students with developmental disabilities or Autism who also
present with severe behavioral challenges in the classroom
setting is a problem that all districts face. In light of
the reauthorization of the
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), academic
personnel are routinely being asked to provide a level of
behavioral support, which potentially exceeds their expertise.
IDEA mandates that schools conduct functional behavioral assessments
and develop positive behavioral support plans that are steeped
in applied behavioral analysis. Given the fact that most districts
are striving to keep students in-district that have historically
been served by specialized programs, the emphasis on providing
effective behavioral support in both general education and
self contained classrooms has increased.
Natural Setting Therapeutic Management (NSTM) is a behavioral
training and consultation program that works with students
with a developmental disability or Autism and a severe behavioral
challenge. Project NSTM has provided behavioral consultation
to more than 100 school districts as well as many specialized,
out of district programs throughout the State since 1980.
NSTM consultants function as trainers who work directly with
classroom teachers, paraprofessionals and Child Study Team
members in the development of behavioral support approaches
for students with behavioral challenges. Our philosophy is
one of developing behavioral competence in the individuals
who are already functioning as behavior managers, namely the
classroom staff. NSTM consultants typically train staff in
the methods of collecting functional assessment data while
teaching them how to understand referred behaviors from a
comprehensive, learning perspective. Once data is collected,
our consultants analyze the data, review it with classroom
staff and develop an intervention that meets the specific
behavioral needs of both the referred student as well as the
needs of the classroom staff. It is imperative that any consultation
be "user friendly" and something that classroom
staff believes is "do-able." Ownership of intervention
is critical to classroom consultation; this can only be accomplished
if the staff feel as if they are integral parts of the process.
Developing competence and allowing staff to exercise their
expertise, rather than giving them "behavioral suggestions"
has proven quite effective in past consultations.