Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

Event Details

TRIAD Full-Day Workshop, Starting at the Roots: A Proactive Approach to Challenging Behavior in Students with ASD, March 18, 2011

Date: March 18, 2011

Time: 8:30AM to 3:30PM

Location: TBA



TRIAD Full-Day Workshop
Starting at the Roots: A Proactive Approach to Challenging Behavior in Students with ASD
(Middle TN)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Offered by the Department of Education, Division of Special Education, in collaboration with the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD).

Challenging behavior, for any individual, is adaptive and functional. For example, a student who tears up an assignment and leaves her desk while yelling is engaging in those behaviors for a specific reason or reasons. Perhaps she is confused about what to do, or perhaps she simply does not want to do the assignment. In either case, this student is motivated to engage in those behaviors because they function to allow her access something she finds appealing. To help proactively change this set of behaviors in the future, we need to understand what the behavior is, what is evoking the behavior, what the motivation is, and what other skill(s) we can teach the student that could replace the challenging one(s). In our example, we could teach the student to appropriately request help, a break, and/or attention. As a result of these new skills, the challenging behavior becomes non-functional for the student. This approach is proactive, person-centered, and will most likely result in more salient long-term outcomes across environments and people.

This workshop will focus on:

  • The unique characteristics that affect how students with an autism spectrum disorder learn and interact
  • Understanding what evokes and maintains challenging behavior
  • What we can do to change the behavior short-term (visual supports, reinforcement systems, etc.)
  • What we can do to change the behavior long-term (teach appropriate alternative skills, self-monitoring/regulation, etc.

Participants will see examples and videos, and participate in activities all developed to help them understand the general ideas that will be presented and how they might be able to generalize to specific situation(s). The purpose of this workshop is to help participants understand how behavior is learned and how to teach alternative skills for improved long-term outcomes. Given the time constraints of this workshop, all information will be presented in generalities. It is beyond the scope of this workshop to address specific students and/or specific behavioral issues within a school. Since this workshop is focused on a proactive approach, it will not directly address reactive procedures, i.e., what to do during or in immediate response to a challenging behavior. The workshop will also not advocate restrictive or punishment-based procedures.

Registration for this workshop has closed.

For more information, contact Linda Copas in the Division of Special Education at (615)-741-7790 or

For more information, visit:
The Tennessee Department of Education Training site.

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