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NSTM - School Division

Managing 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.

Project: 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.