positive comments for correct steps and corrective feedback for errors. Corrective feedback should be followed by more practice opportunities.
- Provide multiple opportunities in following weeks for student to practice skill and continue to provide feedback.
- As student gains skills, provide multiple exemplars with guided feedback so that student begins to generalize skills.
- Gradually fade practice opportunities contingent upon student data showing increased mastery.
- Continue to probe throughout school year to ensure generalization.
- Identify a reinforcement system that matches function of problem behavior and utilize the system
How to implement this strategy in multiple ways (examples & resources)
- 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise by GoZen (3:29)
- Rainbow Breath bv GoNoodle (4:02)
- Calm Breathing: Star Breathing (1:15)
- Learn to Belly Breathe by Sesame Street (2:00)
- Other Resources
- Belly Breathing for kids lesson
- Deep breathing worksheet and tips for older students
- You are not your thoughts by KidsHealth (4:00)
- Being with all of your experiences by KidsHealth (3:21)
- Bubble Bounce (Mindful Looking) (4:02)
- Other Resources
- Emotional Regulation Worksheet – 5 4 3 2 1 grounding technique
- 5 4 3 2 1 grounding technique worksheet and visual for older students
- Relaxation techniques info sheet
- List of mindfulness activities for children
- Anger management recommendations for teachers and parents
- The cycle of anger handout
- Anger diary worksheet to track triggers and responses
- Anger coping skills handout
- Anger stop signs and warning signs worksheet
- Anger management skill cards for younger students and information sheet for older students
- Anger warning signs and thermometer video and worksheet
Coping skills toolbox
- Building a Coping Toolbox
- How to Make a Toolbox
- Coping Skills Toolbox resources
- Video on how to create physical toolkit (5:45)
- Cope-Cake – coping skills worksheets and tools
- Healthy vs Unhealthy coping skills handout
- Coping Skills for Kids website
- Free resources related to zones of regulation
- BrainZones iOS app – Compilation of research-based teacher strategies, lesson plans, games, and activities for teaching coping skills (e.g., deep breathing, anger management, positive thinking & self-talk, emotional awareness, self-control, role-play problems, etc.)
- Links to resources for coping with a variety of types of emotions
- Cool down corner lesson
Kellner, M. H., Bry, B. H., & Colletti, L. A. (2002). Teaching anger management skills to students with severe emotional or behavioral disorders. Behavioral Disorders, 27(4), 400–407. https://doi.org/10.1177/019874290202700407
Kellner, M. H., Colletti, L. A., & Bry, B. H. (2003) Increasing anger log use during school among middle school students with emotional/behavioral disorders. Child & Family Behavior Therapy, 25(3), 7–21. https://doi.org/10.1300/J019v25n03_02
Presley, J. A., & Hughes, C. (2000). Peers as teachers of anger management to high school students with behavioral disorders. Behavioral Disorders, 25(2), 114–130. https://doi.org/10.1177/019874290002500205