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Behavioral Consultation

There is a moral and financial imperative to help students make effective academic progress in the least restrictive environment. Our Mass behavioral health consultants work with educational teams (teachers, specialists, administrators etc.) to develop comprehensive positive behavior support plans to best manage problem behaviors and assist students in developing the social-emotional skills to better cope with academic and social demands faced in the school setting. Behavioral consultation services may include the following mental health services:

  • Developing feasible and meaningful data collection methods to better understand problem behavior

  • Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) development and staff training

  • Increasing understanding of underlying mental health challenges and social-emotional skill deficits that may be driving problem behavior

  • Training on effective interactional strategies to catch problem behaviors early and help students de-escalate

  • Safety plan development to best manage students who exhibit significant aggression and/or disruptive behaviors

  • Assisting staff implement effective parent and community engagement strategies to ensure that all stakeholders are working towards supporting student success

Our Massachusetts mental health center currently utilizes psychologists, social workers, and Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) to assist schools with their behavioral consultation needs.  

Trauma Informed Consultation

There has been a growing recognition of the impact that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) have on the developing child.  Research has found a clear relationship between ACE exposure and a range of negative social, emotional, academic, and physical health outcomes.  Supporting these students effectively requires both intensive training and systems changes.  We at JLA believe that becoming a trauma informed school requires focusing on the following elements:  Building Safety and Trust, Understanding Behavior through a Trauma Lens, and Teaching Social-Emotional Skills. Behavioral health consultation services assist school districts move towards these goals in the following ways:

Student Behavioral Consultation & Assessment

Building Safety and Trust

To build safety and trust, schools must respond to students with predictability and consistency.  We work with schools to develop uniform Tier 1 practices to help teachers build strong relationships with students and develop processes that support self-regulation.  This may include:

  • Greeting rituals to ensure teacher connection with all students

  • Embedding self-regulation breaks into the class schedule

  • Identifying and practicing functional communication scripts to access help or a break

  • Developing in-class break spaces to support student regulation in their learning environment

  • Building teacher capacity to catch and support students exhibiting Early Warning Sign (EWS) behaviors

  • Developing clear behavior response plans to ensure consistent disciplinary response

  • Supporting teacher self-care practices to ensure readiness to be a predictable and consistent adult

Understanding Behavior through a Trauma Lens

To understand behavior through a trauma lens, schools must understand how children adapt to growing up exposed to ACEs.  Specifically, it is imperative to increase awareness of how the rules that help a child get their needs met in their home/community likely do not match up with the expectations for how needs are met at school.  For example, a child growing up in a neglectful home will not get their needs met by quietly sitting and raising their hand.  In addition, school staff must appreciate that children with ACE exposure have experienced neurodevelopmental adaptations that improved their ability to quickly respond to danger but leave them struggling to stay regulated for learning.  JLA consultants work with school staff to understand problem behaviors in a trauma sensitive way so that more effective interventions can be developed.  This may include:

  • Supporting Data Teams to identify Tier 1 relational interventions 

  • Developing MTSS teams to identify skill deficits that underlie problem behaviors to inform Tier 2 interventions

  • Working with administration to develop effective consequences for problem behaviors

  • Professional Development to help all school staff to better understand problem behavior

Building Social Emotional Skills

To build student social-emotional skills, schools must first appreciate that self-regulation is the foundation for learning.  In other words, we must be able to calm ourselves to process and encode information.  This understanding creates a mandate for embedding social-emotional learning opportunities into all aspects of the school day.  JLA consultants work with schools to develop tiered social-emotional learning approaches to support all students.  This may include:

  • Strategies to effectively embed any SEL curricula into the daily schedule

  • Effective partnerships between school counselors and teachers to ensure skill generalization

  • Training school counselors to provide evidence-based Tier 2 social-emotional learning interventions to target skill deficits such as anxiety management, self-regulation, and executive functioning skills

  • Developing behavior response protocols that help ensure that student problem behaviors are not being reinforced through access to adult attention or escape from non-preferred tasks

  • Training paraprofessionals to effectively implement proactive Behavior Intervention Plans (BIPs) that build and reinforce adaptive behaviors

  • Developing effective Child Study Team (CST) protocols to monitor Tier 3 student social-emotional progress and ensure cohesiveness between school and other wraparound supports

School Counselor Supervision

School Counselors are being asked to support students with significant mental health challenges that impact their ability to access their education.  This is a very high stress position; school counselors are responsible for teaching student social-emotional skills, responding reactively to problem behavior, and engaging parents and community supports to support comprehensive intervention.  JLA provides counselor supervision to over 20 schools/districts across Massachusetts. Our mental health counselor supervision focuses on the following:

  • Identifying best practice mental health interventions to support student learning

  • Developing effective parent and community engagement strategies

  • Developing school counselor consultation skills to work more effectively with teachers

Student Therapy

Program Consultation

There is a diverse array of programs developed for students with social-emotional disabilities. These programs range from full inclusion to substantially separate. Effective program development for this population presents several challenges in a public school setting. JLA consultants provide program consultation to develop comprehensive supports that allow students to thrive in the least restrictive environment. This consultation may include:

  • A comprehensive program evaluation to identify strengths and weaknesses that informs a consultation plan

  • Developing skill-building interventions that are embedded throughout the school day

  • Developing feasible data collection systems to track student progress

  • Training paraprofessionals to implement BIPs with fidelity

  • Developing entry and exit criteria to ensure proper program placement

  • Developing systems to support students during inclusion opportunities

  • Developing protocols for students who need to leave the inclusion setting for their home classroom

Our Board Certified Behavior Analysts have rich experience working developing programs for students with neurodevelopmental disabilities and/or intellectual disability.

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