Introduction The purpose of this study was to identify effective individualized positive behavior support strategies and cognitive behavior therapy strategies for young adults who are deafblind. It discusses findings specific to four young adult students with CHARGE syndrome. Methods This collaborative action research study employed collective case study design and elements of grounded theory analysis. Principles of positive behavior support and modified cognitive behavior therapy supported the identification and implementation of individualized behavioral interventions that addressed environment arrangement, sensory needs and sensitivities, and how adults communicated with the students. Results Eight themes were identified as being important to each of the students, although to varying degrees. These were: provide structure, establish and maintain a positive climate, address students’ sensory needs and sensitivities, support on-task behavior, support transitions between activities and environments, support mature behavior, support students in coping with anxiety, and use adult language supports. Each theme included multiple strategies. Discussion Proactive and reactive strategies must be individualized even when children share an etiology. Educational team members must know each student's preferences, likes, dislikes, reinforcers, and unique communication needs in order to identify and effectively implement behavioral supports. Modified cognitive behavior therapy may be helpful in addressing the anxiety experienced by individuals with CHARGE syndrome. Teams require time to collaborate on behavioral assessment, the identification of individualized behavioral strategies, and the effectiveness of behavioral plans. Implications for practitioners Providing well-structured environments and teaching rules and routines can reduce anxiety because students know what to expect. Educational team members should prevent sensory overload, provide structured desensitization opportunities, and teach relaxation techniques to these students. Adult communication must be positive, clarify what will happen next, and redirect behaviors when needed.
Susan M Bruce, S. Bashinski, Andrea J. Covelli
Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness