How is Escape Behaviour different from Avoidance Behaviour?

We have discussed about how to reduce avoidance behaviour in classroom from a previous post.  You may be interested to learn about the forms of escape behaviour and how to treat them.  The following notes are snap shots to help a child function in a classroom while maintaining minimal disturbance to other children.

  • Identifying Escape Behaviours
    • Escape Behaviours are displayed AFTER the presentation of work demand, e.g. worksheet is distributed and placed on desk. Avoidance Behaviours are displayed BEFORE the presentation of work demand, e.g. while the teacher distributes the worksheets.
    • Escape Behaviours may come in a stronger format than avoidance Behaviours as the threat / demand is imminent. The function of escape bx is to remove the demand (and/or the teacher who carries the demand).
    • Escape Behaviours could consist more that one of these responses: Rocking, kicking, flopping, rolling, escaping from original position, exposing belly, spitting, saying bad words, sticking out tongue, voluntary drooling and smearing spit, hitting, vocalizing gibberish (to nullify teacher’s verbal instructions), crying, and grabbing objects in reach.
  •  Steps to Prevent / Reduce Escape Behaviours
    1. Reduce time lag between presenting demand and desirable bx.
    2. Hang on to worksheet until teacher is ready to instruct.
    3. Use checklist to let student choose reward and token.
    4. Put down worksheet and immediately instruct for an easy task, e.g. write your name.
    5. Praise and/or offer the first token.
    6. Provide maximum help (even modelling) for the first few tasks.
    7. Progressively let the student work more independently while giving praise or tokens on good bx.
    8. When student is in an escape mode, give more visual or gestural instructions (less verbal). Some physical prompts are ok.
    9. Consider easing on power struggle and eye contact. Consider to work side by side instead of face to face.
    10. Follow through with demand or instructions. Find a reward (token) time to exit the situation. If the teacher leaves at the height of escape bx, the student’s might use stronger escape bx to remove the teacher next time.
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