Why Ignoring May Backfire: Positive Alternatives for Disruptive Behavior

by Jessica Minahan

Some students will stop at nothing to get attention in class. Banging on the desk, making burping sounds, making inappropriate comments – we have all experienced these tedious behaviors that stop the learning and wear down even the most dedicated and experienced teacher.

Over time, most learn more appropriate ways of drawing the teacher’s attention. The distracting behavior subsides. However, there some for whom attention-seeking behaviors are a comfort zone. They continue to yell, throw things, and otherwise highjack the classroom while the helpless teacher is frustrated and out of patience.

In these cases, ignoring seems logical – we’ve been taught when a student wants attention and we give it to them, we might be reinforcing the behavior. But it is not that simple. When a student a student seeks attention in disruptive ways, it may be due to underlying distress or uncomfortable feelings, such as anxiety. Ignoring the behavior can increase anxiety or discomfort and subsequently increase the student’s behavior.

Ignoring can accidentally reinforce less safe behavior

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The Highs and Lows of Functionality

Another perspective on autism, and I love it! I want to ask your permission to translate this great post to Bahasa Indonesia and share it on my facebook…

Autism and Expectations

I want to talk about my relationship with the functionality of Autism. This is not based on research. This is not based on how I compare myself to other autistic people, and how we fit on some imaginary scale of usefulness. This is just about me.

I don’t like the term High Functioning. Perhaps it’s partly an instinctive reaction. It sounds snooty. It sounds arrogant. It sounds aloof and cold. And these are all things that I’ve been assumed to be, because I don’t project my emotions the way neurotypicals do.

I don’t like the term because it suggests that I’m on a separate plain to the Low Functioning Autistic. I don’t like it because it belittles how much effort I put in to functioning. It makes it ok to brush my needs off as already dealt with by me.

I don’t like the term because I hear these words…

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