Supporting Students with
Challenging Behaviors

Schools today are faced with tremendous challenges as they attempt to meet the social/emotional and academic needs of an increasingly diverse student body. Educators must be aware that student learning and behavior are inextricably linked. 

The Special Education Support Center, with support from OSPI, provides resources and training to help teachers and parents provide appropriate and effective learning experiences for students with challenging behaviors.

  • Schools that systematically address both academic and social/emotional learning (SEL) have shown increased student achievement when compared to schools that do not address both factors. Multi-tiered systems of support such as PBIS have been found to be successful in preventing disruptive behaviors and supporting students with behavioral issues. While developing a multi-tiered system school staffs must take care to create a culturally responsive environment so that cultural differences are not inappropriately viewed as a disability.

    While multi-tiered systems tend to reduce disruptive behaviors and enable teachers to create safe learning environments, there remain some students who have emotional/behavioral disabilities that require additional supports.

     “Umbrella” terms such as emotional disturbance/disorders, behavioral disorders, or mental illness actually cover a wide range of specific conditions that differ from one another in their characteristics and treatment considerations.

    Some students who have emotional/behavioral issues will qualify for special education, while other students with mental health issues may be protected under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. It is essential that schools provide appropriate evaluations to identify students and provide services under both special education and Section 504.

Specific Trainings/Courses we offer to support teachers and parents working with students with challenging behaviors:

(Click the course titles for full descriptions and regitration information)

Accommodations and Modifications: Strategies for the Classroom Teacher (2-3 hours)

This course provides participants with practical strategies to use in the classroom to support all students, including those with disabilities. 

Behavior Intervention Strategies to Support Students through Inclusive Practices (6 hours)

Participants will be cultivating a growth mindset when working with students with social, emotional, and behavioral needs. They will learn about the different lens of behavior and high leverage practices and identify the root causes and different functions of behavior. 

Beyond Intrinsic Motivation (6 hours)

This course looks beyond self-motivation and the innate desire to succeed; examining the difference between rewards and bribes while taking into consideration the need for all student to feel successful. 

Classroom Teaming for Student Success (6 hours)

Learn collaboration strategies that teacher-paraeducator teams can use to improve student achievement. Topics include: Planning program and behavior, evidenced-based instructional strategies, data collection and progress monitoring, setting expectations for staff and students. Team participation is recommended. 

De-Escalation Strategies for Educators (2-3 hours)

Learn to recognize signs of a potential behavioral crisis and learn appropriate intervention strategies for each stage of the escalation/de-escalation cycle.   

Health Services in Public Schools (3 hours)

Acquire knowledge necessary to help ensure the adequate delivery of health services to children with special healthcare needs: the statutory obligations for providing health care, potential school staff roles and responsibilities, and obligations surrounding staff training, nurse delegation, and staff’s right of refusal.  

Special Education Safety (3 hours)

Participants discuss appropriate placement and services and steps to take when injury occurs.  In addition participants review: Discipline changes in general education, discipline procedures in special education, restraint and isolation regulation and court cases involving staff injuries.  

De-Escalation Strategies for Educators (2-3 hours)

Participants learn to recognize signs of a potential behavioral crisis and intervene to prevent further escalation along the escalation/de-escalation cycle.  At the end of this course, participants will be able to: Determine individual student behavior triggers, Understand and describe the escalation cycle, Learn strategies to intervene at each stage of the escalation cycle.  

The Provision of Health Services in Public Schools (3 hours)

Participants in this course will acquire knowledge necessary to help ensure the adequate delivery of health services to children with special healthcare needs.  As a result of participating in this course, participants will be able to: 1.) Describe the statutory obligations dictating the provision of school health services. 2.)  List potential school staff roles and responsibilities involved in the provision of school health services. 3.) Understand the statutory obligations surrounding staff training, nurse delegation, and staff’s right of refusal.  

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) via Distance/Remote Instruction – Grades PreK – 3 (2 hours)

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) via Distance/Remote Instruction – Grades 4 – 8 (2 hours)

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) via Distance/Remote Instruction – Grades 9 – 12 (2 hours)  

These courses cover how to provide social and emotional instruction and behavior supports via remote/distance learning. Specifically, addressing SEL using planning, communication, curriculum supports and resources, rewards and consequences, and feedback.