At Seven Stars, it is our belief that using positive motivators is much more effective than using punitive approaches. Behavioral approaches should focus on encouraging desired behaviors through positive attention and rewards. It is often most effective to ignore unwanted behaviors rather than apply some kind of a consequence.
How do we encourage positive behaviors?
Each day, students start the day in a Launch meeting where they establish a goal they want to work on for the day. Each evening in the Re-entry meeting, students review with staff their progress on the goal for the day.
Students carry a tracking sheet with them in their student binders. For each block of activity throughout the day, the staff mark “pluses” on their tracking sheet for participating appropriately in the desired activity. Staff also note on the tracking sheet what the student is doing well and areas where the student needs to improve. The student’s total number of pluses earns access to desired activities and can be used to purchase items from the student store.
When a student does engage in unwanted behaviors that are significantly disruptive, it is important to understand the function of that behavior. Typically, the student is communicating a need with their negative behavior. Usually they are overwhelmed by anxiety or sensory issues and need a break. Sometimes they are looking for attention. In these situations a student is directed to take a break and “reboot.” When this happens, staff work with the student on coping skills and communicating about their needs. Sometimes the student writes or talks through a Behavioral Chain Analysis in which they learn about their needs and generate ideas about how they can handle the situation better next time.
In addition to the daily points and feedback system, staff carry tokens in the form of paper stars. Staff give these tokens to students when they see them engaging in a positive or desired behavior. Students also use these stars to earn desired activities or items from the student store.
This random reinforcement strategy can be especially effective when students are struggling with unwanted behaviors and is very effective at redirecting the behaviors of an individual student or group of students.
Learn more about the ways in which we promote the power of positivity here>>>
Since 2003, Dr. Gordon Day has passionately helped young people with a wide range of family, emotional, social, neurodevelopmental and behavioral problems. Gordon’s mission has been to help people find their strengths and their own passion for living a full and rewarding life. He is particularly sensitive to the pressures, frustrations and disappointments that adolescents face that can sometimes cause them and their loved ones to want to withdraw and throw their hands up in despair.
Dr. Day knows that you really have to understand where a student is coming from and understand their patterns of strengths and needs. When we truly know an individual and their struggles, only then can we truly help.
Dr. Day has pioneered the use of outdoor therapy activities and outdoor living as a dynamic and effective therapeutic tool for learning, confidence building and skill building. His programs provide effective, supportive and encouraging environments that help students find their strengths and power.