Attention-seeking behavior is often seen in children with autism spectrum disorder as a way to gain the attention they need from their parents and caregivers. However, it is also common for them to become frustrated when this doesn’t work or leads to negative consequences like punishment.
“How to stop attention-seeking behavior” is a question that has been asked many times. There are many ways to prevent or replace attention-seeking behavior, such as using positive reinforcement and rewarding good behaviors. Read more in detail here: how to stop attention-seeking behavior.
If you conducted an impromptu poll of 100 classroom instructors, it is probable that every single one of them would describe having to deal with attention-seeking behaviors in the classroom at some time. Numerous of those educators would express being perplexed or upset while trying to curtail or halt attention-seeking conduct. Attention-seeking behaviors may be disruptive in even the best-managed classes, whether it is distracting other students or continually engaging in problematic conduct to take your mind off the task at hand.
It’s crucial for instructors to comprehend what causes attention-seeking behavior and the scientific rationale for how to manage it before they start dealing with attention-seeking issue behaviors in the classroom.
What kind of conduct is attention-seeking?
To be clear, attention-seeking conduct in the classroom refers to any actions taken by a student, whether good or bad, that cause an adult or other kid to provide the child some kind of social recognition. Behaviors that seek attention are social in nature, which means that they can only take place among other people.
Classroom examples of attention-seeking behavior
In the classroom, attention-seeking issue behaviors may take many different forms, such as getting up from your seat, speaking out, making noises, taunting or bullying other students, raising your hand a lot, or just talking when it isn’t suitable to.
Attention-seeking problem behaviors often include the following characteristics:
- Maintained by social attention from others – When pupils act in an attention-seeking manner, they get the reaction they were hoping for.
- May begin as tame conduct that is readily corrected, but it has a tendency to escalate.
- often fails to reply when reprimanded. A student may continue get awareness of the problematic conduct even after receiving negative attention in the form of a redirection or scolding. Many times, attention-seeking pupils will take whatever attention they can get, even if it comes in the shape of an effort to chastise them.
What Can Be Done to Stop Attention-Seeking in the Classroom?
Understanding the purpose, or “Why,” a student’s conduct is occurring in the first place is crucial when it comes to reducing and eliminating attention-seeking behaviors in the classroom. The simplest response is to attract attention.
However, behind that response, Applied Behavior Analysis enables us to comprehend that other causes could also play a role in attention-seeking behavioral behaviors. Many kids, particularly those with greater needs, do not have access to the finest resources and methods for social interaction. Some children may not have many chances to engage appropriately with peers or adults outside of the classroom, so they may take advantage of bad situations to get attention. You’ll probably need to create a customized approach of proactive and reactive techniques that reduce the problematic behavior, depending on the demands of the learner.
The ideas listed below might be useful as tools for student thinking.
Prior to starting
It’s important to keep in mind that there are two actions you should do before starting any treatments to stop bad behavior. Define the attention-seeking habit you want to address in detail first. Instead than employing specific, observable explanations of harmful behaviors, instructors all too often describe them in emotive or wishy-washy terms. Saying “The pupil is boisterous and blurts out during circle time” would be incorrect. “Attention-seeking conduct happens at circle time, any occasion when the kid talks to an adult or peer without first obtaining permission by raising a hand or being prompted to share with another by the instructor,” is a definition of the behavior. In addition to providing a clearer, more objective description of the behavior, this definition also specifies what the student ought to be doing in its place.
Second, you should gather some information. You may determine if an intervention was effective by learning when the issue behavior happens most often and how frequently it occurs (i.e., per minute, per day, per week). You may be able to develop an intervention strategy by collecting data and identifying trends. Problematic conduct may occur repeatedly during a certain everyday activity or when specific peers are close. Data on these elements may help you decide on an intervention and determine if it reduces problem behavior.
Once you’ve collected data on a student’s attention-seeking behaviors in the classroom, you’ll want to develop some ideas on what the student should be doing instead. Focus on the question: What are the replacement behaviors or things this student could be doing instead of attention-seeking? Then focus Proactive Techniques on teaching and rewarding those replacements. Some examples might include:
- Give attention according to a timetable. After gathering data, you could find that a pupil exhibits attention-seeking issue behavior every 15 minutes on average throughout the day. Giving the pupil social attention in front of troublesome behavior—possibly every 12 to 14 minutes—is one tactic. By following up with the pupil and praising them for positive conduct, you may prevent harmful behaviors from ever occurring. Increase the duration gradually as the pupil gains success. If it appears like there are too many resources being allocated to one kid, keep in mind that you are probably already devoting time to responding when the problematic conduct arises.
- Establish clear guidelines for all pupils on attention-seeking. For instance, don’t let certain kids to speak out in class. Blurting shouldn’t be allowed in certain situations but not others. Inconsistent expectations cause perplexity for some kids.
- Learn how to ask for help politely and get rewards. Don’t presume that all pupils are adept at using the hand-raising gesture and other social signs for praise. When a pupil demonstrates these abilities, praise them.
- Encourage good waiting by rewarding it. Sometimes a student has the means to start things off but lacks the patience to wait patiently for attention. When the learner waits for your attention, practice waiting for greater periods of time and provide praise.
- Teach the pupil how to approach a buddy without being disruptive. Some children depend on improper behaviors to get attention because they lack the communication skills to know what to say to a classmate. To encourage student engagement without interruption, try implementing a social skills program in your classroom.
- To signal when it’s OK to get attention, use a behavioral contract or “if…then” sentences. A straightforward behavioral agreement, such as “if you finish your seatwork quietly, then you may have five minutes of free time with a buddy,” can sometimes be a very effective motivation for kids to reduce attention-seeking behaviors.
- To show when attention may be given, use visual schedules. Many kids who have special needs react well to visual signals. You may create more clear-cut and simple-to-follow standards by expressing when it’s okay to get an adult’s or a peer’s attention.
The above strategies are helpful to reduce or avoid attention-seeking behavior in the classroom, but what are strategies once the problem behavior occurs? The key to addressing attention-seeking behaviors is simple—avoid giving attention. Depending on the severity of the disruption and the student, this might not always be possible. Some examples of Reactive Techniques include:
- Pay no attention to obtrusive actions. The least amount of attention that can be given prevents encouraging or continuing the problematic behavior.
- Have a different result, yet maintain consistency. Have a set of predictable repercussions (redirection, consequence elimination, take a break, etc.) that occur each time the behavior occurs if it is not feasible to completely ignore it. In this manner, a pupil is made aware that, regardless of their actions, they will always get the same level of attention.
- Pay good attention to another person. Sometimes, just praising a pupil for doing appropriately will help that student remember what is expected of them. “Did you see how Student A discreetly queued up at the door? Giving a pupil a high-five for a job well done might encourage them to get back on track.
- Remember, giving a reprimand is still giving attention. Finally, as mentioned above, negative attention still serves as attention for many students. Rely more on Proactive Techniques than reactive ones when trying to address attention-seeking behavior in the classroom.
Behavior Analysis in Applied Settings | Saint Cloud State University
Psychology Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) | University of Minnesota
A month in 2020
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Attention-seeking behavior is a common symptom of autism. It can be difficult to stop the behavior, but it’s possible with help from others and by setting boundaries. Reference: how to stop attention-seeking behavior in adults.
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Janice is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Special Education. She also holds a Master of Science in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) from Queen’s University, Belfast. She has worked with and case managed children and youth with autism and other intellectual and/or developmental disabilities in home and residential setting since 2013.