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Possible Signs That Your Child Might Need Behavior Intervention

Behavior intervention is a specific type of special instruction offered by Happy Hearts. This month we’ll dive into ways behavior intervention helps children and parents and the possible signs that a child should be referred to a behavior interventionist. These services are provided at no charge in the state of Pennsylvania for qualifying children from birth to age three through the early intervention program. If your child struggles with challenging behaviors such as biting, hitting, head banging, frequent tantrums, difficulty transitioning, wandering or running away in the community, refusing to follow directions, not being able to cope with being told “no”, not interested in interacting with others, engaging in repetitive behaviors, not responding to his/her name, or is at risk for being removed from their daycare setting, then your child may be eligible for early intervention services. These services will support you in managing your child’s behaviors by teaching you strategies that will strengthen your relationship with your child, help you teach them valuable skills, and create a calmer home and daycare environment.

What is Behavior Intervention?

Behavior intervention targets specific challenging behaviors and replaces them with appropriate behaviors. Behavior intervention promotes learning and skill development by teaching skills explicitly with extensive practice, identifies skill deficits and fills in the missing gaps, teaches regulation skills, and breaks down skills into smaller, manageable steps for young learners. We set up learners for success by using positive behavior techniques that are incorporated in everyday routines. Our behavior interventionists teach and empower parents and caregivers to successfully implement techniques on their own with confidence and success. Our behavioral interventionists closely work as a team with family and caregivers by actively listening to concerns and developing a collaborative plan to support the child’s needs. We also specialize in ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) services for children who show signs of or are diagnosed with autism.

Who Can Benefit From Behavior Intervention?

Any child who is persistently engaging in challenging behaviors that significantly impact their learning, relationships with others, ability to participate in different community settings (such as the grocery store, family gatherings, or park) or ability to remain in their daycare setting would benefit from early intervention behavior services. Not only is this service for your child but it is also for you. You don’t have to go on this journey alone. We understand parenting can be very challenging and every child is their own unique person. Our behavior interventionists are here to support you and give you relief with specialized behavior strategies that are individualized to your child.

Signs That Your Child Should be Evaluated

Young children are constantly moving through new developmental stages, learning, exploring, and testing boundaries. That is the natural developmental process of becoming independent and growing up into healthy adults. Sometimes children develop challenging behaviors that greatly impact their developmental growth, relationships with others, and ability to participate in a variety of activities and community settings. As challenging behaviors persist, they can become even more difficult to manage. Behavior services places your child on the right path by teaching appropriate behaviors that will positively impact their life and yours. If your child exhibits any of the following, you should consider having them evaluated.

  • Frequent tantrums and outbursts

  • Repeatedly biting, hitting, or kicking on a daily basis

  • Banging their head against the wall or other surfaces

  • Unable to transition between activities

  • Your child needs things a certain way all the time or they will have an emotional breakdown or tantrum

  • Your child’s behaviors are significantly impacting your relationship with your child, your home life, and/or your marriage

  • Your child is getting frequent behavior reports at daycare or is at risk of being removed from daycare

  • Limited play skills such as preferring to watch items spin, lining up objects, enjoying hearing or seeing items being dropped, playing only with particular objects, only engaging in screen activities, or only engaging in physical activities (such as climbing or running)

  • You are unable to go places because you fear your child will cause a scene or your child will wander away without any regard to safety

  • You think there is something “wrong” because your child is so different from other children

  • Your child takes no notice of other children and shows no interest in interacting with them

  • You feel your child is in their own world and it’s hard to connect or interact with them

  • Your child is dysregulated and you are not sure how to meet your child’s needs or calm them down

What To Do If Your Child Would Benefit from an Evaluation

If you recognize any of these possible warning signs in your child, it’s likely they'll qualify for free behavior intervention through the early intervention program. Early intervention helps children develop the skills they need to thrive throughout their lives, and trains and equips parents to be part of this important process.

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