Behavior Today (CCBD Newsletter)

Nov 2015 30 (2)



The Important Role of the Teacher of Students with E/BD

in Building Relationships

Bev Johns

Relationship building is the key to the educator’s success in working with students with E/BD. This column focuses on the many positive contributions that teachers of students with E/BD make in the lives of their students and families.  Our first column discussed the role of the teacher in evaluations and the second one discussed the teacher’s role in the IEP process. 

This column focuses on the role of the educator in building relationships, both with students and with their families.  The teacher has been involved in the evaluation or has been involved in the IEP, and the student has been identified in need of your services; your job now is to establish a positive relationship with the student and his family members.  Both the student and the parent may fear that a new placement at whatever level on the continuum of alternative placements may not meet the child’s needs. They may think that you will be negative about their child and be judging them negatively.  They may think you believe that the child’s behavior is their fault.  They certainly will not trust you at the beginning, thinking that you will be like others who have had their child before in an educational program. The child probably won’t trust you because he fears that you will betray trust and reject him.  Teachers of students with E/BD know how to build relationships in a number of ways.

Teachers of E/BD know the importance of building on strengths and the positive behaviors that both the parent and the child exhibit.  They recognize their students for what they do right; while teaching them the appropriate skills when they make academic errors or engage in inappropriate behavior.  To build relationships, students need to know that we are there to help them learn more appropriate behaviors and teach them the skills they need.  Successful educators also look for every positive contribution that the parent makes. When the parent gets the child to school every day, when the parent comes to parent conferences, and when the parent sends back a needed note, they stress to the parent that they appreciate their contributions.

Teachers of E/BD have a welcoming attitude.  They are happy to see the student and greet the student positively when he arrives at school.  They make the classroom a warm, well decorated, organized, and happy place for students to be.  They let the students know they are there to help them.  They also encourage the parents to actively participate in the child’s education.  They look for ways to welcome the parent to the school and let the parents know that they are welcome to contact them. At the same time, they contact the parents on a regular basis to get their feedback on how they think their child is doing.  They provide incentives for parents to attend parent conferences or open houses.  I used to take family pictures as an incentive for families to come to open house.  They let the parents know that school is a place that will help them; not a place to be feared.

Teachers of E/BD are active listeners. When working with students, teachers of E/BD listen to what students are saying to them, give their students the opportunity to be heard, and let the students know that they are interested in the students’ viewpoints.  When working with parents, rather than having one way conversations where the teacher does the majority of talking, teachers encourage parents to talk by asking them supportive questions, they listen without interrupting, and they double check periodically to make sure they understand exactly what the parent is saying.  

Teachers of E/BD are non-judgmental when working with students and their parents. With students, teachers remind them that each day is a fresh start in their classroom. Teachers don’t hold grudges against students. When an event is over, it is over.  Students know that the teacher is firm, fair, and consistent, and will let the students know exactly what is expected of them.   When working with parents, teachers of E/BD let parents know that they are accepting of them, do not blame them for the child’s problems, and will not judge them negatively because of hearsay or rumors that may be told. They let parents know that they form their own opinions and want to work cooperatively with them, not criticize them.

As part of relationship building, both students and their parents need to know that the teacher is a resource for them.  If the student needs a particular service that is not within the scope of the school’s responsibility, the teacher knows where those services can be obtained.  Connecting to other service providers is critical for parents.  They may need help in getting counseling.  They may need help in dealing with the judicial system. The teacher know how to connect the parent to the services needed.

When teachers of E/BD engage in these trust building and supportive activities, they are showing students and parents that they are there to help, are trustworthy, and want to build a positive relationship. This positive relationship can make a permanent difference in how the students and the parents view the school. They recognize that the teacher is a partner; that partnership builds a long lasting relationship.



CCBD Call for Nominations

Open now through January 15, 2016

CCBD is calling for nominations for four open Executive Committee positions. Full descriptions of each office are available on the CCBD website and more information can be obtained by contacting Terry Scott (contact info below).

Vice President – 1-year term

The Vice President is an extremely important role as this person will serve one year before ascending to President Elect, President, and then Past President over 4 consecutive years.

Ethnic and Multicultural Concerns Member-at-Large – 2-year term

The Ethnic and Multicultural Concerns MAL establishes and maintains a communication network to ensure that persons of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds have an active voice in CCBD activities and decision-making.

Representative to the CEC Representative Assembly (Representative “A”) – 2-year term

Representatives to the CEC Representative Assembly provide a crucial link between CCBD and the larger CEC organization, acting as a liaison between the CCBD Executive Committee and CEC.

Canadian Member-at-Large – 2-years

The Canadian MAL represents the interests of CCBD members across Canada, bringing to the discussions and deliberations the perspective and concerns of that group to the CCBD Executive Committee.

Nominators must send a signed letter to the CCBD Nominations and Elections Chair Terry Scott.  This letter must include the nominator's CCBD membership number to validate CCBD membership of the nominator.

              Terry Scott –

              158 Porter Education Building

              University of Louisville

              Louisville, KY 40292

Individuals nominated must affirm their agreement by a separate letter to the Nominations and Elections Committee Chairperson, and must include the following materials:

  • Statement from nominee, separate from the nominator’s letter, agreeing to be nominated.
  • CEC membership number of the nominee, to validate CCBD membership.
  • Three-part statement that presents, in 1,000 words or fewer, the following:

    a.  issues for the Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders (may involve students, professionals, or other issues);

    b.  responses needed to deal with issues identified, and

    c.     how the nominee, if elected, can work on the CCBD Executive Committee in re­sponding to these issues.

  • Condensed resume or vita (maximum of three pages).
  • A ballot statement describing nominee’s qualifications, perspectives, and/or goals. This will be included in the ballot verbatim, and lengthmust not exceed 100 words.

The Deadline for nominations and all supporting material for offices is January 15, 2016 and the election period will begin no later than February 15, 2016 and end no later than March 18, 2016.


Beyond Behavior Special Conference Issue

Beyond Behavior is a practitioner journal in a magazine style.  Nearly 3,000 members, libraries and schools receive the articles disseminating best practice. The 2016 Fall volume will highlight the biannual CCBD conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

TIMELINES AND SUBMISSION PROCESS: Submit by January 1, 2016 for consideration via the Allen Press online portalhttp://beyondbehavior.allentrack2.netBe sure to indicate that this manuscript is for the special issue

Checklist for New Authors

  • Submission is NOT a “research paper”
  • APA formatting, grammar, and references thoroughly checked for errors.  Helpful websites include……
  • The introduction provides a rationale for the need for the practice.
    • This is a good place to include a limited number of references to factual or empirical articles.
  • The introduction clearly describes the practice
    • What is the practice, strategy, or program?
    • Who (what populations does this work for?.)
    • When (what type or types of problems?)
    • Where (what types of settings?)
  • The body of the paper provides enough detail about “how-to” that the reader could readily implement the steps.
  • Examples are provided
    • Consider providing both elementary and secondary
    • Identify if the example is fictitious or actual 



How do I know if my content is right for a submission?

BB is looking for research-based or evidence based practices. All topics should be supported by research.

I have a research study that has great data, interesting data, or promising data – Would BB want that?

BB is looking for practitioner-friendly practical articles. You might include the data as an example but BB does not publish research studies.

Announcement:  New Journal Format 

Dear CCBD Members,

Winston Churchill once said, “There is nothing wrong with change if it is in the right direction.”  This fall will mark a noticeable change for our 26 year-old research journal Behavioral Disorders.

When you receive issue 41 (1) in November of 2015 you will have the inaugural edition of The Journal of Behavioral Disorders and, with it, experience the brand-new online only format.

These changes were necessitated by the escalating costs of journal production and the decreasing base of subscribers and members.

There will be some marked benefits to the new journal format.  Manuscripts will have additional page space for figures, tables, and even data sets.  Online links will provide opportunities to include multi-media or supplemental materials in non-paper formats by authors.  Over time we expect to optimize the visibility of the journal and maximize the digital opportunities for bringing the best research to our readers. 

Imagine the potential intellectual exchange of faster-to-press research findings and reader comments and responses.  We will all miss our row of yellow bound volumes but we hope this marks a “right direction” for the organization and our community.

Thank you,

Kimberly Vannest, PhD 

Publications Chair 

Bryan Cook, PhD


Tim Landrum, PhD


Melody Tankersley, PhD



Wendy Oakes, PhD



Terry Scott, PhD

Past President


 Award Competition Announcement 

Carl Fenichel Memorial Research  

This award competition honors the memory of Carl Fenichel, the founder of the League school in Brooklyn, New York, who was also a pioneer in the education of children with severe behavior disorders. The purpose of the competition is to promote student research in the area of children with emotional and/or behavioral disorders. This award will be given to students completing research projects, theses, or dissertations in the area of children with emotional and/or behavioral disorders.

The recipient will be awarded $400.00 to support their research, along with $500 towards attendance costs (e.g., airfare, per diem) related to participation in the International CEC Conference in St Louis, MO, April 13-16, 2016.

To apply for the award, the student must submit the following:

  1. A cover letter from the applicant,
  2. A copy of the approved proposal,
  3. Letter of recommendation from the student’s advisor stating the project’s potential contribution to the field of EBD,
  4. A budget proposing how the $400.00 award will be used.

Award recipients will be encouraged to share their findings at local, regional or the international CCBD conferences and abstracts of the funded project will appear in appropriate CCBD publications.

Papers must be approved for consideration by the applicant’s department or college.

The deadline for receipt of applications and all materials is January 22, 2016. Submit the proposal, budget and a letter attesting to departmental approval electronically to:


Outstanding Professional Performance

The purpose of this award is to honor an outstanding practicing professional who works directly with children and/or youth with severe behavioral disorders.  The individual should be nominated by someone who is familiar with the nature & quality of his/her work, and who can also speak to the person’s character.   Nomination materials should include:

1.         A letter of nomination which indicates the name, address, phone number of the nominee, reasons for making the nomination, the nominee’s CEC membership number, and other information which might be helpful to the review committee.  The name of the person/organization making the nomination should also be included;

2.         A brief vita or resume for the individual nominated which shows educational background, places of employment and types of individuals worked with, length of time in each position, special projects undertaken, any awards received, and other information which might assist the review committee; and

3.         At least two letters of support (one should be from the current employer/supervisor).

The nominating materials will be reviewed by the Award Committee.  The winner will be honored at the 2016 Annual CEC convention in St Louis, MO, April 13-16, 2016 with a plaque commemorating the award.  The award will be presented at the Annual CCBD Business Meeting.

All nominations and materials must be received by January 22, 2016 

Outstanding Leadership Award

The purpose of this award is to honor an outstanding leader in the field of behavioral disorders who has made significant contributions and has had a significant impact on the field. This individual will have made significant contributions to the field of behavioral disorders through their research; leadership in state, regional, or national organizations; leadership in teacher education or practitioner preparation; or state and national policy development or implementation. The contributions made should extend over a considerable period of time. Nominations should be made by someone who is familiar with the nature and quality of the nominee’s work, and who can also speak to the nominee’s character.

Nomination materials include:

1. A letter of nomination should include the following nominee’s name, address, phone number, reasons for making the nomination, the nominee’s CEC identification number, and other information, which might be helpful to the Awards Committee. The name, address, email, and phone number of the person/organization making the nomination should also be included;

2. A brief (4 pages) vita or resume for the nominee which shows educational background, places of employment and types of individuals worked with, length of time in each position, special projects undertaken, courses taught, publications, research grants/projects, positions held with professional organizations, any awards received, and other information which might assist the Awards Committee; and

3. Three letters of support from other leaders in the field of emotional and behavioral disorders.

The Award Committee will review the nomination package. The CCBD Outstanding Leadership Award recipient will receive a plaque commemorating the award at the Annual CEC Convention and Expo in St Louis, MO from April 13-16, 2016. The award will be presented at the Annual CCBD Business Meeting at the convention.


All nominations and materials must be received by January 22, 2016.

Submit the nominating materials electronically to:

Nicholas A. Gage, Ph.D.

CCBD Vice-President

For further information, contact Nicholas Gage at 651-895-2733

or e-mail at


Capturing Conversations From Leaders in the Field

A Conversation with C. Michael Nelson 

Teagarden, J., Zabel, R., & Kaff, M. 

Kansas State University 

For the past 10 years, the Janus Project has collected and disseminated the perspectives of leaders in education of children with emotional and behavioral disorders about the past, present, and future of the field. The Midwest Symposium for Leadership in Behavior Disorders (MSLBD) has provided on-going support for this oral history project, which takes its name from the Roman god, Janus, whose two faces looked both to the past and the future. Participants are asked about the people and events that have influenced their careers and the larger field, their views of the current and future state of the field, and their advice for persons entering the field. To date, approximately 60 conversations have been collected in video form and are available on the MSLBD website at the following URL:

C. Michael (Mike) Nelson is an internationally recognized special educator whose career is marked by his commitment to child and youth with serious emotional disorders. Beginning in the 1970s, Dr. Nelson has served in a variety of leadership roles in the Council for Children with Behavior Disorders (CCBD) including vice-president, president-elect, president, and past president, as well as two terms chairing the Publications Committee. He has authored or edited over 100 professional publications, including books, chapters, articles in referred journals, and multimedia instructional packages. In recognition of his contributions, he has received numerous awards and honors, including the Exceptional Achievement Award in Research and Scholarship, College of Education, University of Kentucky, 1974, 1987; Outstanding Leadership Award, Midwest Symposium for Leadership in Behavior Disorders, 2000; and the Annual Award for Outstanding Leadership, Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders, 2001. The following is excerpted from the Janus Project interview with Dr. Nelson at the 2012Teacher Educators for Children with Behavior Disorders (TECBD) conference in Tempe, AZ. 

* * * * *

  • Janus:   How would you describe your career in the field?
  • Nelson:  Someone said to me, when I retired, You know, your career came at a good time. I have to say that I really feel that way. It was exciting. I had the opportunity to see so many things begin. First of all, IDEA and the whole notion of kids with disabilities and families having rights was pretty enormous.  When I arrived at the University of Kentucky, I joined a group of young faculty. We were all pretty much right out of our graduate programs. We really bonded quickly and well. We got some ideas going about how we might put together a curriculum for special education teachers. We built it around the concept of competency-based teacher education by looking at what effective teachers do and working backward from there. We used that task analysis to break down the skills and put them into a sequence of instruction that made sense. In fact, it worked so well that, for many years, the Kentucky Special Education Teacher of the Year was a graduate of our programs.  That was exciting. The faculty was cohesive. We did a lot of exciting things. We would sit down and write grants together. The whole faculty would sit down and say, “This is what we want. Here’s our goal. These are our objectives. This is how we’re going to proceed.” We were very, very successful. So, I think that was a very exciting time and a great opportunity.  I also have to say that the last 10 or 15 years of my career, I saw a change in the university system from a focus on academic excellence to a business model, and then to a more of a “what have you done for the university lately” sort of thing. I think that’s really unfortunate. Anyway, my career came at a good time. 
  • Janus: What do you see in the future for the field of education of students with emotional and behavioral disorders?
  • Nelson: I think we have to really turn some things around. I think we have to wake up and get rid of some of our policies and assumptions about things like zero tolerance. We need to stop failing to use the data we get from interventions that dont work such as exclusionary disciplinary practices that push kids out of school and into the school-to-prison pipeline. We continue to practice things that have no record of effectiveness. In fact, they demonstrate quite the opposite: They are detrimental to the most fragile or the most vulnerable of our kids. Its a crime that we still embrace policies that marginalize and disaffect kids and their families to the extent that we have such an underclass of people. Im thinking about a new term instead of  socially disadvantaged. Why not socially serviced disadvantaged? We really do have that problem.  There are more kids with serious emotional disturbance and mental health needs in secure care, incarceration, than there are in mental health settings. A lot of professionals agree that the juvenile justice system is the de facto children’s mental health system in this country. That’s simply wrong. I don’t care what you believe about the role of government, but we have to have services for people that need them if we are to look anybody in the eye and say, “We are a humanitarian society. We believe in values that put people in front of corporations, in front of profits, and so forth.” 
  • Janus:  What advice would you offer to those just entering the field  working on behalf of children with EBD.
  • Nelson: Well, I want to be flip and say to either group, Dont expect to make a lot of money. Youre not going to make a lot of money, but hopefully the people who enter the field enter it because they have a belief system that embraces the need to nurture and build human performance. Id say that rewards come from the responses of your students, be they undergraduate or graduate college students or public school students. That whole attention to individuality and encouraging personal growth and prosperity are important. One thing I  tell people is, Dont do it if you dont love it. Also, dont do it if youre not going to do it well.

* * * * *

Mike Nelsons career truly did come at a good time. His focus on providing quality programs for challenging students and his ability to develop teachers competence to meet those needs, have helped make that time better for students, teachers, and the field. The Janus Project thanks Dr. Nelson for his contributions and for sharing his experiences and thoughts. The complete conversation with Dr. Nelson was published inIntervention in School and Clinic (Zabel, Kaff, & Teagarden, 2015) and an edited video of the conversation may be viewed at the following URL: .

Upcoming issues of Behavior Today will include excerpts from Janus Project conversations with other leaders in the field including Bev Johns, George Sugai, and Mary Margaret Kerr.


Zabel, R., Kaff, M., & Teagarden, J. (2014). A good time: A conversation with C. Michael Nelson. Intervention in School and Clinic, 50 (4) 238-241.


Response Cards

Jennifer E. Christensen, PhD 

Increasing students’ opportunities to respond (OTR) is paramount in keeping students engaged in academic work, and has been shown to improve the academic and social behavior of students with challenging behaviors. Research tells us that specifically, increasing students’ rates of academic responding is associated with increased task engagement as well as with decreased disruptive behavior (Conroy, Sutherland, Snyder, & Marsh, 2008).

In the last newsletter column, we reviewed the “think-pair-share” strategy. This is an example of an OTR strategy in which students first think about a question, pair with a partner, and share their ideas with a small group. In this column, we are reviewing another OTR strategy called ‘Response Cards.’

What Are Response Cards?

The use of response cards is an evidence-based strategy that involves giving each student a writing slate on which they can write responses to questions the teacher asks. The writing slate can be a number of items, although the original idea was meant for dry erase boards. In order for response cards to be effective, the dry erase boards need to be practical—large enough to accommodate students’ handwriting, light enough for students’ to easily manipulate and handle, and can easily be fully erased. In order for response card to be most effective, the questions asked should require yes/no responses, one-word answers, numbers, or letters. If the responses are too long or too cumbersome, unwanted behaviors can easily make their way into the instructional time due to rising frustration of the students.

How Should I Use Response Cards?

When introducing response cards to students, Yell, Meadows, Drasgow, & Shriner (2009) suggest following certain steps to eliminate student confusion and off-task behavior. First, using examples and nonexamples, the teacher explains and demonstrates how to use the materials before handing them out. In the explanation, the teacher includes direct instruction about what the students will do when the teacher gives the following verbal cues: “Write your answer” (means write on the response card and turn it face down on the desk until the next cue); “Cards Up” (means to hold the response card with both hands above your head with the answer facing the teacher until the next cue); “Card Down” (means to put the response card down on the desk, erase answer completely, and get ready to answer the next question). After distributing materials to the students, it is important to practice what was just modeled for the students, so the students learn the correct procedure, and instructional time is maximized.

Why Should I Use Response Cards?

In order for strategies that increase students’ opportunities to respond to be effective, students should have a high rate of responding correctly. Questions, drills, activities, and independent work should be planned so that students are responding with 80 to 90% success (Gunter, Hummel, & Venn, 1998). Using a class-wide application of this strategy allows individual students to remain anonymous. I have found much success using this strategy with my students with EBD. The middle and high school students respond eagerly to this strategy and I use it often. Without well-planned instruction and strategies, students’ opportunities to respond are severely limited. This strategy allows me to focus on individual students’ learning while engaging the entire class in a learning process.



Conroy, M. A., Sutherland, K. S., Snyder, A. L., & Marsh, S. (2008). Classwide interventions: Effective instruction makes a difference. Teaching Exceptional Children, 40(6), 24-30.

Gunter, P. L., Hummel, J. H., & Venn, M. L. (1998). Are effective academic instructional practices used to teach students with behavior disorders?Beyond Behavior, 9, 5-11.

Yell, M. L., Meadows, N. B., Drasgow, E., & Shriner, J. G. (2009). Evidence-based practices for educating students with emotional and behavioral disorders. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.


Using Schedules of Reinforcement to Strengthen Targeted Responses

Kelly M. Carrero, Ph.D., BCBA

As educators of students with challenging behaviors, we often prepare behavioral contracts, token economies, and other systems of reinforcement to support our students as they learn new skills and behaviors. We diligently search for inexpensive and highly desired rewards to offer in exchange for tickets, dollars, or “Carrero Coins” at the end of the day or week. These systems are well-validated in the research and based on behavior analytic principles—exhibit the correct response and receive secondary reinforcers (e.g., tokens, tickets, stickers) to exchange for highly-preferred reinforcers (e.g., food, extra computer time, time with the class pet). Our students often start out really strong, displaying the desired behaviors and racking up their tickets, only to lose interest or give up all hope of meeting their “points” for the day. Why do our students struggle so much with meeting their goals when we use these well-validated systems? While some of their struggle can be attributed to the self-regulatory issues and/or cognitive distortions that plague many moments of our students’ daily lives, some of it may be a result of teachers using ineffective schedules of reinforcement.

What is reinforcement?

To understand how to properly develop systems and schedules of reinforcement, you must first understand the definition of reinforcement.Reinforcement refers to any event occurring after a behavior (i.e., act; something that can be observed and measured) that increases the rate and/or probability that an organism (we are most concerned with the organisms called “students”) will exhibit the behavior again in the future. We all know that what serves as a reinforcer to one person may not serve as a reinforcer to another person. Consequently, it is critical that we conduct preference assessments and reinforcement menus to our students.


What are schedules of reinforcement?

Schedules of reinforcement refers to the rate or duration of correct responses necessary before the reinforcer is received (Ferster & Skinner, 1957). Schedules of reinforcement can range from very dense to very sparse. An example of a dense schedule of reinforcement is when a student gets a ticket for every correct response (assuming the ticket truly serves as a reinforcer for the student)—this would be a continuous rate of reinforcement. An example of a sparse schedule of reinforcement is a student receiving a ticket every three to five days of correct responding—this kind of schedule represents an intermittent schedule of reinforcement (i.e., requires a greater number of correct responses or longer duration of correct responding to receive the reinforcer). When implementing an intermittent schedule of reinforcement, you can use a fixed or variable schedule. Fixed schedules refer to prescribed instances of delivering reinforcement. For example, on a fixed ratio of three schedule, a student would receive a ticket every third time he raised his hand during whole group instruction. If that student was on a variable schedule of three, he would receive a ticket approximately every third response, but sometimes he would receive it after two correct responses and maybe not again until he raises his hand four more times. Although it is outside the scope of this article, educators are encouraged to learn more about working with systems of reinforcement so they will know how and when to change the schedule of reinforcement for their students.


What schedule of reinforcement should I use?

Similar to most programming decisions, choosing a schedule of reinforcement should be based on factors unique to the student(s) you are serving. However, it is recommended that you use the hierarchy of response competence to guide your decisions (i.e., acquisition, fluency, maintenance, and generalization). Specifically, it is best practice to use a dense schedule of reinforcement when a student is first learning to use the correct behavior or provide the correct response (i.e., the behavior or response is in acquisition). For example, when you are working on teaching a student to raise his hand instead of calling out during whole group instruction, you would want to provide multiple opportunities for the student to raise his hand and deliver a reinforcer each time he raises his hand during whole group instruction. As the student begins to demonstrate a consistent rate of the correct behavior or response (i.e., fluency), you will want to move to an intermittent schedule of reinforcement. This movement to an intermittent schedule of reinforcement (i.e., thinning the schedule of reinforcement) will strengthen the behavior and prepare the student for more naturally occurring schedules of reinforcement that he will experience when he leaves your classroom. Once your student demonstrates mastery of the behavior or response (i.e., maintenance), you will want to provide as much opportunity for your student to contact natural reinforcement when using his new behavior as possible (i.e., generalization). Natural reinforcement refers to reinforcement that occurs within the environment naturally (i.e., reinforcement that does not have to be intentionally delivered to strengthen a behavior or response).


A Word of Caution

Our students are sensitive and every day is a new day. The best educators are able to tap into the moment-by-moment needs of their students. This almost intuitive skill will be helpful as you employ and adjust schedules of reinforcement. Although it is necessary to find the right schedule for your student based on where he is performing, it is also necessary to be responsive to your students’ needs as their needs change. For example, if your student has demonstrated that he is able to perform a desired behavior with relative ease and you are delivering more sparse schedule of intermittent reinforcement, but today he is having a rough day and is not performing the desired behavior at a high rate, you must be prepared to return to a more dense schedule of reinforcement until your student returns to performing the desired behavior.

Best of luck and I hope you contact a high rate of reinforcement in all that you do to serve students with challenging behaviors!



Ferster, C. B., & Skinner, B. F. (1957). Schedules of reinforcement. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.


It is Difficult for my Son to Accept Consequences


Dear Ms. Kitty:

I am concerned about my 3 ½ year old son. When he receives a consequence, he has a really difficult time. For example, he will ignore our commands to retrieve to time out, starting yelling at us, he starts bargaining with his dad and I by stating that he will “play nice,” and bangs the bedroom door as we place him in timeout.  He often cries and screams for 30 minutes at a time.  It seems like he often forgets why he earned a consequence in the first place.  We would greatly appreciate any advice you can provide.

 ~ Facebook Mom Needs Help


Dear Facebook Mom:

Thank you for reaching out for help with your son! First, I want to tell you that you are reaching out at a good time. Considering your son’s young age, he is extremely impressionable and hopefully will learn from the behavior modification strategies provided before he enters kindergarten.  Thank you for being so proactive about your son now.

I would like to help you better understand consequences and reinforcements.  Scheuermann and Hall (2015) define a consequence as “an event that follows a behavior and determines whether the behavior will be repeated (i.e., reinforced) or not (i.e., punished). The authors also identify reinforcement as a “process in which a behavior is strengthened as a result of a consequence that follows the behavior.”

In my professional opinion, the best gift a parent can provide to their children is consistency.  Meaning, your son needs to learn when he exhibits a challenging (target) behavior he will receive an appropriate consequence each time.  Here is a hypothetical example, if your son chooses to hit his sister, then he will be removed to a “thinking spot” or your declared time away area for 3 minutes. The key is that he is removed to this area EVERY TIME this challenging behavior is exhibited. If a same consequence is not implemented after each target behavior he will be confused and likely sustain the challenging behavior. It is imperative to make sure that the consequences you and his father establish for your son are natural and logical. 

Reinforcement is modifies your son’s behavior rapidly.  Verbal praise is free and an easy reinforcer to use with your son. Here is another hypothetical example, when your son is playing appropriately with his sister, you and/or his father can say, “thank you for playing nice with your sister.” You always want to identify the behavior that you are reinforcingyou’re your son is clear what behavior he will sustain.  Verbal praise is usually successful within young children.

Please contact Ms. Kitty via if you have further questions/concerns.  Thank you for all you do for students with exceptionalities!

~ Ms. Kitty

Helpful resources for may include:

Ms. Kitty has worked with children and youth with challenging behaviors for nearly 20 years. She has educated students with behavior disorders in several different states and taught students from all grades, except 7th grade. Ms. Kitty has also earned her undergraduate, master’s, and doctorate degrees in special education, specifically emotional disabilities and behavior disorders.

Please contact Ms. Kitty about any questions you

have about your students in your classroom

Thank you!

 News from RSM: Regional Services and Membership

Lonna Moline

Hello again! It was so fun meeting new people and connecting with friends in Atlanta. I love putting names with faces and making new connections. Here’s a shout out to some of the people that stopped by our Membership table: Chauntell from GA; Janis from NJ; Nathan Murray from ND; Kimberly from NC; Kristin from MA; Deb from KS; Gleen from TX; Anne from PA....and many more!!

My next opportunity to laugh and chat with you face to face is in St. Louis. Please make sure to stop by the CCBD membership table. AND I am always up for connecting and talking about CCBD. Give me a call or an email!

Here is what is happening around the regions:

News from Region 1, Vanessa Tucker

WACCBD is very busy this year with new professional development opportunities. They will be screening Paper Tigers this winter in a local school district and will host a panel to discuss the major themes of this movie with our local teachers and administrators. They are planning several professional development opportunities through our Relife to the Rescue program focusing on PBIS topics. Additionally, they are planning on developing a mentorship program for our new or newer teachers in the field of EBDs. The spring conference is also in the planning stages.

News from Region 3, Chad Rose

We continue to move forward, and are currently seeking leadership in a number of states. At this point in time, Missouri has a number of people interested in leadership positions, but have not officially activated. Recently, I have been working with some individuals who are interested in reactivating Kansas. Emails will be going to each state without active state chapters to assess interest in reactivating chapters. It is my goal to send out a series of emails prior to CEC to see if we can build interest prior to the conference.

News from Region 5, Bev Johns

Wisconsin CCBD

Congratulations to Wisconsin CCBD.  It is up and running and the new officers are as follows:

Shannon Stuart is the new President of the subdivision and she can be reached at:

Other officers are as follows: 

Eric Weier—President-Elect—Eric Weier—

Vice-President—Rea Kirk—

Secretary—Deb Foster—

Treasurer—Jamie Diaz—

Liaison for Wisconsin CEC—James Collins—

Thanks to this great group of individuals who are serving Wisconsin CCBD.  If you are in Wisconsin and want to become active, contact one of them.

Michigan CCBD

A steering committee has formed to reorganize Michigan CCBD and has had three conference calls.   Thanks to the work of Matthew Hoge, Michigan CCBD has a Facebook page—be sure to like it.  It is CCBD Michigan.  Thanks also to Valerie Mierzwa and Laura Frey for doing a needs assessment of the Michigan CCBD members.  Michigan CCBD now has a draft set of bylaws and also is planning to present a program at the Michigan CEC conference in early March. A call for nominations for officers will go out in early January so if you are interested in getting more involved, watch for the email.

Ohio CCB

Ohio CCBD is planning its summer institute on June 16 and 17 in Toledo at the University of Toledo.  If you live in Ohio contact Ed Cancio  at or Susie Leone, President at for a complete program.

Kentucky CCBD

Kentucky had an extremely successful summer institute in Louisvile, Kentucky with over 1200 individuals attending from Kentucky and Southern Indiana.  They plan to hold the institute every other year.

Illinois CCBD

Illinois CCBD’s new President is Mary Camp.  Illinois CCBD will have a strand at the Illinois CEC Convention on November 7 on the Academic Behavior Connection.  Dr. Jim Kauffman will be the Saturday keynote for the convention.  Illinois CCBD will be giving a free CCBD membership to anyone who joins CEC at the convention.   The program is out and plans are underway for the annual Winter Drive in which will be held on February 5 and 6 at the Hyatt Lisle. Sheldon Braaten will be honored for his contributions to the field. To register for either the Illinois CEC convention or the Illinois CCB conference contact Bev Johns at

Indiana CCBD

A conference call will be held soon to reactivate Indiana CCBD.  We thank Cindy Jackson and Susan Albrecht for their years of service to Indiana.  If you are interested in the reactivation, contact me at

Region 2 (Southwest) and Region 6 (North East) are currently looking for a Regional Coordinator. If you are interested please contact me. We are looking for leaders like YOU!


To the Michigan Members of CCBD

Dear Michigan CCBD Members,

We are excited to report efforts are underway to reestablish the CCBD’s state subdivision for Michigan. A steering committee, consisting of several of MI state members, have spent the past few months laying the foundation to bring the subdivision back. Soon, you can expect to hear information regarding elections for leadership positions within the subdivision. We invite you to take part in the efforts to restore the state subdivision. Each state has its own unique needs and interests and state subdivisions are an essential tool for addressing your local needs.

What can you do in the meantime?
First, connect with us on the CCBD Michigan Facebook page created for professionals and families who are interested in joining together to support educational opportunities for children and youth with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD). On the Facebook page you can find current news regarding the efforts to restore the Michigan subdivision as well as resources and news related to the service for children with EBD in Michigan and nationally. 
Show your support for CCBD Michigan by clicking the “Like” button on the CCBD Michigan Facebook page. We encourage you to invite others committed to the mission of CCBD (e.g. students, families, practitioners). Please share the link with them as well and reach out to personally invite them to join our professional home – CCBD!

The second way you can support CCBD Michigan is to submit an application to present a session at Michigan CEC (March 2 – 4) in Grand Rapids. Submit a proposal at:
If you are interested in presenting as part of the CCBD strand, please contact Laurie Jefsen at Also,inyourapplicationput“CCBDStrand”inyourabstract. Already sent in a proposal? No problem! Just send an email to Laurie and say you want to be considered for the CCBD strand. Proposals are due Dec 4 by 5:00 PM.

CCBD President-Elect, Kathleen Lane, will be conducting a workshop on Wednesday of the conference.

Thank you to Bev Johns, CCBD Regional Coordinator; Laurie Jefsen, Executive Director CEC Michigan; and the members of the steering committee in their efforts to restore the Michigan Subdivision.


Wendy Peia Oakes, Ph.D. CCBD, President

Mathew Hoge, Ph.D.
CCBD, Michigan Subdivision Steering Committee Member 

I hope to hear from people who are ready to increase their engagement with CCBD.

Enjoy the season!

Lonna Moline 

Traffic Light!

Staci Zolkoski 

 Image result for traffic light app

Traffic Light! is a free app and can be used on an iPad or an iPod.  Educators can use Traffic Light! for educational purposes, behavior management, or just for fun.  Four different colors can be used to represent an action for the students to perform (e.g., red: no talking, yellow: quiet voices, green: keep working, blue: free time). There are different types of lights that app users can pick from.  Additionally, there is a manual mode, automatic mode, or customizable timer for a variety of durations.  The teacher can set up Traffic Light! on his/her electronic device for the class to see.  The app is beneficial to teachers who are working in small groups or individually with a student while the rest of the class is working independently. Traffic Light!  is a great app for students to know appropriate behaviors without spoken instructions from teachers.