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Consultations that are administered in schools are traditionally behavioral based. Most school consultations are based around problem solving. Although there are many different effective consultations, all models do recognize the importance of collaborations, interpersonal skills, knowledge of assessments as well as having knowledge of interventions. Ecobehavioral Consultation integrates the models of ecological systems theory (Micor-, meso-, exo-, macro-, and chronosystem) as well as behaviorism with the intent to solve the problem. This includes the focus on conditions that can be modified (Bronfenbrenner,1989), as well as the observation of the child’s behavior to the change. According to Kampwirth and Powers (2016), this model’s goal is for the student development as a series of mutual accommodations and transactions, including their indirect settings. Ecobehaviorism considers the child as a whole, this includes their prior learning, cognition, motivation, characteristics to identify ways for the proper intervention (Bonner, 2005). This is usually an immediate intervention or prevention by attempting to understand the child as a whole in order to gain a solution. The consultant also analyzes the immediate environment to guide the adults to maximize the positive effect of antecedent and consequences factors (Bonner, 2005). A multi-level intervention can take place and conditions of the student’s environment can be modified inn the following ways: curriculum, expectations, goals, positive reinforcements, students work area. Using this method will be beneficial for the student before it becomes a problem. Consider the story of Humpty Dumpty, instead of waiting for him to fall off the wall and splatter take a proactive approach. It is a better approach to help Humpty Dumpty from falling by giving him a wider wall to sit on, provide a safety net if he falls or providing cushions on the ground to break his fall (Gutki,2012).
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Ecobehavioral consultation offers counseling directly to the student while providing interventions that will resolve concerns associated with the child. This represents an effective way to improve instructional environments, teacher and student interactions, student engagement, and specific teaching practices that promote learning (Watson, Gabe, & Greenwood, 2011). This model attempts to explain how the child’s micro- (the impact directly to the child’s development), meso- (interaction between the microsystem), exo- (the link in an active role and the individual’s immediate context), macro- (describes the culture in which the individuals live), and chronosystem (environment events and transition over the life course) influence the child’s behavior. Thus, the ecobehavioral consultation observes the child academics to determine if it is associated with the behavior the child is exhibiting.
A paraprofessional has different names depending on what district you are working for; teachers assistant, paraeducator, instructional assistant and the list goes on. The titles are different, but they all conduct the same work in the classroom. In the application of the Ecobehavioral consultation consider that the child is experiencing an academic problem. Paraprofessionals would be part of the observation behavioral assessment; with the proper training to collect data. This will give a better understanding of the child’s academic level and where the behavior occurs. Observations will be done within the class setting as well as during the child’s breaks (before school, recess, lunch and after school if applicable). Once the consultation is in place the paraprofessional will be collaborating with the teacher. Clear communication between the two will enhance the efficiency of the collaboration (Kampwirth & Powers, 2016). With the collected information an intervention will be placed and conditions for the child’s environment can modified; the student’s curriculum, expectations, instructions and support. The professional will work with the child experiencing academic problems in a small-group or one-on-one once the sufficient training has been instructed. The paraprofessional also could be instructed to adjust the support offered to the child. This may include constant positive reinforcement, rephrasing directions, condensing academic work. The paraprofessional will be in communication with the teacher on the student’s interventions.
Special education resource specialist would ideally pull-out students from their classroom to provide extra services to the child. Different schools may have set aside the pull-out method and enforced the inclusion and push-in method. This consist of the special education teacher and general education teacher to coteach in the class. The expectation is that the general education teacher and the special education teacher split the work and each have different responsibilities in the class. In most cases the general education teacher maintains all responsibility while the special education teacher works with the students with academic problems in smaller groups (Solis,Vaughn, Swanson, & McCulley, 2012). In the application of the ecobehavioral consultation the general education teacher as well as the special education teacher will be collecting data on the child with academic problems as well as behavioral. This will then further their consultation to implementing the proper intervention. Both general and special education teacher will be implementing the interventions. In the case of pulling out the student, the special education teacher will implement the intervention in their classroom. The general education teacher will follow the interventions when the child is back in class. Both teachers will conclude if the ecobehavioral consultation is working and suggest what modifications may need to be added or removed. These findings will then be reported back to the consultant.
Interpersonal skills are traits that are relied on in order to interact and communicate with others. Not only are these skills verbal but it includes the nonverbal elements of personal interactions. These skills are important when working with the consultation group at the school. Many adults involved, different specialties and many ideas are being put on the table in order to provide the best support for the child. The skills that would be required are active listening, acceptance, assertiveness, willingness to take feedback, leadership, teamwork, dependability and patience. Having many individuals with strong interpersonal skills in a consultation meeting may come across some difficulties. Starting with the paraprofessional; the paraprofessional may not agree with the intervention and proceed with a different than the one discusses. The Paraprofessional may also not admit that they do not know or understand the proper way to execute the intervention or modifications. Another that may come across is that the paraprofessional may dismiss or interrupt the teacher; this could be due because of age difference, experience, communication and lack of willingness to take feedback and teamwork. As when it comes to the inclusion team, co teachers may not communicate with each other. General education teacher may not be empathic and patient when it deals with the accommodations and modifications with the students in special education. General education teacher may not be exhibiting the recourses correctly and will not listen to the special education teacher on the advice that is given. When advice is presented it may be presented that the general education teacher is incompetent. Collaborating requires constant negotiating and planning with not enough time to plan. School consultant may help teachers with providing support in the classroom by taking over the class, but this may create problems if the co-teachers are taking more time than allotted and not communicating with the consultant. Or on the other hand, there may be a team that does not have any power relationships. Where one individual believes they are more superior than the other because of their title but rather engages in an effective and positive communication and interpersonal skills throughout the meeting.
Ethical could be defined by integrity, character, values, and morals. Demonstrating respect for moral principle such as honesty, fairness, diversity, individual rights, dignity and equality. According to Kampwirth & Powers (2016) they discuss that among the various codes of ethics there are 5 broad principles that come into view; Competence, protecting the Welfare of Clients, Maintaining confidentiality, social and moral responsibility and integrity in professional relationship. Competence and integrity in professional relationship are two that ecobehavioral consultation that may be experience more than the others. Some ethical dilemmas that may arise in an ecobehavioral consultation in competence may be that one of the providers may not fully understand or know to properly conduct the intervention. This may be the teacher and they do not want to express that they may need help or rather clarify the intervention or modification. Not properly conducting these interventions or modification could end up harming the child rather than supporting and guiding the child, which is why the consultation was set. Another ethical dilemma that may occur could be integrity in professional relationship. Kampwirth & Powers (2016) stated perfectly on how a collaboration is solely a relationship-based activity. This requires that consultants need to be honest and open to the idea they may have as well as the ideas of others. This is about respect of others and allowing them to discuss and freely state what their opinion is. All consultants believe they are their for the better for their student in which could involve opinions that may not all be agreed with. It is about not allowing the environment to become a hostel one. Every consultant is an expert in their own filed and each have a different perspective on the focus student. The bigger picture are not the consultants but figuring out a better solution as a whole for the student.
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Ecobehavioral consultation could be effective in all school sites, home, psychology office (private or school site), and in the classroom if proceeded correctly. Ecobehavioral consultation requires a team that is built around trust, honesty, great communication skills as well as interpersonal skills. Emphasizing on honesty is one of the keys to be able to succeed in this model for the child. Providing raw and truthful information about the child’s home life, social interaction with peers, classroom managements and their academics is how the team will gain the most to a positive solution to help the child become successful. This is building a team that consultants are able to express their knowledge and express their ideas of achieving positive change. This model is to not single out the child but more to guide the adults in resolving the concerns that are surrounding the child (Bonnner, 2005). By implementing the ecobehavioral consultation intervention or prevention prior to the child deescalating academically or behaviorally this provides the child to feel value, safe, confident and receives a better opportunity to succeed.
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