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Abstract: The parent of an adopted young child who had previously experienced neglect and abuse with concomitant severe challenging behavior, and the interventionists involved in supporting the child and family, were interviewed regarding their reflections on the implementation and outcomes of the Individualized Support Project. Components of this intense and comprehensive model of early intervention include functional assessment of problem behavior, person-centered planning, development of a behavior support plan, and communication-based instruction within natural environments. Interviewees described their experiences with the model and the positive outcomes for the child, family, and professionals. Although the interviewees' testimonials are encouraging, there is a clear need for empirical research regarding positive behavior support and the complex challenges of abuse and neglect.
EDITORS' NOTE: The Forum section of the Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions is presented to provide for an exchange of opinions, perspectives, ideas, and to inform peers, administrators, researchers, and other individuals who are concerned with behavioral support issues. The purpose of the Forum is to facilitate a constructive dialogue among our many stakeholders regarding important issues in practice, research, training, program development, and policy.
In this issue, we are pleased to share a report of positive behavior support (PBS) conducted with a young child who had been the infant victim of neglect and physical abuse. The author, Pam Buschbacher, provided technical assistance to the team responsible for the support efforts. Much of the article consists of a transcript of an interview with the lead interventionist and the child's mother. An appendix provides a copy of the support plan. The article contributes to the field by considering the use of PBS with a critically important and large population of children for whom effective support is both vital and, unfortunately, rare.
Meet Billy, a 2 1/2-year-old, who, like most toddlers, is independent, persistent, in constant motion, and curious. He has sandy-colored hair and sparkling green eyes. He lives with his adopted mother, father, older brother, and biological older half-sister. His favorite television shows are Blue's Clues, Barney, and Teletubbies. According to his adopted mother, Maria, he "plays all day long."
Billy sounds like any toddler except that he has had experiences most children his age have not. Prior to being placed in his foster home at 14 months, Billy was physically abused and neglected by his biological parents. He also had many challenging behaviors. In fact, his then foster family and early interventionists felt he was at great risk for a restrictive and socially isolated future. Fortunately, Billy and his then foster family received support in implementing strategies for assessing and managing these challenging behaviors through their Part C agency in the form of a comprehensive model of intervention called the Individualized Support Project (ISP; Dunlap & Fox, 1996, 1999; Fox, Dunlap, & Philbrick, 1997). ISP was a federally funded outreach model of assessment and intervention that included positive behavior support as the framework for providing comprehensive, family-centered early intervention to young children with challenging behavior in their natural environments. Methodology included the following:
** Family-guided assessment regarding developmental information
** Functional assessment of the challenging behavior (e.g., Functional Assessment Interview Form-Young Child (O'Neill et al., 1997) including observations, scatter plots, antecedent-behavior-consequence recording)
** Person-centered planning meeting
* Focused Intervention
** Support plan (hypotheses, long-term supports, prevention strategies, replacement skills, consequential strategies for the problem behavior)
** Communication and activity-based intervention
** Community inclusion (e.g., childcare, peers, medical appointments, restaurants, therapies)
** Person-centered planning meeting
* Transition Support
** Family information and support
** Early childhood education support
The purpose of this article is to allow the key players in this process to describe …