Are you a BCBA who conducts functional behavior assessments in schools and/or consults with teachers regarding the best ways to teach children with various disabilities? If so, you’ve probably encountered challenges like the following:
- The first grader who is perceived to be oppositional because he acts out, ignores the teacher, or shuts down when given directives. Your assessment indicates he is missing listener skills, but because his same-age peers are beyond that point, he is expected to function at an equivalent (or at least compliant) level, and he is at-risk of losing his place in the general education classroom.
- The seventh grader who returned from the summer break much bigger than he was the year before. Previously a struggling, but quiet, student perceived as having lower intelligence, he is now confrontational with peers and refuses to try most of his work. He learned quickly that aggression makes others back off.
- The third grader who works on a modified curriculum in the regular education classroom who never seems to hear instructions given to the group, and won’t work at all unless an adult stands next to her. Whereas first and second grade teachers had classroom assistants, third grade does not; her teacher questions whether she can adequately serve her without “cheating” her other students.
Situations such as this can easily result in the students being placed on a Behavior Intervention Plan to increase compliance with directives or on-task behavior. Yet these often fail. Why? Because of over-reliance on consequence manipulation, continued exposure to demands that require missing skills, or well-meaning educators/administrators designing environments that remove a blanket of expectations rather than just the ones the child is not yet ready to master.
This is not an indictment of the educational system. Many behavior analysts (myself included) have been guilty of writing failed plans, even when we are trying to incorporate skill building. For my part, that usually results from my assuming certain skills are either missing or have not been trained to the point of fluency. Our ability to assess which skills are missing is greatly reliant on clinical experience. Once a child is school-age, assessment tools are often fractionary and limited. Once a child is in high school, resource availability decreases even further. As children grow, skill repertoires become increasingly complex, and skill deficits may become more and more scattered. Certain behaviors, such as noncompliance, task-refusal, and verbal misbehavior become so concerning to adults that BCBAs often feel pressured to write plans that focus on those behaviors, although we know they are reflections of lower level skill deficits. This combination of complexity and politics makes assessment and intervention planning very difficult. Wouldn’t it be great if there was an instrument that gave us some framework to guide these difficult team decisions?
The Inventory of Good Learner Repertoires (IGLR), an assessment tool developed by BCBAs Steven Ward and Teresa Grimes, is soon to be available on the CentralReach Learn platform. The IGLR is used to conduct a holistic assessment of the student-teacher-classroom relationship. It begins with an assessment across ten categories:
- Behavioral Excesses (challenging behaviors that interfere with instruction and learning)
- Behavioral Supports (supports currently in place to maintain appropriate behavior)
- Resilience and Regulation (degree to which the child maintains appropriate behavior in challenging situations)
- Readiness (degree to which the child engages in behaviors required for effective classroom instruction to occur)
- Perseverance and Focus (continued engagement across time, distractions, and difficulties)
- Flexibility (participation in learning activities across contexts)
- Consequences (response to various types of consequences)
- Preference for Learning Channels (degree to which the child relies on various types of instructional stimuli and/or performs educational response types)
- Spontaneity (degree to which the child initiates and engages in unprompted activity)
- Potential to Benefit from Inclusion (degree to which the child engages in behaviors required by most general education classroom environments)
Assessment results are based on observation and interview, and are meant to guide a team decision-making process for setting IEP goals.
In addition to the IGLR instrument, the authors have written the companion books Teaching Good Learner Repertoires and Teaching Advanced Learner Repertoires. These books guide intervention based on the IGLR results. They have also provided web-based supplemental administration and scoring instructions for the IGLR. Information from all of these resources will be incorporated into the CentralReach version of the tool. This will include administration hints, automatic scoring, and hierarchical goal recommendations. Users will literally be guided through the administration of the instrument and then be given customizable goal recommendations that ensure team members consider whether the child is ready to learn the next skill. The books will also be available for purchase through the CR Marketplace for users who wish to delve deeper into the realm of intervention planning.
Having the IGLR at the fingertips of the school-based BCBA on the CR platform should be a great advantage. Keep your eyes open for updates as we prepare to bring this awesome resource to you!