Please describe the process for developing behavioral objectives  for students with severe disabilities.

Expert Answers
M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If your school follows the SMART goal format, then you should know that the protocol to follow is that the goals will be:

  • Student specific
  • Measurable through a variety of assessments
  • Attainable according to the disability of the child
  • Relevant enough for the child to be able to make connections, scafford, or build schema.
  • Time-based, or based on milestones such as "by month 3 the student will be able to....".

The first step to develop a SMART goal is to meet as a Child Study Committee along with the classroom teacher, special resources, counselor, and principal. This committee will look at all the interventions used with the student. Then the team will make correlations defining whether the interventions worked or not.

The second step is to extrapolate the interventions, list them in order of success.

Then you will list the behaviors, and when they occur. All teachers should document scenarios, time of day, and what was the behavior, as well as what occurred after the behavior.

With that information, you plan for a new goal, and plan for positive reinforcement to be given immediately as the goal is reached. The reinforcement (reward, treat, point) is then given alternatively, until the behavior becomes natural to the child and no longer needs immediate or alternate rewarding.

Parents are contacted to sign any agreement for a new behavior contract/goal. The student is also told about the goal and asked to sign the contract agreement, stating that he/she is aware of it, and that he/she will have every opportunity in class to meet the goal successfully.

The goal is tested and observed, and then reported back to the CSC team to revisit it if needed.

The process varies from district to district, but this is the "bare bones" process that consists on testing and observing. No plan is implemented without consistent evaluation and observations. As with all things dealing with special populations, the parents, teachers, and support systems must agree on everything. Everybody should have documentation of meetings and agendas, and the team, with the child in mind at all times, should be always supporting one another.